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Mani Ratnam ( ) (born June 2, 1956 in Maduraimarker, Tamilnadumarker, Indiamarker) is an Indianmarker filmmaker, screenwriter and producer. He is known for directing critically acclaimed films such as Mouna Raagam (1986), Nayagan (1987), Anjali (1990), Thalapathi (1991), Iruvar (1997), Kannathil Muthamittal (2002), Yuva (2004), and his "terrorism trilogy" consisting of Roja (1992), Bombay (1995) and Dil Se (1998). He has won many awards,five Filmfare Awards , four Filmfare Awards , and ten international film festival awards.

Personal life and education

Mani Ratnam was born in Maduraimarker, Tamil Nadumarker, Indiamarker to Hindu Tamil parents. His actual name is Gopala Ratnam Subramaniam Iyer . After graduating with a degree in Commerce from Vivekananda College, University of Madras and an MBA from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, he embarked on a career as a management consultant before becoming a filmmaker.

He got into film direction with the help of his late brother, film producer G. Venkateswaran. Ratnam married actress Suhasini in 1988. They have a son by name Nandhan Mani Ratnam.

Attributed with having "revolutionised" the Chennai film industry, and altering the profile of Indian national cinema, Ratnam lives in Alwarpetmarker, Chennai, where he runs his production company Madras Talkies.



Mani Ratnam's directorial debut was in 1983, through the Anil Kapoor starring Kannada film Pallavi Anu Pallavi. ManiRatnam made significant headways in his first film, and also managing to persuade acclaimed director and cinematographer Balu Mahendra to serve as cinematography. The film boldly explored the nature of a relationship between young man and an elder woman. Mani's career after that remained on a lowlight as he failed to attain box office success. His following efforts were the Malayalam film Unaru (1984), which starred Mohanlal and then two Tamil films, the first being Pagal Nilavu followed by Idaya Kovil.

Finally in 1986, Mani attained commercial success in Tamil Nadu through the Tamil language romantic drama Mouna Ragam with Revathi and Mohan. The film told the story of friction between a newly-wed couple, and remains famous to date as a relevant and realistic portrayal of romance among urban Tamils. Its score by Ilaiyaraaja became a huge success upon release. Mani's status elevated further a year later writing Nayagan, directing an already versatile actor of Tamil cinema, Kamal Hassan for the film, which went on to become a legendary success in the industry. The film, which tells the story of an orphaned slum dweller and his rise to top of the Mumbaimarker underworld hierarchy, was included in TIME Magazine's All-Time 100 Greatest Movies. The story was inspired by the real life story of underworld king Varadarajan Mudaliar.

Early 1990s

With commercial success coming back to back, Ratnam wrote and directed Agni Natchathiram. The film was notable for use of new techniques in terms of camera framework, especially during the shoot of songs in the film. The film had a successful run in the box office. Mani later returned to familiar territory of winning critical acclaim through his next film made in Telugu, named Geethanjali. The film which starred Nagarjuna in the lead role told the story of an ill-fated couple who are both suffering from terminal diseases. Ratnam maintained a momentum of making emotional stories of undeserved people through the Raghuvaran starring Chennai release Anjali in 1990. The film told the story of an autistic child and how she changed the lives of people in colony. Mani later made another underworld-themed Tamil film with Thalapathi in 1991 starring Rajnikanth and Mammooty. With a theme of friendship between a local don and a slum king, Thalapathi earned both critical acclaim and commercial success upon release. Thalapathi is unique in a sense that it is of the rare films with 2 climaxes. The Tamil and Telugu versions end with Mamooty's death where Rajinikanth is considered a matinee-idol. The Malayalam version ends with Rajini's death where Mamootty is based.

With Thalapathi, Mani ended his association with music director Ilaiyaraaja, bringing in debutante music director A. R. Rahman to score his Tamil epic Roja. It turned out to be Mani's greatest findings as Rahman would go on to become a musical legend on his own right in the annals of Indian cinema. Roja, a romantic film, tackled themes of terrorism in the regions of Kashmirmarker. The film – starring Arvind Swamy and Madhoo – was released in 1992 and nominated for the Golden St. George Award at the Moscow International Film Festival and became so popular that it was dubbed into other languages and met similar success in other regions. Mani then took a more light-hearted approach with his next film – Thiruda Thiruda. Scripted by Ram Gopal Varma, the film saw the exploration of comedy action, a departure from the norm for Ratnam, and fared less well at the box office. In 1994, a retrospective of his Tamil films was shown at the Toronto International Film Festivalmarker. In 1995, Ratnam returned to Tamil language drama. Bombaymarker starring Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala told the story of a Hindu-Muslim couple in the midst of the 1993 religious Bombay riots and bombings. The film courted controversy and censorship upon release. However Bombay was well received and well appreciated by the critics. It won the Special Award from the Political Film Society.

Late 1990s

Again in 1995, Ratnam co-wrote and co-produced his wife Suhasini Mani Ratnam's directorial debut Indira. The film is a woman-centralized story, with Suhasini's cousin Anu Haasan playing the lead role. But failed to succeed at the box office. Ratnam returned to direction the following year with Iruvar, starring Mohanlal & Prakash Raj, a film that Ratnam himself considers to be his finest effort to date. Inspired by the real life story of iconic Tamil film star and politician MG Ramachandran and also current Tamil Nadumarker Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, it was hailed critically as a fine effort in film-making, winning Best Film at the Festival of the Auteur Films in Belgrade.

Ratnam decided to charter new territories in with his next film, making his debut in Hindi language films with Dil Se. The film starred the Mumbai star Shahrukh Khan with Manisha Koirala. Ratnam used the conflict in the north eastern states as a backdrop to tell a love story between an Indian journalist and a north eastern woman. The film was particularly famous for the song Chaiyya Chaiyya which was shot atop a moving train. Ratnam returned to Chennai based Tamil films after that and directed the romance drama Alaipayuthey (which has been remade in Hindi as "Saathiya") in 2000, starring R. Madhavan and Shalini. Alaipayuthey was a huge success both commercially and critically, as it explored post-marital problems between a young couple who married beyond their parents' consent, and also returned Ratnam's position as a box office factor.


Ratnam's following effort, Kannathil Muthamittal saw Ratnam tackling adoption through the eyes of a Tamil refugee girl from Sri Lanka searching for her biological mother. The film was a critically lauded commercial success, winning six National Film Awards, Ratnam's second Filmfare Award South for directing, awards at the Jerusalem Film Festival and the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. In 2004, Mani made his second Hindi language effort with Yuva. The film, which tells the story of three different youths and how one incident sends their three lives on a collision course, received positive reviews and was a hit in the box office. Ratnam also made the film simultaneously in Tamil as Aayutha Ezhuthu. The film was an average at the Tamil box office, but critics favored the Tamil version to the Hindi version. Ratnam also had his first heart attack during shooting for Yuva.

2007 saw Ratnam direct the Madras Talkies production Guru starring Abhishek Bachchan. It became one of 2007's biggest hits. Currently, Ratnam is working on a bilingual film being made in both Tamil and Hindi. The film has been titled Raavana in Tamil and Raavan in Hindi.


The following is the list of films directed by Mani Ratnam. Many of his films have been dubbed or remade in several languages. For many of his films, Mani Ratnam is also credited for the story, screenplay and producing:

As a Director


Mani Ratnam established Madras Talkiesfor film production during the shoot of Iruvar. All movies directed by Mani Ratnam subsequent to Iruvarhave been produced through Madras Talkies. Apart from production, Mani Ratnam also has written story and screenplay for movies directed by others.

Stage Productions


  • Mani's father Gopal Ratnam Iyer was a film producer.
  • Mani's brother late G. Venkateswaran, popularly known as G.V. was a noted film producer.
  • Mani married to actress Suhasini, niece of Kamal Haasan and they have a 17-year old son
  • Mani co-founded and co-runs the independent production company Madras Talkies along with his other brother G. Srinivasan. Srinivasan passed away in Manali on the 27th May 2007 by slipping into a gorge.


See also


Further reading

External links

Year Title Language Notes
1983 Pallavi Anu Pallavi Kannada
1984 Unaru Malayalam
1985 Pagal Nilavu Tamil
1985 Idaya Kovil Tamil
1986 Mouna Raagam Tamil Won, National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil.
1987 Nayagan Tamil Won three National Film Awards.
One of Time magazine's "All-TIME" 100 best movies.
1988 Agni Natchathiram Tamil
1989 Geethanjali Telugu Tamil version of the film is Idhayathai Thirudathey.
1990 Anjali Tamil Won, National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil.
1991 Thalapathi Tamil
1992 Roja Tamil Won, National Film Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration.
Won, Filmfare Awards for Best Movie and Best Director.

Won, Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director.

Nominated, Golden St. George for Best Film at Moscow International Film Festival.

1993 Thiruda Thiruda Tamil
1995 Bombay Tamil Won, National Film Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration.
Won, Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie.

Won, Special Award at the Political Film Society Awards.

1997 Iruvar Tamil Won, Filmfare Best Movie Award .
Won, Filmfare Best Actor Award .

Won, National Award Best Supporting Actor.

Won, National Award Best Cinematography.

Won, Best Film at Belgrade International Film Festival.

1998 Dil Se Hindi Won, NETPAC Award (Special Mention) at Berlin International Film Festival.
2000 Alaipayuthey Tamil Remade into Hindi as Saathiya
2002 Kannathil Muthamittal Tamil Won, National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil.
Won, Filmfare Awards for Best Movie and Best Director.

Won, Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director.

Won, Best Feature Award at Jerusalem Film Festival.

Won, ITFA Best Director Award
Won, Audience Award for Best Feature Film at Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.

Won, Audience Choice Award for Narrative Competition at RiverRun International Film Festival.

Won, Best Picture at Zimbabwe International Film Festival.

Won, Audience Award, Jury Award and Special Award at Film Fest New Haven.

Won, Best International Film at Westchester Film Festival.

2004 Aayutha Ezhuthu Tamil
2004 Yuva Hindi Won, Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie
Won, Filmfare Best Screenplay Award.

Nominated, Star Screen Awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay.

2007 Guru Hindi Won, Filmfare Best Music Award.
Won, Filmfare Best Background Score Award.

Won, Filmfare Best Playback Singer Award.

Won, Filmfare Best Choreography Award.

Won, Filmfare Best Art Direction Award.

Nominated, Filmfare Best Director Award.

Nominated, Filmfare Best Movie Award.

Nominated, Filmfare Best Actor Award.

Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award.

Nominated, Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award.

Nominated, Filmfare Best Lyrics Award.

Nominated, Filmfare Best Playback Singer Award.

2009 Raavana Tamil Filming
2009 Raavan Hindi Filming
2010 Azan Tamil Languagekollywood Announced

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