Mani Ratnam, credited with revolutionizing Tamil cinema is also regarded as one of the greatest directors of all time. He is known to have redefined the range and depth of cinema. Here are top 10 movies directed by him.
1. Mouna Rangam
The 1986 romantic-drama narrates the story of Divya Chandramouli. A woman grieving over the death of his lover, she is convinced into an arrange marriage. It is about Divya’s internal conflict between holding onto her past and coming in terms with the present. The film was critically well acclaimed and leaves a legacy of combining box office success with elements of an art film, it is indeed a must watch.
Released in 1987, this Kamal Hassan starrer is a crime-drama. Loosely based on the real-life Bombay underworld don Varadarajan Mudaliar, it portrays how a common man’s struggles against a corrupt police force put him on the wrong side of the law. The theme of the film was inspired from Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather. Nayakan won the awards for Best Actor (Kamal Haasan), Best Cinematography (P. C. Sriram) and Best Art Direction (Thotta Tharani). In 2005, the magazine TIME included Nayakan in its list of “All-Time 100 Best Films”.
This film was released in 1992. A.R Rahman made his debut as a music composer in this romantic-thriller. Roja received positive reception for its patriotic themes. It tells the story of a woman from a village in Tamil Nadu who marries a sophisticated city dweller and moves with him to Kashmir, where all is rosy – until he gets kidnapped by militants. The soundtrack by A. R. Rahman was included in the “10 Best Soundtracks” of all time listed by Time magazine, issued in 2005.
4. Kannathil Muthamittal
Also known by the name ‘a peck on the cheek’, the film premiered at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival. The musical-war-drama tells the story of a little girl who is told by her parents that she is adopted. She is determined to find her birth mother, begs to be taken to Sri Lanka, where her mother works with a militant group of activists. The film has won several awards.
Released in 1995, the film is centered on events that occurred particularly during the period of December 1992 to January 1993 in India, and the controversy surrounding the Babri Masjid, its demolition on and increased religious tensions in the city of Bombay (now Mumbai) that led to the Bombay Riots. It was a huge block buster in the box office. It is a must watch movie.
This is a decorated psychological-drama which was released in 1990. Critically acclaimed, the film won three national awards. The film deals with the story of a dying mentally disabled child, and the emotional trauma experienced by her family. It is known to one of the masterpieces by Mani Ratnam.
7. Agni Natchathiram
Released in 1988, it is a action-drama. The film was a blockbuster and completed a 200-day run at the box office. It topped the Chennai box office on its opening weekend with ₹10 lakh distributor share. The film won 2 Filmfare awards, 3 State awards and 5 Cinema Express awards. It deals with a story of two half-brothers who fight for their claim as the legitimate son of their common father.
Upon release, the film met with both commercial success and critical acclaim. It won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment and seven Nandi Awards. It tells the story of two terminally ill people, Gitanjali and Prakash, who have six months of life left, fall in love. Nagarjuna became the heart-throb of Andhra after this movie. It is romantic and extremely emotional film.
9. Pallavi annu Pallavi
This film is Mani Ratnam’s directional debut starring Anil Kapoor, Lakshmi and Kiran Vairale in lead roles. It deals with a plot of a committed young man falling in love with an older woman. The film was an average commercial success, but earned critical acclaim from award committees. If you truly are a fan of Mani Ratnam, it mandatory to watch this movie.
It narrates the story an orphan named Surya, who was raised in a slum, he befriends a good don named Devaraj and both become vigilantes. Released in 1991, it is a crime-drama, with the theme of friendship between Karna and Duryodhana of the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. The film was ahead of its time, and emerged as a critical and commercial success during its theatrical run. The only movie where Mani Ratnam and Rajnikant worked together.