Gems will sparkle again

GET BACK Mani Ratnam’s fans are eagerly awaiting the making of his dream project, Ponniyin Selvam

GET BACK Mani Ratnam’s fans are eagerly awaiting the making of his dream project, Ponniyin Selvam   | Photo Credit: Photo: Murali Kumar K.

It’s sad that Mani Ratnam’s taken ill again. Wishing him a speedy recovery…

The situation is scary. Theatre are empty even during the weekend which is worrying wannabe producers as well as those whose films are under production. On the flipside is a Prem who’s splurging on “Raaj”, like there’s no tomorrow. Austerity is not one of his strengths but then he has the most bankable star in Kannada cinema, Puneet. So the sets are lavish and the costumes, costly. Anyway, theatre owners are flabbergasted. “We are re-visiting the pre ‘Mungaaru Maley’ days when interest in films had nearly died,” says Janardhan, manager of Uma theatre. “The opinion about ‘Kiran Bedi’ was very good but the collections were not as expected. It’s as if people tell their friends that the film is good but avoidable!”

If “Kiran Bedi” was the typical ‘masala’ flick there’s ‘Savari’ about which nobody has said anything negative but it was a non starter. I have not watched the film because it’s a remake of “Gamyam” the Telugu hit which in turn is based on “The Motorcycle Diaries” based on the life of Che Guvera. “Josh” is another film that got rave reviews but even youngsters stayed away. Of the forty-odd films released this year only “Junglee” has managed to make money. You can only hope that “Raaj” lives up to the hype the makers are whipping up or will the onus lie upon Yograj Bhat’s “Manasare” to turn things around?

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It’s sad that Mani Ratnam is back in the hospital. The last time this happened was during the shooting of “Yuva”. Even then the press hastily declared it was a heart attack. When I met him later he had lost a lot of weight, but looked fit. Mani suffers from a congenital heart condition. This results in insufficient supply of blood when he’s excited or exhausted. “It’s something I have to live with,” he said. Mani was disappointed that he couldn’t play his favourite game, tennis. The cool, ever smiling look he sports transforms the minute he starts shooting. That’s when he transforms into a slave driver with nil tolerance for ineptitude from the crew and cast. He seems like a man possessed in his pursuit for perfection. He relaxes only after the film gets released when he disappears to an unknown destination. His fans prayers will ensure he’s in fine fettle again.

I hope he thinks about directing his dream project, “Ponniyin Selvam” the Tamil epic. Incidentally it was MGR’s ambition to make the film too. “It’s an amazing tale. There’s passion, love and intrigue. It’s the most amazing book I’ve read with all the ingredients for a successful film,” said Mani. The budget was daunting even a decade ago. Mani wanted a galaxy of stars from various languages for key roles but could think of none other than his favourite actor, Kamal to play the dashing hero. It’s a combination fans have been praying for since 1987 when “Nayakan” was released.



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