WHY DID RAAVAN FAIL AT BOX OFFICE… ( I don’t know if it has but experts are negative about its future)

Thomas Fuller Once Said 300 years ago-

“Be never so high, law is above you”

AND for RAAVAN TEAM it can be read as-

“Be never so high , AUDIENCE is above you”

I am not going to blame audience, but rather the makers who I feel have to stand up and take responsibility. Aamir khan once said it’s not the film that flops; it’s the cost that makes it flop. The view if I am not wrong is endorsed by Jayshah, Doga, etc (may be even yakuza though don’t remember him saying it)

But also Aamir khan said once that every subject has a bandwidth and u have to make it within those limitations.
So now below is my understanding of Raavan failure-

“A good movie succeeds against all odds” I believe in that statement but it certainly can’t be applied blindly. It has some caveats. I feel Raavan was a good movie but its cost could have cutted, also explanation of confusion could have been easily explained, also publicity could have been bettered, notes about Beera could have been advertised. That aside it failed for following reasons briefly-

I won’t be wrong to assume that makers must have had full knowledge that they were dealing with unknown something mystic, they must have known that their vision was different, not ordinary and they should have considered following and it’s their and only their mistake if they have failed to connect audience or bring movie within budget-

BUDGET-

EVEN before shooting begins they should have brought down budget atleast to within 20- 30 crores. Looking at example of TZP and CDI and JTYJN examples. And common its public knowledge that reputation of our southern maestro is not equivalent to Karan Johar for eg. And not that he had Aamir Khan or Shahrukh Khan who atleast could have opened the movie. (some might doubt aamirs power to open and other srks power but I see both have good power to open and that if disputed should be so on another day).

PRE RELEASE-

HYPE- if a movie fails to open blame the stars, the P R machinery, and director for failing to get enough curiosity. Read average audience curiosity and not any other

• THE LEAD PAIR.. It’s unacceptable that for such a project which is predominantly Indian they are abroad in London. They should have stayed in India more and explained more abt their characters. Like Beera could have been explained a more than what they showed in promos. For eg. How aamir spread awareness of parenthood and dylslexia, we could have got more on Beera like stiplets of cartoon characters or something, legends, trivia.. anything to arouse that character is legendary.
(also sidely – I recall that before Paa released Amitabh JI took advice from Aamir Khan for promotions.)

• The MARKETING PR.. they should have seen everyone is aware about beera and his land. What makers can’t show in cinema time they could have added in publicity by some stiplets like who is Beera (may not show the motives) but something like experience Beera.

• DIRECTOR.. when u have aamir khan or shahrukh khan and u conceal many a details from ur movie it adds to curiosity but with a lesser box office star it can be criminal..
OUTCOME of above is Beera’s character which could have Legend will remain a footnote in history.

DURING release I have already mention I would have loved the pair to be in INDIA and participating in naxalites debates with youth and Ramayana (debates with aunties) on shows like we the people, sidhi baat, or something like RDB TEAM did before release.

THEY COULD have easily shown or promoted aadivasis problem and tribal problem and how system is blind to them those in jungles. MOST
important point is RAAVAN is a glorious example of how the makers fail to connect with its audience.

AND common remember I to belong to young generation and u have to sell the product to us, look at ghajini, what does it show if an action tale with romantic background can be sold (ofcourse it had aamir) why not raavan. My generation is not so keen a serious cinema that’s what history shows u. And If u want to sell it atleast u can make effort from ur part.

THE above used quote clearly showed marketing departments had unrealistic idea of our generation and audience. They as if didn’t understand us. They didn’t try any out of the blue ideas.

PRODUCTS, GAMES-

Outside the screens they could have had jumping contest like Beera though not into water but atleast something similar or ROCK CLIMBING STUFF. (I don’t want enumerate but I feel u people will get the idea)

PRE RELEASE SCREENINGS-

I HAVE often read stories on pre release screening of 3 idiots, ghajini, tare zameen par.. they could have easily done some for RAAVAN, and gauge audience reaction and could have edited, plan changes or publicized in a different manner.

POST RELEASE-

Well once u fail in pre release and u fail to get opening post release much can’t be done… but a brave director should edit the confusing part and DEFINELTY SHOULD GIVE EXPLAINATION FOR BEERAS CHARACTER.. CHIK-CHIK-CHIK AND TEN HEADS.

People like me who are suggesting people to watch it at risk of our own credibility knowing it might not entertain deserve that when this people go they get to see explanation of extra ten minutes of BEERAS CHARACTER so that they don’t feel beera is mental 

315 Responses to “WHY DID RAAVAN FAIL AT BOX OFFICE… ( I don’t know if it has but experts are negative about its future)”

  1. I agree. Thsi type of movie needs to be low budget and doesn’t need to be done in three languages. If mani is comfortable with Tamil, he would have made that and dub others or concentrate only Hindi.Promotions showing raavan as scary character was another misstep along with chosen images.
    Disappointed with the whole process, watching movie is soothing. I’ve watched twice.

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    • mksrooney Says:

      thnks.. ted .. and it is really out of frustation i wrote above..

      never it hurts more to see when a film thats good.. u see flop. (but then all can hav diff pov)

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  2. I could barely make myself read the entire article with all the references to Aamir Khan.

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  3. Rooney, you raise some interesting points here but the only sense in which I disagree with a piece like this is that it assumes something like ‘the audience is always right’ and then proceeds to account for why the film didn’t appeal to the audience. There is never any onus of responsibility placed on the audience side of the equation. So to repeat my favorite example these days Mera naam Joker was a royal disaster. Raj Kapoor can be faulted for making a film ahead of its times or the audience of his day can be blamed for not accepting it. But if one had written this sort of piece at the time one would have missed the mark. How? In subsequent years MNJ was a bigger moneyspinner for RK in reruns than all their other hits in similar reruns. So RK was only guilty of making his film at the wrong time. Even if there are problems in the film (I personally think there are) these weren’t the reason why the film failed.

    Anyway here’s something I said to someone in an email on all of this…

    [don’t think it’s about entertainment as much.. that was understandable in something like D6.. here the script is fairly tight and focused.. yes there is not enough of the lead pair perhaps, if people were expecting romance but it’s a gripping film throughout..

    however it is ideologically completely opposed to everything the multiplex audiences stand for.. and I don’t mean the Ramayana interpretation.. I just mean the entire system of values..

    I’m not sure if the early reports about it being a hit in Tamil are right or not, obviously the opening is huge but I have my doubts as to whether it will be completely successful there (though of course they at least embraced it initially), but even if this is true the difference between a total flop in Hindi and a hit in Tamil cannot be a performance. First off even for people who didn’t like Abhishek here I think they’re using him as the wrong target for their own dissastisfaction with the film. Similarly Bachchan talked about edited footage. Sure it might make the character richer or more consistent or whatever but that too is not the difference between a hit and total rejection.

    Let me use a contemporary example. The massive Maoist attacks we saw. Everyone condemned them, the debate then revolved around what action the govt should or should not attack. But the guilt of the Maoists was ‘pre-established’. Now I;m not excusing the violence but any means but it didn’t happen in a vacuum. Much as 9/11 didn’t happen in a vacuum. It is not to excuse these horrific acts of violence to suggest that there is often another part of the story that it is in the best interests of the state to suppress and also in the best interests of the audience/citizenry to ‘buy’ that version of events. So what raavan does in a political sense is go on the side of the Maoists (not literally but it could be read that way.. it could be Northeastern insurgents, anyone else in that sort of situation of marginalization and rebellion) and explain them. It is not that anyone is offended about Ram being portrayed a certain way but that Ram represents bourgeois institutionalism and when he is questioned or shown as unpleasant people can comprehend that, at least unconsciously, and they don’t like it. Not because of Ram per se but the ‘family values’ thereby rejected.

    Film reception is never divorced from politics. The idea the people just go for entertainment is actually the worst obfuscation. The truth is people ‘get’ entertained by certain kinds of cinema. Yes there are genres that work more in different ages, there are entertainment elements as well but all of these work ONLY when audiences agree with the basic ideological premise of the film. I’ve been saying this for years and I have not yet come across a major success of any kind that truly questions the lifestyle choices of this multiplex audience. Not one. You show me a film and I’ll show you how it conforms to this mindset. Including most recently Rajneeti.

    Getting back to raavan there are other such moments there as well. You’ll understand it when you see the film. This is not true in Tamil. if I gave you a list of about 20 hits in Tamil over the past three years you’d be amazed at how different that industry can be and how truly receptive those audiences to some of these themes. There is nothing in Raavanan that’s particularly shocking for a Tamil audience. The opposite is true in Hindi. Because when audiences are raised on a Karan Johar diet for a decade or more there are consequences. You ultimately cannot be a person who loves IHLS and Raavan equally. You will come down more or one side of the other.

    But yes in a pure entertainment sense too Hindi audiences are just not used to seeing ‘stories’ anymore. They just like song videos. Aamir subverts this in two ways, First off he too is never on the wrong side of his audiences in that political sense (he was only once so in MP and paid the price) but also he produces scripts that have a strong emotional appeal to them. Which raavan doesn’t, it isn’t Rathnam’s style anyway.

    When reviewers or people in general talk about entertainment value or that a certain kind of film is very boring (MP, Raavan etc) or that it is messed up or whatever all of this is really ideological objection in code. If you find HF more entertaining than MP quite frankly that’s an indication of your bad taste and not anything more entertaining in HF!

    Raavan is not like D6. It had enough there to at least be an average sort of success. But the total and hysteric rejection of the film is because it truly offended people. Leaving aside those who have an agenda.

    And I am not discounting the notion of ‘entertainment’ but we must place some responsibility on the audience also. Once upon a time audiences in Hindi cinema were ‘entertained’ by scripts that today they wouldn’t even be able to sit through for half the way! In those days the light breezy entertainers were almost never the biggest grossers. Today the audiences fed on a certain diet have just lost that stamina. Even different, serious subjects need to be ‘entertaining’ in certain ways (consider the dollops of comedy in the first half of RDB). Consider a symptomatic statement about Ghajini from someone I know — that she liked the first half and wished the rest of the film had been more like it. What film did you show up for?!

    This does not mean that Mehra or Rathnam did not make ‘commercial’ mistakes.. but that when you try the different you have to be near-perfect or it doesn’t work. That’s a tall order. Every age has its dominant genres but not every age expects the non-dominant ones to be that good.

    Plus we also have a critical culture that savages an actor or director for trying the different. Michael Mann has hardly had any successful films in the US despite working with all kinds of stars. No one savages him. Scorsese went through a difficult period,. Even now his films gross a fraction of what even the disappointing blockbuster does,. But it’s a different system where even when critics/audiences are negative on a film they understand it’s a more serious effort and don’t pillage you for it.

    we can certainly accuse Abhishek of not getting his act straight one way or the other. A star can always be fairly criticized in this sense. But the film itself has to be given more leeway.

    The thing is we also have a mindset in India today where any film that is seen as intellectually or artistically oriented is often just raked over coals. Saawariya is another example. Yes a flat film, yes there was much wrong with it but if you saw it in the the theater there was something to be said for the film conceptually. I am not at all comparing it to Rathnam but this was another example of completely ripping apart a film. The question we must ask is this: why is there this ‘anti-intellectual’ hysteria among the contemporary Indian urban bourgeois classes? That a film that is deemed to be ‘artistic’ or somewhat more conceptually oriented is greeted with enormous violence when it doesn’t appeal in other ways.

    With Abhishek he becomes usually the icing on the cake, Again I’ve said so many times. People didn’t have a problem when he did Dhoom or BnB or Dus or BM. But when it became clear that his path involved subverting a lot of this it generated anger. and it has never stopped.

    I am always disappointed when an important Abhishek film fails but I was rather depressed with this one. For all the reasons I’ve mentioned. And it sickens me to think that he’ll have a Dostana 2 at some point that will work. I sent Abhishek some tweets, I’ve said so before also. He has a good lineup coming up but he shouldn’t just play in the existing Joharized turf. So Euro-thrillers (I know this sounds dubious.. like Hostel or something!) or Dostana 2 or whatever.. these are fine in the sense that they’re commercially safe.. but he should be going to the Prabhudeva kind of Southern setup much more. Those are always entertainers, always have something going for them and can never really flop like a D6 or Raavan. That should be his ‘filler’ not Dostana 2. Because when he does the latter and is successful he is still on SRK terrain. Imagine if Bachchan had to do Dostana! Bachchan’s incredible persona was served well by some great scripts that enhanced his physicality. A film like Dostana makes Abhishek ordinary. You need scripts that bring out the Yuva/Guru?Sarkar/ Raavan kind of physicality more. That is his strength, that is what others don’t have. But he’ll always be handicapped if he keeps doing what everyone else is doing. It’s not just about hits but defining hits. But of course he has to be much more skillful in fashioning a body of films that play to his strengths because the existing system will definitely not help him! If Bombay were like Tamil cinema he would easily be the top star at the moment! And Tamil cinema is hardly something regressive out there but really the most cutting edge commercial industry of contemporary India where a variety of genres prosper. They do a lot that Bollywood does but they also do more.

    I would never stop Abhishek from doing a Rathnam film even if I felt there would be another Raavan. That’s not really the problem. But yes the rest of the films have to be given more thought to account for more risky stuff.

    But ultimately I also think the audience should bear responsibility. I am actually quite sick of the audience always being relieved of this in every such debate. Just because it’s a majority doesn’t mean they always make the right choices. I do not consider the election of George Bush to be the right choice just because a majority made it! The same arguments were used. He connects more, Gore doesn’t, on and on. Well we then had to live through 8 years that even all but the most fanatical Republicans couldn’t endorse beyond a point! We must get away from this cult of the audience being always right. Yes a certain kind of cinema will always be a minority pleasure much as most people will never read poetry. That’s fine. But what is NOT acceptable is this kind of ridiculous hysteria. Now a lot of this is media generated but the audience consumes it as well. Because the entire structure of the media works in this hysteric fashion anyway, in the 24/7 ‘news’ age. You switch on the news and you see that hysteric ‘crawl’, you see how ordinary everyday events become hysteric stories… on and on. In this sort of culture movies are also treated hysterically in certain instances. Perhaps I forgot my own lessons when I came to Raavan!]

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    • mksrooney Says:

      sorry its bit long for me to instant read and reply as in office.. get back soon..

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    • I agree about Saawariya. I felt it had a lot going for it that the audience and critics completely missed. It’s the only film of Bhansali’s that I’ve actually liked.

      But I don’t think it was the different take of Saawariya that was responsible for its being attacked so savagely. I do speculate that there is an agenda, and an ideological one at that, but I don’t think it has anything to do with bourgeois sensibilities or multiplex mores. There seems to be a huge xenophobic component to the Hindi film, or should I say, Bollywood mind set, to the point where anyone who is not “truly” Hindi is seen and reviled as “the other.” So Saawariya was savaged as the thin edge of the blade through which “Hollywood” was going to enter and destroy the “pure Indian” Bollywood. Heck, SRK even campaigned against it on this basis, instead of merely selling his film (OSO). Similarly, CC2C was also immediately and thoroughly savaged, to the point where it was out of theaters in a week or less (and hence made it impossible for me to see it). Interestingly, both SRK’s objections to a foreign entity, and the media’s bias against them went away when MNIK was sold to Fox. Now Kites is an interesting situation. Here was not an American production company, but an Indian one, that was daring to make its presence felt in Hollywood. There is something of a masochistic mind set in the Bollywood media, which seems to want any “crossover” attempts by Bollywood stars to fail. Thus there were people gloating over Aishwarya’s “failure” in Hollywood. (She may not have had the best films or the best box office impact, but she is still the most recognized name from Bollywood overseas.) Such “failures” seem to satisfy some deep seated sense of inferiority among the Indian population.

      Now, how does all this relate to Raavan? Well, simply that it is also the product of “the other” — Mani Rathnam, the Tamilian. Despite the fact that there are a whole host of South Indians working in Bollywood (as part of the technical crew), and are highly respected, too, nevertheless, apparently they cannot get too much attention of fame. So it doesn’t matter how great an actor a Kamal or a Mohan Lal is, they can still be comfortably dismissed as being “from the South.” The very fact that the whole “South” is lumped together, without even an acknowledgement that there are four distinct industries (or states, or languages, or cultures) comprising that entity, is symptomatic of this dismissive stance. As long as Mani Rathnam stayed with Tamil films (even if dubbed into HIndi), his talent could be acknowledged, because he would not be part of Bollywood. But, once he started foraying into straight Hindi films, he somehow became a threat. Understand, I am not saying that he has to be praised all the time, or that his films cannot be criticized. It is the terms in which they are criticized that I find interesting. With Yuva and maybe even Guru there was a lot of fuss made over the fact that he could not speak Hindi, and that this led to tensions on the set. His HIndi films are said to suffer from a “Tamil hangover.”

      Having said all this, I find it interesting that I have never seen any references to Ram Gopal Verma being from the South, or AP. Maybe I have missed them.

      Anyway, sorry for the rambling thoughts. This is something that has been percolating in my mind for some time, so I have just put it down without much organization.

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      • SM, there is much truth to what you say. I think the ‘Southern’ angle is more persuasive than the Hollywood one because Hollywood is otherwise lapped up in various forms elsewhere, i.e. all the colonized movies that seem like Hollywood in Hindi.

        One crucial difference between RGV and Rathnam has always been that RGV just moved to Bombay. Rathnam was always seen as a Tamil director who ventured into Hindi sometimes. There is definitely a bit of a Rathnam complex. But there is still a Bachchan ‘Raavan’ in this story…!

        RGV was very celebrated in Bombay at one point. He really started getting mauled with Aag. Up until Sarkar he was celebrated more or less. The thing is that over time RGV started speaking out against the SRK-Johar ‘combine’ if you will, or the mindset that not only produced a certain kind of cinema but was also very responsible for trying to de-legitimize every bit of Hindi film history that didn’t suit their purposes. SRK had snide remarks aplenty about an older cinema. Often subtly done but the code was always readable by those who were in any case inclined to believe this sort of thing. So for example he said once about the 80s that ‘strange films used to be made in that period’. Now I would certainly not wish to defend the 80s by any means. It represented poor filmmaking on average but it also had Bachchan’s one man industry phase, it had some important Ghai blockbusters, Govind Nihalani emerged in this decade, and towards the end a newer generation emerged. A film like Parinda for example. Similarly the useful Mahesh Bhatt can be found in this period. There were some great masala triumphs. There were J P Dutta’s great films. Yes there was no comparison with the 70s but if one were just watching the best films of that decade I’d easily pick it over SRK’s 90s. And note how SRK used the word ‘strange’ (‘ajeeb’ in Hindi). He didn’t say ‘bad’ films. It was sly way of deconstructing that period, knowing what films were made in it and also the audience that would respond to this sort of statement would also quite likely not separate the 70s from the 80s. Elsewhere Johar talks about films like Awara and Pyaasa (a joke coming from him) and then skips over the 70s. Or he only talks about Kabhi Kabhie. [In my fantasy Shatrughan Sinha drags Johar down into the Kaala Pathar coal mines with him and horrible things ensue but that’s another matter!]. Very recently he talked about how current Hindi cinema was best in 50 years! People wonder why these two have irritated me so much over time it’s because they have systematically tried to downgrade the past and regrettably they’ve had a willing multiplex audience.

        RGV in any case started taking potshots at them in his interviews and lampooning them in his films and so on. But he was even celebrated for this enfant terrible attitude. The day he got associated with the Bachchans however the issues cropped up. One film or two was fine but his extraordinary praise of the younger Bachchan (along with the older one) coupled with all those comments on Johar and SRK made the program clear. Then when he had something like Aag the knives were out. Now I cannot quite stand Aag. I think it’s an unqualified disaster but it’s hardly the only one. There were those who tried to justify the Don remake by attacking this admittedly far worse Sholay one. But after this film RGV never quite recovered in the media narrative.

        Rathnam again has committed an obvious sin beside being the Southerner who dared to stay put in the South. He started casting Abhishek in film after film. This actually has created some anxiety even in the South (Kamal fans have to perform all kinds of logical contortions to explain why Nayagan did not lead to another Kamal-Rathnam collaboration and he did on the other hand three straight films with Abhishek) but there is overall enough respect for the filmmaker. But in Bombay the message was clear. This guy wasn’t repeating SRK for sure! And if Dil se didn’t work the same was true for Yuva.

        So you have the Bachchan problem (a historic one) with the Bombay media, today much moreso inasmuch as the audiences receptive to that view dominate the multiplexes. These are the types who started complaining about ‘violence’ in films the moment Rajesh Khanna was eclipsed by Bachchan. They pretend it’s a neutral thing where they just don’t like to see action. Of course this is an ideological objection. If Bachchan’s films didn’t have violence they would use another excuse. It’s kind of like the partisans on blogs who make a number of points about Abhishek post-Raavan but they were also saying the same post-Guru or changing the terms of the debate. So Guru wasn’t a hit supposedly? After some other flops it became the ‘only’ hit! Or the whole ‘solo’ argument.. judging by this standard 90% of SRK’s hits can be taken away from him!So Bachchan has faced this forever in every sense. But RGV and Rathnam hitched their bandwagon to this signature and pay the price when the films don’t work.

        Anyone who goes against this hegemonic multiplex mindset represented and nurtured by SRK-Johar faces a media problem sooner or later. Aamir himself was very unfairly treated with MP. The reviews were fine but they completely lied about the box office story. It had the biggest opening of its time. That doesn’t happen to a film that is completely rejected. Aamir then bounced back with RDB and he’s not been vulnerable since. But he too was seen as threatening SRK with all the Lagaan hype and so forth and they went after MP.

        Of course SRK’s own influence in this sense has waned over time. He too gets the kind of coverage he once wouldn’t have but the media is still very kind to him. MNIK was treated as a masterpiece by the India media. No other star would have got those kinds of reviews in that very same film. Much like if SRK had done Raavan the reviews would have been way better (and these things have consequences.. part of the goal of building such hysteria is to literally scare off people).

        But overall your South argument is a very valid one..

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        • case in point on RGV:

          Varma takes a dig at Karan Johar

          New Delhi, June 21 : Filmmakers Ram Gopal Varma and Karan Johar are engaged in a war of words over “Raavan” on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

          The two are engaged in a verbal fight ever since Varma provoked Johar by expressing his desire to remake “Raavan” as “My Name Is Raavan”.

          “I want to remake ‘Raavan’ and I want to request Mani to remake ‘(Ram Gopal Varma Ki) Aag’,” Varma posted as a reaction to Mani Ratnam’s recently released “Raavan” on his Twitter page. It was followed by another post: “I (have) got a better idea… I will make ‘My name is Raavan’ and Mani should make ‘Raavan Ki Kurbaan’.”

          The comment was an indirect dig at Johar’s movies “My Name is Khan” and “Kurbaan”.

          Varma did not even spare superstar Shah Rukh Khan and commented on his upcoming sci-fi project “Ra.One”.

          “Let’s all hope and pray that ‘Ra.One’ does not become ‘SRK ki Baarish’. Let’s all hope and pray that ‘Ra.One’ does not become ‘SRK ki Aag’,” he added.

          Johar, who was infuriated by Varma’s comments, replied: “You have an amazing sense of humour Ramu (Varma)! Never shows up in your films though.”

          On that Varma said: “Karan, because of the constant bashing I receive, I developed my sense of humour as a defence mechanism. And talking of my films not having humour, check out the great comedy I made called ‘RGV Ki Aag’.”

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          • LOL this is funny. I actually did like Karan’s response here. Quite funny. These two really seem to hate each other.

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          • Thsi is the funniest one:

            The latest is Karan’s tweet about Ramu appeared in his dreams – “Early morning dreams come true? I dreamt I was watching Phoonk 2 and holding RGV’s hand in fear. Is this possible?” RGV was quick with his tart reply. “Well, I don’t know about Phoonk 2, but I’m scared of the Karan Johar hand holding part.”

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          • LOL, great retort by RGV!

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        • Why_so_serious Says:

          This actually has created some anxiety even in the South (Kamal fans have to perform all kinds of logical contortions to explain why Nayagan did not lead to another Kamal-Rathnam collaboration and he did on the other hand three straight films with Abhishek)
          —————

          Grandeurs of delusion.

          Don’t you think there are others closer to home? Prabhu (NT’s son), Karthik, Arvind Swamy, Madhavan (ten folds better than Abhishek to boot with, but hey he is also Kamal’s favorite kid on the block) to name two. In fact, this is really baffling considering they never worked together for almost two decades before Abhishek got a look-in.

          And you need to brush your knowledge up (just as you seem to lack regarding NTR and Sivaji) – Mani wanted him as a dream choice for Pallavi Anu Pallavi, his film debut!! Kamal was offered multiple roles by Mani but the former always opted to be his own author. Mani himself has explained Kamal’s obvious advantage in this vein – how he feels ‘jealous’ that fantastic acting capability is advantageous to Kamal’s filmmaking that he certainly lacks. And how he feels the Kamal walks boldly on a ‘tightrope’ between commercial constraints and subject matter.

          (If you want this interview, I could look up)

          And it’s not just Kamal that Mani wanted to work with. He wanted to work with Nadigar thilagam Sivaji Ganesan and he has always said he is never ‘blessed’ in this regard.

          In fact, I find there’s an agenda here in underrating Sivaji, Kamal and most Tamil actors just to boost the bachchan(s) up, and this has been followed for successive generations – even if the praise is carefully measured and qualified – carefully – to have enough oxygen to boost their bachchan(s) up.

          On the other hand, Tamil cinema as such, the filmmakers and the technicians don’t suffer from this. There’s no hidden favoritism and agenda to limit such praise.

          My 2 cents worth observation. Sorry if it offends.

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          • Why_so_serious: I think the Prabhu or Swamy point is not serious enough to address. You should be able to distinguish between the roles they did and the ones Abhishek is doing specially accounting for Rathnam’s ‘mature’ phase. Maddy is a good example but Vikram was the first choice for Inba’s role. Also Rathnam has never made a Tamil film without also doing one with Abhishek over the last three. Or he’s just done one in Hindi.

            The fact that Rathnam esteems other actors is not in doubt. BUT the fact that he and Kamal never came together again after Nayagan is all the evidence one needs to see. Nothing explains why Kamal couldn’t have made it into a million projects Rathnam did after that film.

            The thing is it is not just about being a better actor than another. Sometimes a certain actor interests a director in a way in which another might not even when the director might recognize his (or her) obvious gifts. With Mohanlal it’s understandable that Rathnam couldn’t have kept casting him in Tamil films. But in the greatest film of his life, in the greatest Tamil role around he chose Mohanlal not Kamal. The idea that MGR has Malayali heritage and so on is all rather weak. Mohanlal looks nothing like MGR. And no Tamil audience would have minded if Kamal had been cast for that part.

            I’ve heard all sorts of stories on all of this stuff but the fact is they never came together after Nayagan which given that film’s seminal significance is quite stunning.

            On the rest most people think I have an agenda of doing just the opposite. Incidentally Rathnam has never worked with Bachchan also in all these Hindi outings, something Bachchan ruefully notes.

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          • Why_so_serious Says:

            Both Rajini and Kamal are Sivaji-esque with distinct mannerisms established on mind of Tamil audience (That they all share unique place alongside MGR). So it’s only made sense that two fresh pair played the two titular roles in Iruvar – that also symbolizes a bit of MGR-Sivaji/Rajini-Kamal divide. Moreover, there’s nothing of an ‘unknown’ that MGR most certainly has. It only made sense to introduce non-Tamil unknown phenomenon like Lal as MGR besides of course pure talent.

            And of course, never knew you are Mani’s casting director. Do create interesting variations to rewrite history (as you keep doing in case of Tamil cinema and some argue even Hindi cinema – tho I’m not in full equanimity to comment on that)

            And about Prabhu – a far underrated actor. Funny you think of him in same vein of Swamy.

            About Madhavan in place of Vikram or vice versa – I have no agenda in this regard. I’d love to see Vikram as Inba. He’s a far better actor than Abhishek – just the opposite of your claim in last few days..

            Like

          • You still haven’t answered a very basic question — is there NO Rathnam film that could have incorporated Kamal after Nayagan? None?!

            Like

          • Why_so_serious Says:

            From the horse’s mouth:

            Question: Nayagan was the only movie you and Kamal Haasan [ Images ], the two powerhouses from Tamil films, worked together. It has been a long time. Are movie buffs to be denied a chance to see you together?

            Mani: I don’t know. Kamal Haasan is a huge talent. We need to have something to offer like Nayagan, we need to cross that benchmark, or at least go up to it. We are not merely doing a project, that is very easy, but we need to something good. As of this moment we have not hit on anything.

            ———–

            Mani comments in Kamal interview Part I:
            youtube.com/watch?v=s0Sla_rO528

            Part II:
            youtube.com/watch?v=p7nfDryuQxE

            Proof of Kamal as first choice for his debut PAP (4:50)
            youtube.com/watch?v=V5TWJBgyCn0

            —————–

            Further exposes the agenda in place when it comes to Tamil star and associated reading. And in any case, you fixation with Mani is such that you greatly overrate (him as well) his association with Abhishek. Madhavan (or Vikram too if he had played Inba) and Vikram exposed Abhishek (who of course Mani choses because he ‘looks’ the part unlike other unauthentic actors in bollywood) in my view. In essence it might be true Abhishek carries ‘bachchan genealogy’ but historically this is the sort of thing Mani deliberately effaces and reinstates his ‘own’. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t revere his work.

            And I have seen your posts where you derive strange ways to say there’s a nod/homage to Amitabh (just because Rajini remade the scripts of Amitabh’s films but his style itself is remade from an abundance of Sivaji’s stylish roles) from Southern cinema – especially bizarre in case of Mani. As he kept making films, there are deliberate homages paid to Sivaji (even seen in Raavanan’s dialogue “ivar periya Sivaji” !) But I’m not going to say he wanted ‘Sivaji genealogy’ in casting Prabhu – especially as stylish cop in Agni (even though the outcast ex-convict role in Anjali is better) and seeing that Sivaji was also first choice for father role played by Vijayakumar, it’d far more plausible than your theories, you know?

            Mani’s own disappointment in not working with thespian after receiving the ‘Sivaji ganesan award for excellence’ award (only awarded to Kamal, Mani, Rahman and Rajini so far – a very distinct set of people) from Prabhu and KB:
            youtube.com/watch?v=KzWuPcaV2Ao

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          • Why_so_serious Says:

            And how does it feel that Mani has very deliberately paid homage to Kamal in Srilankan portions of KM (esp. the reach of his portrayal of Srilankan Tamil in Tenali) – the conversation between N.Das & Chakravathy of people she most loves, she says “Kamalahaasan-ei nadiganai romba piddikkum”. And also when Keerthana meets N.Das – the kid shows the photos with personalities like Kamal (sharing her mother’s taste !), and Rahman.

            And of course, each play a game of sorts with Mani naming one of the twins in Bombay as ‘Kamal’, and Kamal naming one of the twin in Alavandhaan after his nephew, Mani’s son, Nandu.

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          • Why_so_serious Says:

            About Rajini feeling part of Sivaji Ganesan.

            None more than naming himself (from his original name: ‘Sivaji’ Rao Gaekwad) after NT’s role as Barrister Rajinikanth in Gauravam ! And as well lifting some basic mannerisms from Gauravam !

            But of course, Rajini isn’t seen as a actor here. Kamal isn’t seen as a pure superstar either. See how the agenda works and game is played to safely ‘limit’ both – just to keep favorites of this blog above both..

            Kamal-Rajini have both been great actors and great stars as they like it. Kamal inclined more towards ‘roles’ and acting recognition while Rajini inclined more towards ‘stardom’. Going after their own USP, Aspiration and Interest !!

            But that they got BOTH critical and commercial recognition is undeniable. But in this blog, there’s a systematic rewriting of history in place. Just to balance out their acting skills and stardom to keep Bachchan up.

            Rajini’s undeniably varied impeccable acting in Engeyo ketta kural/Ragavendhra/6-to-60/Anbulla Rajinikanth (in a small role with kid as protagonist even before Aamir khan did TZP), 16 Vayadhinile/Aval appadi thaan, Mullum Malarum/Johnny, Thillu mullu/Guru Sishiyan and host of KB films (his amitabh remakes are his weakest where only his own ‘gestures’ work but the script reworked to point of ridicule) I only see greatest actor ever, NT Sivaji, doing such roles. None other.

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          • Off-topic: Re: “And also when Keerthana meets N.Das – the kid shows the photos with personalities like Kamal (sharing her mother’s taste !), and Rahman.”

            I interpreted that as tongue in cheek reference to Mani’s own wife (Kamal’s cousin, right?), who presumably is a Kamal fan…

            also: the point is sociological too, isn’t it? i.e. isn’t Kamal EVERYONE’S favorite in TN for those from the socio-economic background that Maddy and Simran represent? [Not suggesting others don’t esteem Kamal, but I would have thought he would be an especial icon for the more urbane…

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          • Why_so_serious Says:

            The fact that rural-based Srilankan woman Shyama also referring to Kamal as her favorite, would break the agenda-based limitation that ‘socio-economic background’ connotes to.

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          • I resent the “agenda based” crack. And do not accept it as applied to myself. Especially given I already wrote in the above comment: “Not suggesting others don’t esteem Kamal, but I would have thought he would be an especial icon for the more urbane…” To the extent there is a value judgment implied here, it seems to be yours, not mine.

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          • Why_so_serious Says:

            It comes off as rude and judgmental but that’s pretty much what one makes of “reading” of ‘Tamil cinema’, especially the actor-stars here. The scheme of it.

            I have nothing much to add. But I’ve been to religious experience of a Kamal and Rajini release from urban Madurai to rustic uranithangal to middle thiruvanamalai to Pondicherry to coimbatore , etc. But again, this blog makes wrong assumptions and weak excuses that reeks of ignorance and propaganda. And some of them are laughable that it could only come from a detached NRI-based propagandist. Sorry it had to be bluntly put.

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          • why_so_serious: you have an extremely ‘proprietorial’ sense when it comes to Tamil cinema.. the tone and tenor of your responses hardly makes me more likely to accept your claims! You are completely in a certain ‘nativist-chauvinist’ tradition when it comes to these matters. On Kamal-Rathnam this must be the only such pair around in such circumstances that never went for a ‘repeat’. Otherwise from Scorsese-De Niro to Bachchan with some of his top directors everyone did multiple films together. The idea that Rathnam could never come up with a good enough script for Kamal despite launching all kinds of ambitious projects beggars belief. I am not at all saying that Rathnam doesn’t think very highly of Kamal. I’m sure he does but the fact that they did only one film together IS noteworthy.

            On Rajni yeah just because he did a dozen Bachchan remakes doesn’t mean there’s a connection! Leaving this aside think about what you’re saying — that both Kamal and Rajni are equally Sivai’s descendants! So looking at these two stars (and at any stage of their career) you find that sort of commonality?

            No one (NO ONE!) has done more than some of the members of this blog to advance the cause of Tamil (and Southern cinema) among those who are not normally viewers of Southern films. Unfortunately you are offering quite the counter-example. It’s fine to disagree with me or anyone else. But let’s relax. Let’s not get so nasty about things.

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          • The problem is you aren’t even drawing any distinction between “this blog” and various commenters with their own points of view. I just don’t see how you can lump everyone together. Even if I agreed with you that some sinister agenda is at work to denigrate Tamil star-actors, I am unsure who or what your target is; i.e. is it because I have said that I prefer the two Ms of Malayalam cinema to Kamal that I have been consigned to the conspiracy? I don’t think I’ve even said anything about Rajni because I am not familiar with his pre-overman phase. The second question is, given that most on this blog aren’t shy about their views, why would they need an agenda to promote favorites, when they don’t seem to be at all shy about saying what they think about their favorites?!

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          • PS — I should add that Tamil cinema and the reading of it should not be held hostage to a cult of authenticity; those who are invested in Tamil cinema, in one way or another, for one reason or another, all have a “stake” in it. Wherever they live. Deference is owed to those who know more about it/have greater experience with it (hence I would not make cosmic claims about the industry as I have not seem very many films from older than 20 years ago) — but not just because of who they are or where they live.

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          • Re: “In fact, I find there’s an agenda here in underrating Sivaji, Kamal and most Tamil actors just to boost the bachchan(s) up, and this has been followed for successive generations – even if the praise is carefully measured and qualified – carefully – to have enough oxygen to boost their bachchan(s) up.”

            Apologies, I see you have stated the agenda as you see it quite clearly here. The rest of my comments stand. W/r/t satyam’s comments, the issue is that he hardly seems to need to do any of this, given that he directly says that he esteems amitabh bachchan as a star-actor above all others (nor does this statement of agenda explain why satyam prefers non-Bachchan, non-Hindi star-actors like Lal and Mammoothy to Kamal). Some things, I’m afraid, aren’t down to agendas — some things are down to one’s particular taste.

            Ultimately, spotting an agenda is a way of deriving comfort: if one can spot an agenda, one can invoke a rule (and its attendant certainty). Engaging with a singular position does not offer such consolation.

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          • Why_so_serious Says:

            Lal/Bachchan (the two don’t get into one-on-one comparisons here ) in roles of Sivaji, Kamal, etc is mock-worthy to think of. Chauvinistic, without any regard and respect (to their unique talents) of ‘authentic persona’ and facial mannerisms that they stand for different personalities/regions in Tamil nadu.

            I do prefer Mammooty to Lal, and Sivaji to Kamal, but that’s down to preference. Just as preferring Bachchan to Dilip kumar. But I don’t argue and devise a strategy to conclude Kamal betters Lal and vice versa, or Lal betters Sivaji and vice versa. OR Mithun over Mifune or waht have you.

            Their talents and scope of performance in their respective industries is so largely tied to the specificity of the region and the language of cinema itself. Cutting across language and industry barrier is not appropriate. Interestingly this is applied to only Lal and Bachchan here. Just as Rangan got into his own ‘consensus’ in placing Kamal and Bachchan above all. Coz one regards both uniquely great at what they did in their respective industries.

            And Qalandar, One could categorize Amitabh only plays himself from his baritone to face contortions, or opinions of Lal lacking ‘versatility’ in his maintaining canted gait, and sombre-imbibed scowl with slightly drooped lip – that’s again ‘personal’ preference.

            But Nativism/chauvinism invariably is present, depending on “source of opinion” and ‘conditioning’ in one’s perception brought about by close acquaintances.

            On the other hand, there’s a clear agenda in place if one uses some strategy in limiting star quotient and skewed judgment of acting ability in top star-actors (Kamal and Rajini ) in a specific industry to boost their favorite’s (Amitabh)

            As for both Rajini and Kamal being influenced by Sivaji. Yes sir, Kamal’s influenced by Sivaji and Nagesh in many ways. None in direct ‘lifting’ of mannerisms, but certainly there’s a trace of Sivaji in Kamal, especially the light character touches (like Kamal’s kameshwaran laughs much like Sivaji’s naradhar role in a puranic film).

            Rajini films has lot more NT moments. Chakravarthi from Netrikann is a full fledged lift of mannerism from NT.
            Toe to heel rocking is NT in Thanggapathakkam. Funny enough, when it came to donning a cop role, Alex Pandiyan, Rajini completely caricaturised Tanggapathakam NT, evoking mixed response; awe by Rajini fans, and hillarity to some. But still maintains a rich NT ‘genealogy’ here (just as Sathyaraj reworking ‘gauravam’ to Villadhi Villan).

            Walking styles picked up from NT in Uthamaputhiran and I recall drunk Sivaji in Navarathiri is gesticulated by Rajini’s Pollathavan. In fact, a lot of Uthamaputhiran (anti-hero NT) will remind you of early Rajini.

            Watch the Annangale, Thambigale song in Thillu Mullu…note that even when he was doing MGR, the act looked Sivaji. And guess which mimicking suited him the most in that song sequence? And ditto for MGR-Sivai-Kamal song homage in Sivaji The Boss.

            Rajini is very much NT disciple, when it comes to stylish gestures and very much derives from one of many NT ‘modes’, none more so than in-your-face act-and-react kind of acting.

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          • My *guess* is Mani was not at all very keen about working with Kamal after Nayagan, but neither was Kamal. Mani was one of those few directors who exercised complete control over how the film is to be shaped, and Kamal was an actor who just wouldn’t stop at being simply that.

            I’ve even sensed some kind of tension in some of the interviews of Kamal when he talks about Nayagan. On the one hand, he’s sly about the content of the film (as if to dissociate himself from those aspects of the film), and on the other hand, he recalls fondly about some of the formal aspects and the craft of the film suggesting that it was “a team effort” in some ways.

            And let’s not forget that, after Nayagan, Kamal never did a proper serious film with any reasonably prestigious filmmaker, let alone Mani Ratnam. It is always one of his long-time associates/friends who have no sort of acclaim outside Kamal. (The only exception here is Bharathan who directed Thevar Magan, but it doesn’t take much to say whose signature is there all over the film.)

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          • By the way, this is not to say that they don’t “get along well with each other” or anything to that effect that. All I’m saying is this: considering that they both have a creative vision (of a filmmaker), distinct from one another, neither of them are likely to be dying to work with the other.

            This is why I find Satyam’s question a rather strange one to begin with.

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          • Two things to be said here:

            1)I personally find it hard to believe whatever Kamal predilections in this matter that he would have refused a major Rathnam film. Also because unlike many other stars in these situations who have box office issues Kamal clearly moved beyond this. He had so many indifferent results in the 90s that he could have lived with a Rathnam failure.

            2)The scenario you outline is even more damning in some ways. It is as if an actor decided not to work with Scorsese because of such a conflict. Shouldn’t we question an actor on this score?

            I am as you know always interested in structures of anxiety. What has always interested me about this debate whenever this has come up in any context is that I’ve heard very many explanations on all of this, MANY (!) except for the one I’ve suggested. In fact I always meet with a great deal of resistance when I suggest it, often a certain resentment is on display as we see here with why_so_serious. To translate it differently even after doing three films with Rathnam, if Abhishek tomorrow said he had problems with Rathnam and couldn’t do another one I’d call him (or another actor) a bloody fool for that decision! The point is that the list of reasons always misses out on this rather obvious one. In classic psychological terms it becomes the repressed kernel on which other explanations are bit. My favorite in this regard? Folks suggesting that Rathnam and Kamal wanted to cross Nayagan and to really make it special but since crossing Nayagan was not possible at all they never came together. I have always loved this logic. I am not joking.

            With any kind of ‘auteur’ cinema is really a director’s medium and therefore it is not comparable for an actor to stop working with a director and the reverse. Kurosawa fell out with Mifune. I wish he hadn’t. The former still produced some fine films or masterpieces after the falling out. The latter didn’t have anything comparable because of course there was only one Kurosawa. In Tamil cinema there’s only been one Rathnam in the contemporary period. what if De Niro had stopped after one film with Scorsese and never gone on to this other great triumphs? If Kamal stopped after Nayagan, if it is really true that it was upto him, I think he made a colossal blunder.

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          • Why_so_serious Says:

            This is why I find Satyam’s question a rather strange one to begin with.
            ———
            I think it was said before as well to shed more ‘positivity’ on Abhishek. Look at the proposed connotations in ways of Bachchan genealogy, etc.

            It’s all very traceable.

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          • Hey just because Rathnam gives Abhishek three iconic roles in a row, just because he thinks of Abhishek and Vikram in symmetric terms (Vikram was his ideal choice for Inba, Vikram had a date issue at the time), just because he structures films with Abhishek in titles roles twice and is focused on precisely the ‘signature’ in him, all of this shoudl not of course convince anyone that he places Abhishek on any special footing!

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          • I am not sure if this discussion is retrievable from charges of “Bachchan agendas” and proprietorial sense vis-a-vis Tamil cinema, but one thing to consider is that this issue (of Rathnam casting x, y, or z) needs to be thought through. For instance, I don’t think Satyam’s point (which I am persuaded by) on casting necessarily redounds to Bachchan’s credit.

            Let me explain: as I read Rathnam’s work (Mouna Raagam and after; I have not seen any Rathnam film prior to this so won’t comment), he has a weakness for two kinds of male actors (referring to lead roles here): (1) the naturalistic/realistic actor, often with an impish streak. I would put Prabhu, Karthik and Maddy in this category. Also would put Arvind Swamy in this category. (that Swamy is pretty limited and a mediocre actor is a separate issue; the point is what he is trying to represent/who he is trying to play) Four examples, but there are others. (2) the “iconic” actor. In this sort of role, I would class Mammoothy (Devaraj), Velu, Anandan, and the Abhishek/Vikram roles. [Again, whether one thinks x or y is horrible or excellent is NOT the point I am making — I am focused here on the effect Rathnam is after.] Now, I think Satyam’s points as I read them apply to (2), and in my view, these points do not necessarily redound to Amitabh’s credit in the rathnam scheme of things. That is, in (2), I would argue that Mani prefers understated/silent types rather than the more expressive types. I feel obliged to underscore that neither is “better” in itself than the other, but I think Mani goes with the former over the latter in the (2) kind of role. Now, as the stars get later and later in their career, as the aura gets more and more developed, the “expressive” sort of star often gets “trapped” in a cycle where his public expects and demands the expressivity (at its worst this can degenerate into stale gesturality, pomposity, hamming, etc.) — at the expense of the understated acting, silent gesturality that IMO Mani is partial to.

            My point? Mani is attracted to Abhishek Bachchan not just because it affords him access to a Bachchan iconography that Mani is otherwise too late to take advantage of (where the original Amitabh is concerned), but because it affords him access to a Bachchan iconography BEFORE it is trapped in the permanently expressive (I mean this in the sense of an extroverted expressivity) mode. Simply put: I do not think Mani would have had much use for the Amitabh of the ’80s (I suspect he would want the Amitabh of the ’70s) — I believe his casting of abhishek (whatever one thinks of him — and I happen to think he is a superb actor — he is an “introverted” actor) confirms this. Same thing with the other stars: I feel he did not repeat Kamal (or Rathnam and Kamal were not able to come up with an appropriate project, however we phrase it) because Kamal in the 1990s and after has been in ‘superstar’ mode, and IMO has been a superstar in the “extroverted expressive” way that I mentioned. The low-key Kamal has been a casualty, as the low-key amitabh was. Perhaps that is always the case, but THAT is the point at which I suspect Rathnam loses interest. The choice of Anandam for Iruvar confirms this for me: Mohanlal is the superstar I read as least wedded to the paradigm that the more popular/populist industries of Hindi and Tamil impose on their superstars. Further confirmation: Rathnam never repeated Mammoothy or Rajni either — the former certainly would have fit right into the (2) paradigm in his younger days, but even by Thalapathi it was verging on too late, and Rajni became Thalaivar too early in his career.
            If someone wants to read the above as denigration of Kamal, I can’t help that. As I see it, this is non-judgmental, and goes to Mani’s aesthetic choices (which one can agree or disagree with).

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          • Wonderfully summarized Qalandar.. I have said as much in the past, even suggested that Abhishek is more Rathnam’s kind of actor than Bachchan at any point in his career after perhaps the mid-70s. But really an excellent reading throughout and one that I am in complete agreement with.

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        • Excellent point in the third paragraph of your longer comment above. Om Shanti Om is another example of dishonesty and propaganda masquerading as homage. An excerpt my review is relevant here:

          “The first half of Om Shanti Om purports to be set in the 1970s, but is shot through with curious anachronisms: Karz was not being shot in 1977; the dacoit scene wherein Om Prakash plays an extra yelling “Bhaago!” is more reminiscent of the 1980s than the 1970s (the likes of Ganga ki Saugandh (1978) notwithstanding), as is the staging of a (tasteless) mock Tamil action sequence by means of which Om Prakash tries to impress Shanti, and the prominence assigned to Subhash Ghai. The slippage is not coincidental, and testifies to a certain intellectual dishonestly on the film’s part: ‘80s badness is a lot easier to spoof than ‘70s cinema (easily the creative highpoint in Hindi film history), yet lacks the retro charm and groovy vibe of the earlier decade. The stereotypes Om Shanti Om peddles — and that Shah Rukh Khan ceaselessly harped on in the promotional blitz leading up to the film’s release – of overactors and farcical cinematic situations, fit the 1980s far better than they do the ‘70s. Not surprisingly, Farah Khan focuses on the prominent exceptions – the likes of Manoj Kumar and an ageing Rajesh Khanna-clone – as soft targets to manufacture a general rule for the 1970s. In short, Om Shanti Om spoofs the 1970s by pretending they were the 1980s. The result is neither amusing nor subversive, merely insidious.”

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          • that paragraph is extremely precise.. in fact while I was making that point I was thinking of OSO but then forgot to mention it but OSO is really the culmination of that sort of distorting mindset..

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        • sharathchandra Says:

          I do not think MNIK got universal praise as such..Most of the critics were negative as far as I know..It didn’t do as well in boxoffice also..So what’s the issue here?..SRK’s performance was not as much butchered as much as that of Abhishek?..The answer is plain and simple..SRK is a far better actor than Abhishek..It is true that SRK is frightened to take risks..He do not want to leave the comfort zone of Johar and Chopra..But there is no denying that he has talent unlike Abhishek..

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        • Moral of the story…SRK AND KARAN responsible for Raavan’s failure…

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      • then how do you explain the success of ‘ek duje ke liye’ ‘sadma’ ‘ghajani’ ‘wanted’ and a spate of south indian films that jeetendra and sri devi acted in? as a mumbaikar and an ardent film goer i can tell you that i don’t diagnose any film that much. basically it should appeal to me (the why is irrelevant). i could see all the holes in ‘raajneeti’ but like satyam said it still appealed and entertained. similarly i enjoyed ‘well done abba’. so according to your argument how do you explain the acceptance of ‘slum-dog millionaire’? any film has to be done right and if you want appreciation it has to cater to the audience you are making for. you cant develop an ipad and not educate the user on its benefit, and should it not sell or gain acceptance blame the target audience. in that respect i totally agree with mksrooney. if you take on an epic is different your marketing and promos should take care of it. 3i/trzp would not have gained acceptance had it not been explained what it was the film was dealing with.

        secondly talk about ‘crossover’ that too has to be balanced just right to be accepted. aish doing bit roles for hollywood is a slap to us, when she has been accepted by the indian audience who know her capabilities, has to watch her make a compromise by doing a blink and miss role in a hollywood film. if the role had some meat and substance it would have been accepted without a hitch. as for ‘kites’ there was so much wrong with the movie that it being a cross over had nothing much to do with it. it will be interesting to test your theory with frida pinto and her role in the woody allen film, now that is a worthy crossover.

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    • Out of topic( movies ) but just wanted to state the fact. The unfortunate thing about 2000 presidential election was that the majority did not vote for Bush. He won the election based on electoral votes. The number of people voted for Gore was MORE than that of Bush( Gore – 48.38%, Bush – 47.87% ).

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    • Satyam,
      I always endorse your reviews and admire your understanding and analysis of cinema. But with Raavan, i simply feel that this movie was not good enough.
      I am a huge fan of Abhishek, Ash and Ratnam but this movie except the awesome visuals was a complete disappointment for me.
      I felt no connection with the story narration (btw, I loved the flashback technique of Yuva), no buildup of main characters exceot Ash, complete waste of Hanuman’s character, substandard dialogs.
      As much as I hate that HF was a hit (if at all), I have to say that Raavan is very disappointing movie and can’t be a hit at all.

      I have always been reading this blog and it always enriches me and validates my thoughts too. I hate that I can’t write as good as you guys, but the fact that you are so impressed with Raavan, made me write this comment.

      For me it was a Director’s failure.

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  4. ideaunique Says:

    lawyer-saab – your analysis is bang on money and very pragmatic…..well done!

    although i haven’t seen the movie so i can’t say exactly why it failed….but what i gather from most of the reviews is that the film doesn’t have a gripping story or screenplay….also as u’ve pointed out rightly….abhi is not a big saleable star (or he is a lesser star in your words)….and it has been few years since Guru became his solo hit…..it was always going to be a big risk but since Mani,Aish, Rehman,Sivan were part of the team…i guess Reliance thought of gambling with this (for them loosing 50-100 cr is nothing) and it misfired….it must have dampened their spirit to have two back to back failures in forms of Kites and Raavan….on a side note, I don’t think Raavan will be considered as big a failure as Kites as far as creativity is concerned, i mean there are lots of things in Raavan being praised by many….aish, cinematography, vikram’s perf…….but looks like with a 17 cr weekend, this one is going downhill esp. next week has a youth-oriented film IHLS…

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  5. I have heard few comments in Theatre

    Ladies liked Abhishek and Ash , overall movie.

    College going kids in US liked it.

    Rest didn’t like – they want powerful Raavan

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  6. Raavan hindi had 17 cr weekend.
    Tamil + Telugu versions had 8+4=12 cr weekend.

    That means if Raavan was released only in one version (Hindi or dubbded version of Abhishek Beera), it could have done 27-29 cr (min) during first weekend.

    Budget for keepinmg only one main (plus dubbed) version would also have cost only 45-50 cr in total.

    Do you still think it would have been called a flop?

    Leave alone the reviews or public bashing.

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  7. Ricky,
    I agree weekend total for all three versions is not bad but I have been told by people I trust (without naming them ) that it is going to crash on Mon.

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    • I understand your point Rajen but still hope against hope that it sustains.

      WIth 45-50 cr. total budget, film would have earned 20-25 cr from musical+satellite or any other type of rights. Rest 20-25 cr could have been earned from worldwide theratical business excluding distributor share. So at elast cost would have been recovered.

      Like

      • I don’t think there’s such a big cost issue here as there’s being made out to be.. those are the usual trade games.. but yeah I’d be very surprised if the Hindi version grossed more than 35 crores. Which puts it in D6 range. doubt it will sustain at any level. Do think that had the Indian reviews been more along the lines of the Western ones, i.e. reasonable even in negativity the film would have done a fair bit more. Not that reviews make hits or flops but in this kind of intensive media age a hysteria can be created with an already vulnerable and this makes a difference in the initial and so forth. I will say this, unlike D6 there seem to be many people here who’ve strongly liked it and even gone in for repeats. This wasn’t true for D6 even when people didn’t mind it. But this is offset by the fact that there was no hysteria created for D6.

        It will lose money of course but don’t believe it’s a Kites kind of deal here by any stretch of the imagination. This whole idea about rathnam overdoing it is a myth. He makes economically priced films. He’s shot two versions on the very same locations. That easily reduces the average price. Of course there will be losses nonetheless but it’s not a big one on this score no matter what anyone says. If Big pictures have overpaid for satellite rights and so forth and if they have to renegotiate these downwards once again like Kites that will add to the losses of course. But Rathnam spread it out over two versions (with a third dubbed one) and costs are quite minimized. As for the rest you can’t believe trade experts who jack up the price by 20 crores in two days flat as Nahata did in those links I posted!

        Like

  8. Glad you brought it up, Rooney ( may be you should change the I.D given how Rooney has performed/behaved ). Someone else asked the same question and was rewarded with Satyam’s excellent analysis which is pretty much on target. It is a good discussion to have and the answer is not always simple like Abhi is not a big enough star. Between Abhi,Rathnam,Ash and ARR there was enough star wattage here. But ,public ko kuchh aur hi mangta hai. The way the story was told was not interesting/palatable to the public.

    Like

    • mksrooney Says:

      firstly thnks …

      on performance/ behaviour.. to change id for that.. (i m sure u r from funny side.. on it) but my serious reply is we dont leave our heroes in their bad times.. hes rooney not better than messi, ronaldo but still a hero for me..

      ps- i dont care abt england (m a man utd and argentina supporter 😉 )
      ps2- i had the id just like that.. and it has sticked on.. so why tamper 🙂

      ps3 on satyams excellence analysis m too lazy now after work to read it today get back it tomo.. i saw it from above and have some small disagreements..

      Like

  9. Jitesh Pillai’s Tweets –

    5.sir u know it bestest. Nothing not the best technique can replace effective story telling (deewaar, trishul, shakti,muqaddar..)

    4.I really wish he had prevailed more upon core relationships which is mani ratnam’s strength. Than the ceaseless waterworld trip
    OMG what camerwork!Santosh sivan take a bow! Operatic,almost Daliesque. What a tough film it must have been to shoot. If only taut narrative
    3.People don’t fail,experiments do.Its easy to be dismissive, takes loads of efforts to get there. Mani ratnam should make a kickass film soon

    2.To me mani ratnam will still be one of the finest filmmakers in the country(Tamil).Like ray and ghatak in bengali.Padmarajan in Malayalam

    1.Does my god have feet of clay?Is this the same mani ratnam who gave us mouna raagam, agninakshatram, nayakan, dalapathy,anjali,roja
    Raavan:stylised. Santosh sivan’s frames like a surreal painting. Disjointed narrative.where’s the drama, characters uninvolving. Ash superb.

    Like

    • This is the Filmfare editor??
      How funny to read comments from people like him on Mani films. Where are they when Johar and his like release a film. They don’t say a word on twitter.

      Like

  10. RGV left South long back.

    Like

  11. Abhishek and Aishwarya still in London. At least they are away from the negative media onslaught. 😉

    http://justjared.buzznet.com/2010/06/21/aishwarya-rai-abhishek-bachchan-supper-at-cipriani/

    Like

    • Why_so_serious Says:

      He is very relaxed facing silly mind numbingly stupid questions these days.

      Like

      • Why_so_serious Says:

        Liked the fact he said ‘everything is deliberate’..

        Like

        • Yep. He’s always been very laid back in the face of bite-hungry journalists….a bad interviewer’s nightmare. But if you ask him a good question, he’ll give you something to think about. This is what I’ve noticed, anyway.

          Like

    • Vikram talks about how much Bachchan praised him and the film..

      Like

    • sachita Says:

      I am moving on, hope he gets the ranbir film done in a year. but he shows no sign of hurry, understandably:(

      Like

      • Ranbir’s film? When did they declare?

        Like

        • sachita Says:

          they ask about it in the indiaglitz interview and he says yes but doesnt want to talk abt it now.

          Like

        • he said they were all media stories and he isn’t doing anything at the moment..

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          • sachita Says:

            that is for lajjo. before that when they spec. asked about ranbir he said yes!

            Like

          • I didn’t hear that here or before.. ever! The only thing I heard him saying in a recent interview is that he liked Ranbir very much in Saawariya but that ultimately an actor must believe in a script.. which was a mysterious statement in some ways.. my own hunch is (and there were some rumors about it) that his assistant’s film was offered to him and he didn’t want to do it.. he explicitly said a few months ago he was doing nothing with Rathnam when the director thing came up.. but Ranbir has also had an ambiguous interview or two.. who knows?! I’ll believe it when I see it!

            Like

          • Sachita is right. In response to a question if his next film is with Ranbir, he did say, “yes.” And then he also added that it is too early to say anything about that film.

            Like

          • Check this out.

            Like

          • I saw that interview Zero, not sure if he’s confirming it, thought it was kind of a sardonic response, then he was asked about another project and he said don’t believe everything you hear.. beyond this though I’ve seen a few stories including one a month ago that suggested he might be doing the Rathnam production with the assistant directing.. I am pretty confident that he’s not referring to a directorial effort here even if he’s saying yes.. but of course I stand to correction if it happens..

            Like

          • But what no one knows till today is that Mani was reportedly following Ranbir Kapoor and It has been reported that you met Ranbir Kapoor for a film…
            We have met once yes, but till the script falls in place I don’t know if we will work together. I have only seen one film of his – Saawariya, and I thought he gave a wonderfully uninhibited performance. Working together is a process and it takes a lot of effort and when you work with an actor you need somebody who will be equally enthusiastic about everything.

            http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Entertainment/Bollywood/News-Interviews/I-love-mindless-entertainers-Mani-Ratnam/articleshow/6045719.cms

            Like

          • yeah that last line there was a bit strange..

            Like

          • “not sure if he’s confirming it, thought it was kind of a sardonic response, then he was asked about another project and he said don’t believe everything you hear..”

            I too thought exactly the same (that he was saying something to the effect of “oh yeah, that news bit!”), Satyam, but considering how quick he was to answer in negative when questioned about the other project, this one looked more like a genuine confirmation from his side.

            Like

          • you’re probably right..

            Like

          • Ranbir confirmed, it seems. Not a good news for AB.

            http://telugu.galatta.com/entertainment/telugu/livewire/id/Mani_Ratnam_next_begins_soon_39709.html

            elying earlier reports that this film will be a bilingual, the film would be made in Hindi only with Ranbir Kapoor in the lead. Previously, Mani Ratnam had plans to make a bilingual with Simbu donning the lead role in the Tamil version. director has now dropped plans for the Tamil version for unknown reasons.

            Like

          • doubt there’s any truth to this.. there are always very many stories around the time Rathnam completes a film..

            Like

          • an interview just a few days ago:

            http://blog.taragana.com/e/2010/06/18/mani-ratnam-speaks-about-his-film-making-journey-141997/

            What next? Are you doing another Hindi film, this time with Ranbir Kapoor?

            What next? Honestly, don’t know. At the beginning of Raavan I thought that Ii would retire after this film and settle in Kodaikanal and play golf every day. At the end of the film I am ready to start my next one soon. So let’s see..I should become very good in either golf or film making. Can’t struggle with both. That’s for sure.

            Like

          • I am glad he realized that having Tamil and Hindi versions is not a good idea.

            Like

          • Given his recent heart trouble, I have a feeling Suhashini and Mani will decide to take a break for a bit. Even if his next is with Ranbir, I would be surprised if he began it very soon.

            Like

          • I am not doubting that news after raavan fiasco

            Like

          • all these stories were doing the rounds much before Raavan released.. and in fact even at the end of last year..

            Like

          • sachita Says:

            also, isnt Vivek doing the assistant film.

            Like

          • that too! There’s a whole spate of rumors about all these films. It might well be that Rathnam’s planning a kind of quickie with Ranbir but some of the subjects mentioned don’t sound like ones Rathnam would direct, shot abroad and so on. Then there’s the assistant’s film where too multiple versions exist. Given how much the rumor mill has revolved around all kind of Rathnam projects before also I think it’s best to wait for what he announces.

            Like

  12. Satyam – Just back from watching Raavanan, (the tamil one), the outing was a full blown family affair with three generations in tow. Rathnam is a genius and he will stay this way. Wanted to share my grandmother’s view, she summed up Rathnam in one line in tamil – “Rathnam is far more outstanding than the nine gems, he is the tenth one” .I will be back with my vews on this movie shortly.One word for both Vikram & Santosh Sivan ” Splendiferous”.

    Like

  13. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    Satyam: In subsequent years MNJ was a bigger moneyspinner for RK in reruns than all their other hits in similar reruns. Really? More than Bobby in its reruns? That’s news to me. The plain fact is both the public and the critics thought the Part 1 was brilliant, part 2 was okay, and part 3 was way too self-indulgent, too much taken up with revealing Padmini’s cleavage than the joker’s inner pain. And I dont think that opinion of the film has changed one bit over the years, no matter how many viewings one gives it. I am of the opinion that for films made in the mainstream, the audience judgement is seldom wrong. Here I am not talking of box office figures, but of audience liking for a film. Statistics may show that Mard earned as much or more than Deewar. But I dont think too many people really liked Mard while a vast majority of filmgoers loved Deewar and remember its every scene, every dialaogue. and you can use that to infer that Deewar is afr better film than Mard.

    Like

    • aptly put utkal. if audience is wrong, the whole premise of Amitabh’s success in the 70s and 80s is based on 95% crap-fest and was completely wrong.Dilip Kumar would beat Amitabh easily based on sheer quality of movies.

      You cannot have one yardstick for one person (Amitabh being judged by BO performance of his movies) and another yardstick for a different person (use quality to reason Abhishek as supposedly the best star-actor). I am still laughing … ouch, my jaw hurts!!

      Like

    • I’ve read more than one source on this. It IS their biggest moneyspinner and it doesn’t surprise me to be quite honest. It was ahead of its time whereas Bobby is a masala classic that cannot seem as edgy as MNJ.

      Like

    • If no one liked Mard how was it such a huge hit? Desh premee from the same team did far less.

      Like

    • well said…Utkal..

      Like

  14. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    SM, you say, “I felt it had a lot going for it that the audience and critics completely missed.” How is it possible that something is there and EVERYONE misses it? Have you thought of the other possibility? That they did not miss anything, but they did not like what they found? You liked what you saw. But they did not. Why self-aggrandize by suggesting to yourself that there was something which you only saw and everyone else missed? ( Reminds me of a joke. A mother was attending her sons school parade and the boy was not being able to keep time. The lady sitting next to her was feeling a little embarassed about this. And the mother turns to her and says, See, they are all marching out of time!”

    Like

    • The reason i said that about Saawariya was that I felt it was made to a Hollywood requirement, since it was produced by Sony, and when those conventions are viewed through an Indian lens, they may not compute.

      Here’s a small example (and actually here even “western” viewers did not seem to get it). Ranbir’s towel act in Saawariya. Most of the comments I read in Indian sites were along the lines of “what the heck…?”, or “it’s a tribute to Bobby”. Now there is a forum for primarily foreign viewers of Bollywood films, and there, too, most of the comments on this scene are fixated on the fact that Ranbir has his back to the camera when he drops the towel, and hence, in the filmi universe he is facing the uncurtained window, and hence is “flashing” the whole town!

      But when I saw it, the reason for that scene was immediately obvious. It was purely to get a PG rating in the U.S., as otherwise, there was nothing in the film that would warrant anything other than a G rating, which is considered box office poison, unless the film is being made for very young children. Despite Rani’s character being a prostitute, there was hardly any reference to what she actually does for a living, since the brothel and its inhabitants are for the most part shown dressed colorfully and dancing joyfully.

      At the time I was very impressed by Bhansali’s storytelling technique and visual style, so much so that I even shelled out to buy the Blu Ray dvd, even though Salman’s role had been cut down to nothing. 🙂 However I haven’t had the time to rewatch it since. I might change my mind on a second viewing.

      Like

      • Aside: although Salman has a very small role in Saawariya, I think he was used very effectively, in a very “iconic” kind of way…

        Like

        • Yes, that was why I was disappointed to have it chopped so drastically. It wasn’t even included as deleted scenes in the dvd.

          The other reason I wished the original footage had stayed was that it was one of the very few Muslim characters in Hindi films where his being Muslim isn’t an “issue.” Your interpretation of the symbolism of Imaan and Sakina as the character names also made me wish that the scenes had been kept in. I could only surmise that they would have taken the focus away from Ranbir, whose launch this was supposed to be (though it effectively killed Sonam’s launch, taking away all meaning from her character’s motives and actions).

          Like

      • Bhalo_Manush Says:

        “The reason i said that about Saawariya was that I felt it was made to a Hollywood requirement, since it was produced by Sony, and when those conventions are viewed through an Indian lens, they may not compute.”

        Read this interview..

        http://www.naachgaana.com/2010/04/19/the-curious-case-of-saawariya/

        Like

  15. filmifever Says:

    I dont think that the whole mumbai vs south thing is one of the reason why the film is failing at the box office. R Balki. i guess is also a south Indian and Paa probably one of the most critically acclaimed films of last year. Guru also was very much appreciated by the critiques. The argument that the audiances are to some extent responsible is also not valid since the same viewers liked Guru and Lallan singh of Yuva. Remember that Yuva was also a kind of different cinema and people loved Lallan singh in the movie.
    I havent seen Raavan yet so wount be able to comment on that but surely there has to be something wrong with the movie (commercial point of view). Exactly about a month ago the same audience rejected the so called masala love story Kites. It was in English bla bla bla… It is the same audience that makes the genuine hollywood movie hit even if it is in English.
    My point is that the content of the film and performances, only these matters for audiences. (I am a big fan of Abhishek and would have loved to see Raavan succeed but it seems that it is not.)
    One more point here, good reviews can not make a blockbuster film. Paa and MNIK are examples. (Paa is a very good piece of work here, cant dare to see MNIK)

    Like

    • But Guru working and Raavan not working does not disprove my thesis at all.. because Guru (though I believe is more ambiguous than that) was read as the poster film for the new India entrepreneurial ethic and aspiration!

      On Lallan vs Beera the former is a more ‘obvious’ kind of performance. I love it tremendously but it is also the kind of thing Indian audiences can immediately mark as ‘good acting’. And it’s not just about Abhishek. You won’t find Bachchan being talked about as much in some of his more subtle outings.

      Reviews do not make or break a film but given how MNIK didn’t hold up anyway imagine what would have happened if it had been treated to the Raavan kind of hysteria! Paa did very well actually, can’t expect this sort of film to be a blockbuster. Review attention was super here and it helped.

      Like

    • I didn’t say that the “south factor” was a reason for the box office failure of Raavan, just that it might explain some of the critical commentary. Balki is a good example of what i was talking about, in terms of there being many respected South Indians working in the Mumbai industry. But i guess the question is, did he make his reputation outside of Bollywood? That is the case with Mani Rathnam, and to an extent RGV, which is why I also mentioned him.

      In any case, this was speculation, not proven fact, and in my mind at least, is one of a series of “outsider” prejudices, that I mentioned in my original post.

      Like

      • What about Murgodass (Ghajini) or Prabhu Deva (Wanted)? You can say these are Masala movies hence surefire hits. But still audience everywhere lapped them up.

        Like

        • You answered your own question, it seems.

          Like

          • no. the point I made is if risky topics are taken, probability of failure is high. Don’t matter if it a south film maker or a bollywood mogul. Even KJo struggled with a risky subject like MNIK

            Like

          • no one is saying it flopped because a Southern director made it.. I think SM’s points on prejudice with respect to the ‘Southerner’ are oriented in a different direction..

            In fact the Jeetendra example mentioned below proves the point.. when Southern films with obvious Southern cultural features have been accepted in the past why is this used as a stick to beat Rathnam with? My point has been precisely that many of his heralded films have failed in Tamil also. He doesn’t have a better success ratio there. And incidentally a big initial makes it safe but it isn’t my understanding that Raavanan is off on a blazing success trail either. It won’t collapse as in the North of course.

            Like

          • That’s actually not what you said there at all, but thanks for clarifying. And yes, obviously that’s true.

            Yep, Johar’s “struggle” showed every minute of his miserable movie.

            Like

        • Again, remember I wasn’t talking about box office performance, but of critical commentary. And I have read several comments that Wanted (and Ghajini, too, to an extent) “looked like a South film.”

          To make it clear once again, I’m not talking about audience, but reviewers and commenters.

          (And I could be wrong. :))

          Besides, it’s not only south filmmakers, but people from outside the “Bollywood fraternity”, to use a Karan Johar expression.

          Like

  16. Yuva, as the name suggests it is youth oriented movie. if the whole movie is about lallan, that would have failed miserably.
    Guru is completely urban oriented story.
    paa, Chinikum are innovative and modern concepts.

    Like

  17. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    Satyam: I’ve read more than one source on this. It IS their biggest moneyspinner and it doesn’t surprise me to be quite honest. It was ahead of its time whereas Bobby is a masala classic that cannot seem as edgy as MNJ.

    Not true. MNJ bankrupted RK and he had get back on his foot with Bobby. Reruns, even in the good old days, never made anything significant. The only movie that has made money in re-run is Mughal-E-Azam which was released alongside Veer zaara and still held its own. Incidentally, it was a blockbuster in its time too. Forget the numbers any way. I challenge you to watch it today and not cringe at the RK-Padmini segment. I will take any bet that the audience reaction today won’t be any different from what it was when released. Refreshing, revolutionary first part, enlivened by the natural charm of the young Rishi Kapoor and Simi, a good second part, again lighted up by the natural charm of the Russian artiste, anda rotten third act with the blousy Padmini. While Raj was in top form there is nothing to write home about actors like Rajendra Kumar and Manoj Kumar. And overall, the film is way too long and self-indulgent. The tamil Autograph is a far more touching , enjoyable and tight film buikt along the same structure and premise, minus the joker theme. A good try from RK. But nothing like ‘ ahead of its time ‘ and all that.

    Like

    • Raj Kapoor was nearly bankcrupt after MNJ but came with a bang in bobby.
      Prem rog and Ram teri ganga maili were blockbusters but prior to these films SSS was major flop.

      Raavan failing at the boxoffice does mean that Abhi is now gone in the bollywood…

      Like

    • Utkal, I am referring to its rerun record since the 80s or so not right away. What does that have to do with the bankruptcy?! If a film is a disaster the financiers are not hanging around waiting for rerun returns many years later!

      You’re misinformed on reruns. For the longest time there were big business. Bachchan was in a league of his own but reruns did quite well. MeA is a ‘re-release’ not rerun.

      I actually quite like MNJ but on the audience reaction the rerun success just doesn’t bear that out.

      Like

  18. filmifever Says:

    Well i dont think Abhi is gone in bollywood. He has got some good projects ahead but surely needs to be selective in his work.

    Like

    • after deleiviring MAJOR disasters he is in bollywood because of DADDY bachan

      if any other actor give FLOPS like raavan, JBJ, Drowna HE WOULD BE OUT OF BOLLYWOOD

      Like

      • some are born sons of kings, some are born beggars.. I guess you’ll have to live with it..

        I really hold it against Rahul Gandhi that he can become PM because of who he is while I cannot! What can I say? Every day is a struggle for me living with this knowledge.. I know I was PM material.. i.e. when I wasn’t movie star material (even Abhay Deol isn’t too bad.. will take the kinship with Dharam!).. oh why don’t I just become president of the US?.. would just need Bush Sr in my genes..

        It’s a very tough life.. all the opportunities I could have been wonderful at.. my father failed me very badly.. he never became a politician or a movie star..

        Like

        • Ironic Bachchan fans have to fall back on the Gandhis to try prove a point.

          Rahul Gandhi has been winning elections from his constituency in 04 and 09. Now if only Abhishek could at least give a lead role hit once in 5 yrs there wouldn’t be as many fingers pointing at him.

          Like

  19. filmifever Says:

    The daddy bachan argument does not stand one can not survive the industry because he or she is a star son or daughter. there are lot of examples of it. As far as Abhi is concerned he will bounce back soon but he surely now focus on something masala few quick hits and cost effective films. lol Satyam that father failing comment is really funny. hey i feel the same way

    Like

    • yeah the ‘daddy’ argument does not quite explain why he wasn’t getting prestige projects for the first four years or so! His father was Amitabh even at that point if I’m not mistaken!

      Like

  20. satyam just and advise

    u can prove your point without writing an whole ESSAY

    next time try to say something ine few sentennces

    no offence but your essays seems self indulgenet and u still don’t make any sense with all the gibbersih of words

    just a thought

    Like

  21. now i cal also write an ESSAY on why BOBBY DEOL is misunderstood actor

    Like

  22. another interesting point, aamir made himself regarding the failure of mangal pandey, that the marketing was not done right, it was pitched as a patriotic film when they should have promoted it as one about friendship. the perception of the movie did not meet with product promise and thus the audience were disappointed and the movie rejected.

    same goes for mera naam joker, it failed miserably when it was released cos the audience thought it was going to be a funny movie with the theme being – joker but what they got instead was the premise of love through the various stages of life. (this i know as there was a lot of discussion about the content of the movie when it initially released). it has now been accepted because the perception has since then changed of the movie and its genre. ofcourse a lot of other elements also come into play, which you guys have rightly identified.

    Like

  23. sharathchandra Says:

    For me the greatest quality of a good actor is how he uses his eyes in acting..Regarding Abhishek,I have always found his eyes to be lacking life even in his so called great performances like Guru..It is so wooden..I accept that he has a certain boxoffice pull in boxoffice,but it is really difficult to accept that he is a natural actor..Regarding boxoffice I agree that sometimes audience can be really cruel..They reject really well made films and make crap films successfull..Yes some films which have failed at boxoffice later has been accepted when shown on television..

    Like

  24. JBJ, DROWNA, NOW abhishek can add RAAVAN to his list

    BRAVO

    Like

  25. well, there were glaring flaws in the storyline..

    the biggest one being Govinda getting to meet Raagini without getting the police force with him.. all they had to do was follow him as he knew the jungle so well..

    Raagini getting to Beera in the end all on her own, which such a big force isnt able to do!

    It may be coming a bit too soon, but I sincerely doubt Ravan becoming a cult movie in years to come with such big flaws. and im not even talking about the bad screenplay here! It will certainly not be amongst ratnam’s best works … at the very least!

    Like

    • The biggest loophole I see is what happened to Abhishek’s revenge quest? He just keeps Aishwarya for 14 days and he got his revenge? Remember, his sister was raped and commits suicide.

      A very strong sister who the only one never is afraid of Beera suddenly becomes so weak as to kill herself?

      Like

        • Wait there’s more. Beera and his tribe are modern enough to accept a love marriage between her sister and her lover, but we have to believe he is an uneducated jungle-man living in the stone-age.

          Like

        • Dev kills the negotiator knowing his wife’s life was in the hands of the notorious Beera. Why would he do something like that?

          The negotiator had gone to negotiate what? We will leave Ragini and in turn what did he expect Dev to do?

          Why did Beera give Ragini 14 hrs? To fall in love with her? Why didn’t he go straight for the kill and revenge? Tooth for a tooth, eye for a eye.

          Many such questions remain unanswered

          Like

          • RE: “Beera and his tribe are modern enough to accept a love marriage between her sister and her lover, but we have to believe he is an uneducated jungle-man living in the stone-age.”

            This statement says a lot about your assumptions, I’m afraid. Sadly, it is not true that the more “educated” one is the less one is necessarily opposed to love marriages — as the case of that murdered journalist from Nihar (who had fallen in love with a guy from a different caste in Delhi) proves; her brother, apparently opposed to the marriage, was a PhD according to media reports. In any event, the way Mangal narrates the story, it is clear that Jamuniya’s initiative is somewhat out of the ordinary (“…apne liye ..khud hi chum liya tha”); it is also clear that Jamuniya later links her fate at least in part to the fact that it was an inter-community alliance (“humme us Pandit se shaadi karne ke liye kis ne etc. etc.”; Guddu’s last name is Tiwari). In many of the honor killings cases that the media has been reporting, ALL family members are not equally opposed etc.

            Like

          • Q,

            I was talking about why certain behaved this way, while you are giving me an explanation why others behave the opposite. There maybe a lot of educated folks whose thoughts about inter-caste marriages lead to honor killings, but does not make the less educated more liberal.

            Like

          • jeevcy, you really need to relax.. this is getting out of hand here.. this applies to some of our ‘friends’ of the Tamil industry as well so hope they’re reading.. anyone can have any opinion but let’s be civil about it.. and all of this stuff won’t change a single word of a single essay on Raavan.. those who visit this blog will have to live with it..

            Similarly (and I say this for the final time) no one’s denigrating Tamil stars or the cinema here.. speaking for myself if I were I wouldn’t be using code.. I’d say it openly.. so for example I prefer both Mohanlal and Mammootty to Kamal.. and I’d take Kamal over Sivaji.. I consider Dilip Kumar overrated without denying his seminal stature for a whole generation of actors.. the same goes for Sivaji.. on and on.. now one can find an agenda in this or bad taste.. I am not particularly bothered.. but getting all upset about it isn’t going to change my mind.. and yes one can get a bit too proprietorial about certain things.. if someone prefers Kamal to Bachchan or Mohanlal to bachchan I don’t automatically consider it a ‘Southern’ agenda on their part!

            Like

          • Jeevcy: your comment assumes that in “tribal” society, somehow love marriages are unheard of. I do not know what the basis is for this claim (one might even argue the reverse, that in fact it is the bourgeoisie that has more arranged marriages than anyone else). Not to mention that “tribal” is a pretty generic term, covering a whole range of different social groups. In any event, is this the first film where this sort of thing has appeared? I mean, would ANY film pass muster if we found the love stories not socially realistic (rich girl, poor boy, anyone?)? But more disturbingly, I feel we have really descended into a problematic class consicousness if we reserve even the possibility of love on-screen for the “educated” and liberal types. Quite frankly, far too many “educated” people I meet are illiberal, and the “uneducated” ones are not necessarily less liberal. It’s just a question of what surface is scratched and on what issue.

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          • Q, I have no problem in accepting this as a part where a wise tribe head is prudent to let his daughter/sister chose outside the community. But Beera’s character hardly comes out as someone with great wisdom.

            it is when I look at the whole characterization of Beera, this does not work.

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          • “it is when I look at the whole characterization of Beera, this does not work.”

            This is actually a fair point. My own sense is that Ratnam requires us to fill in some of the backstory and figure out ways in which to justify or indict Beera’s character ourselves. One doesn’t have to do this, of course, and if you felt the character is uneven, illogical, that’s a defensible position. I know lots of folks that would agree with you on that.

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      • A night of gang rape might crack even a strong woman but that’s just my surmise..

        On Abhishek’s revenge thing what film have you been watching? Anyway check out some of the discussion on this in the central threads here. Of course you’ll have to go through the essays!

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        • Most of the essays contradict themselves. It’s a pity you cannot give a straight short honest answer on how the decision of letting go Ragini has satisfied Beera’s thirst for revenge.

          As for the gang rape, cannot understand she came and told her family the whole story, but then choked. And the irony is they portray her as a strong woman. As usual, I am not looking for any explanations from anyone, because there are none.

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      • This kind of question is common for people used to being spoofed their plot-points. Some of us don’t mind a filmmaker who requires some active thinking on the part of his audience.

        It is actually precisely this question one is supposed to ask – unfortunately it seems people give up once they ask it. We’ve actually had a number of discussions in some of our pieces approaching the “why didn’t he kill her” and if those reasons aren’t convincing, fine, but it wouldn’t hurt to actually do some reading and perhaps offer a thought on the matter. Preferably one that isn’t reducible to sarcastic noise.

        Scratching our heads and wondering in anger is counterproductive, as I see it.

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        • “Some of us don’t mind a filmmaker who requires some active thinking on the part of his audience.”

          Yes. he needed to show Sanjeevini jumping 30 ft above on trees to let his thinking audience here know that this was the Hanuman character.

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          • Well, unfortunately, yeah, he needed to throw some folks a bone.

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          • No wonder then that all Abhi fans have been barking since the release of Raavan

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          • Jeevcy, take it easy..

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          • Right, barking. Speaking of which, you need to learn some new tricks.

            As you admitted above you’re not looking to be convinced of anything because you’ve happily made up your mind about the film. Doesn’t mean the rest of us need to follow suit! You had innumerable problems with the movie, with Ratnam, etc. Fine. Anything to add or is your plan to continue making lousy comebacks?

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          • “Right, barking. Speaking of which, you need to learn new tricks.”
            Talking of new tricks, Abhishek and his fans have learnt many from Raavan. Please do the “Jhak Jhak Jhak Jhak Jhak. Bak bak bak bak bak bak” trick you learnt from Raavan. I promise I will throw you a bone

            “Anything to add or is your plan to continue making lousy comebacks?”

            Lousy comebacks is exclusive for Abhishek now. I cannot even compete with thy master

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          • I realize reading essays is tasking for you (hopefully you’ll be all set by 10th grade) but if you have the time to read comments, maybe you’ll notice the only thing I’ve been defending is Ratnam, not Abhishek Bachchan, in any of my remarks.

            But no need to, I don’t really give a crap.

            Meanwhile, this is hilarious. Take notes, and you might just land a joke one of these days:

            http://www.thevigilidiot.com/2010/06/22/raavan/

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          • good boy. now here’s a bone for you …

            Like

          • Seriously, it’s got pictures and everything! You don’t have to read much at all, I promise.

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          • wow. you are in a mood for showing the “jhik jhik jhik jhik jhik bak bak bak bak” trick that you learnt from Raavan many times today. here’s another bone for you … (throws the second bone)

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          • Man, I thought you’d appreciated that. Why use real words when my audience can’t read?

            I’m afraid we’re cluttering Satyam’s forum with too much silliness. Go ahead and toss that third bone, (since you certainly know no new tricks) and I’ll move on.

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          • oh no! I am enjoying your tricks and don’t want you to leave. now i am in a dilemma if I toss the third bone you will leave

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          • I’m afraid you’ll have to play with yourself. But I’m guessing you’ve got loads of experience there. Have fun.

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  26. Well, before Mani did 3 films with Jr Bachchan, he did the same with
    1) Aravind Swamy
    2) Madhavan

    Ofcourse, this just means that Swamy and Madhavan are way better than Abhishek and Kamal respectively.
    What kind of mindset puts forth the fact that Abhishek did 3 films with Mani and then go on for a comparison with Kamal and judge Kamal based on that?

    First of all, what is Junior’s standing within Bollywood? I am not even talking Box Office? Where does he stand compare to Ajay Devgan, Hritik Roshan, Saif Ali etc as a Star-Actor? As a pure star, how does he compare with Ranbir Kapoor, Salman Khan?
    As an actor, how does he compare with Irffan Khan, Madhavan, Ranvir Shorey or even Jimmy Shergill(yeah, he has his combo hits with other heroes, too, you know).

    All comparisons turn unfavourable to the lazy, dull Bachchan Junior.
    One can understand preference for the father, for despite the extra hype, he was a legendary star, if not a star-actor.

    Jr. Bachchan exudes cool dude from South Mumbai in all his performances – even in Yuva, he is way behind Madhavan’s Inbasekar. Look at Maddy’s eyes in that performance, and compare with Junior. Before that remove your tinted glasses.
    In Yuva, I half-expect him to say “Chill, dude” after the most serious of his dialogue delivery. That is the body language he exudes.

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    • OmSuryamaNamaha Says:

      why are we even bringing bonafide legends like kamal sir into this conversation?

      He is the torchbearer that other young actors should look up to as role model.

      You can’t rate abhishek compared to Tamil actors.

      Just look at bollywood, he compares favorably with salman, hritik, shergill duh! as an actor. moreover, when likes of shahid, imran are overrated, what’s the problem here?

      both abhishek and Ranbir arent bad at all. Abhishek’s height and persona suits many roles.

      btw i dont think abhishek was as bad as he made out to be in raavan. even vikram does the infamous ‘bak bak’ like antics in tamil version that was way over the top for mani sir.

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    • We seem to be going in circles.. I answer a question and it keeps popping up again.. so yeah Arvind Swamy’s parts in Thalapathy, Roja, Bombay are like Abhishek’s in Yuva, Guru, Raavan…

      On the rest won’t dignify it with a response..

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  27. oh yeah, Abhishek’s Yuva, Guru and Raavan(foer which he is receiving so much flak except for die hards) and his Mani-association make him greater than Kamal.
    And Amitabh bachchan greater than Sivaji Ganesan.

    I WILL de-dignify such ignorance and stupendous agenda-based with a response.

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    • OmSuryamaNamaha Says:

      kamal and sivaji are both incomparable legends.

      Dont really agree that abhishek doing many more films with mani will affect any of the tamil stars in any way. Madhavan and Vikram have only done favorably in their equivalent roles in tamil. As did Surya and Siddarth against Devgun and Oberoi respectively.

      i think mani often switches to hindi to make certain films like dil se, guru which cant be made here and dealing with pan-Indian issues. But an absurd assumption to think he moved to hindi just to work with Abhishek. I don’t think he would have made Nayagan or Kannathil muthamital or Iruvar in Hindi.

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  28. Ofcourse, when you have only agenda to push, and cannot defend using proper references and justifications, you will retreat away from response.

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    • In the interests of not cluttering up this forum with these kinds of ad hominems I am not going to respond further to what have been complete distortions of my positions.. hope you’ll respect this..

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  29. In Yuva and Guru, he got good roles. But just by doing good roles, one cannot become a good actor. Bachchan family is over-rated.
    I am not sure if Aishwarya, now that she is assimilated into the clan, has become the greatest actress of her generation or not yet
    Bachchan propoganda machine – can you please address this if not already addressed? History is at stake. Please spread in as many ways as possible that Amitabh is the greatest ever Indian actor, Abhishek is the next best, and aishwarya is the greatest actress(or is it Jaya?) ever in India.

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  30. Running away from a discussion calling the other person ad-hominem is the easiest way out.

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    • LOL… Raj, let me list the observed ways out

      1. Writing a long gibberish essay that makes no sense
      2. Using sarcasm
      3. Running away saying the other person is unqualified and he wont de-dignify himself by commenting further

      These are clear signs of him losing the debate

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      • A recap here for logical and sensible folks:
        1. I question why Mani doing 3 films with Abhishek means Mani rates him better than Kamal.
        2. No response to this
        3. To rub it in, I make an equally absurd argument that Madhavan and Aravind Swamy did 3 movies with Mani before so Mani rates them the same as or better than Abhishek and definitely better than Kamal
        4. Now, the propoganda machine turns this around and says Abhishek had better roles :lol:. Boy, that is precisely the point I made. There is no logic to this, chocies by Manid ue to various reasons which cannot be simplified to “Mani rates abhishek so he gave him 3 good roles”. Mani could give an actor repeated roles for various reasons. You just cannot simplify as you have.
        5. Then realising that he is getting cornered on logic, decided to bail out of the argument.

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        • actually if you’d bothered to read the first time around you’d have understood no one was calling Abhishek better than Kamal..

          I consider this discussion over from my side..

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          • Again, nice try. I said Satyam said that “Mani should consider Abhi better than Kamal so he chose Abhi for good roles and didnt offer Kamal any good role”.
            Now you are turning that into Raj said that Satyam said that “Abhi is better than Kamal”

            Man, how many distortions will you try?

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        • Raj: who in this thread said (1)? I certainly didn’t, and I didn’t read anyone else say so either. What I did say is that Mani WANTS to work with this guy more than with Kamal — that is due IMO to a certain effect Mani is after, as set forth more fully in my longer comment earlier. It has nothing to do with who is “better” at all.

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          • Qalandar, i am not saying you said that Abhi is better than Kamal. Clearly Satyam’s implication was that “Mani must consider Abhishek betetr for his movies that is why he writes strong roles for Abhi and none for Kamal”.

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          • I think both Qalandar and I are saying that Rathnam is more interested in Abhishek..

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  31. Satyam,
    Responding to your two points here:

    1) “He had so many indifferent results in the 90s that he could have lived with a Rathnam failure.” I’m afraid that’s not the point. That he would have still preferred to instead live with his own failure is the point I’m trying to make. If it’s going to be even moderately risky (like any Mani Ratnam film is), he’d rather make his own film instead. One only has to look at all his films in the 90s. (He just stopped working with any of the big-league directors after a point in the very late 80s. Nayagan is just a good ‘marker’ for this, but not a precise one where the turn occurred. His last film with with Balachander was in 1988, and he was said to be fairly disinterested even while making it.) The ones with indifferent results at the box office were either his ambitious ventures or the really quick ones which didn’t require 1/5th the effort he’d have to put in a big film (whether his or Mani’s or a potboiler). On the other hand, whenever he did a straight potboiler with Shankar, KSR etc., the box office results were reliably good. (Aside: this is where he started taking a different path in the 2000s. Even in films squarely touted as commercial ventures, he started to make some inroads. So films like Aalavanthan, Dasavatharam have a greatly schizophrenic quality and one can see Kamal fail quite spectacularly in mixing his artistic and commercial instincts within the same film.)

    2) “The scenario you outline is even more damning in some ways. It is as if an actor decided not to work with Scorsese because of such a conflict. Shouldn’t we question an actor on this score?” Oh, by all means. I’m just saying the way I think it is. And also keep in mind that the hesitation to work together runs both ways. Even in general (without taking into account any creative tension between the two, which I certainly think is crucial), clearly, Mani Ratnam didn’t seem to be in search of a strong actor to play strong author-backed roles (except in an ‘odd’ film like Iruvar, where he went back to make a big-hero film after a while, again splashed with a definitive move towards a stronger auteuristic mode) and, likewise, Kamal didn’t seem to be in search of a strong directorial presence either to miss someone like a Mani Ratnam. This is why I found your question a bit strange.

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    • But surely Rathnam after Nayagan wasn’t like any other Tamil director at the time? Bharthiraja and Balachander clearly had their best days behind them by the 90s. Who else was there who could really be compared to Rathnam?

      I do agree with the point that Rathnam did not have strong author backed roles most of the time with the exception of of course Iruvar and in a somewhat less pronounced sense KM. But this too gets back to the Abhishek point that some here have been lambasting me for. With this actor he has always attempted ‘strong’ roles. In other words he grasped right away that with Abhishek the ordinary role could not be attempted even if the film was extraordinary. And he’s never said less than this in interviews.

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      • “But surely Rathnam after Nayagan wasn’t like any other Tamil director at the time?”

        Of course, but that doesn’t mean it’s either Mani Ratnam or no one else, does it? As I said before, it’s striking that Kamal never did a proper serious film with any reasonably prestigious filmmaker, let alone Mani Ratnam.

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  32. “so yeah Arvind Swamy’s parts in Thalapathy, Roja, Bombay are like Abhishek’s in Yuva, Guru, Raavan”

    YOu brought in Mani selecting Abhishek for 3 movies as a proof that Abhishek is a great actor so I said that need not be the case. Even Aravind Swamy can be usable in 3 movies by maniratnam so your strawman argument about Kamal not working with Mani is not a big deal at all. And Abhishek didnt do that well in Yuva or Ravan for us to set that aside as a benchmark. If you take the last decade, they’lls truggle to be in the top 10 bollywood performances let alone Kamal or other south movies in last 10 years.

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  33. oh Zero, whuy would you waste time with a propoganda machine? Leave that to lesser mortals like me. This propoganda machine for Bachchan is not worthy of engaging in a debate with you.

    Like

    • jayshah Says:

      God this is like a blimin playground here.
      “don’t talk to him, he is really really really meany to you, he will hurt you. he hurt me oneday and stole my lunch money” kind of comments…

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    • why are you even around given these are your views?!

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      • I know you dont want me around because your propoganda will take a beating. And I am here precisely for that reason. Unless you get me banned. Which is probably not beyond your liking, will or capacity 🙂

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  34. I am not a fan of Saif but none of Abhishek’s performance are worth tying the shoelace of Langda Tyagi. Amazing that he has such die hard fans

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  35. I’ve to say, even Madhavan is not really a good example (to counter the case for Abhishek). Alai Payuthe, the only film where he actually played the lead, is by all means a director’s film and his role is not in any way as special as the ones Abhishek got to play in the last two Mani Ratnam films. He played a very interesting in Guru, but again hardly enough to suggest a special director-actor association.

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    • That’s true about AP. Although I’d really resist calling this a director’s film. I mean I know what you’re getting at in the context of your discussion above, but I tend to think of AP as the film where Ratnam steps out of the way more than anywhere else. At least, among the post-Iruvar films…

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      • I see what you mean, GF. He’s far more relaxed and modest in this film (though I still doubt if I’d say he “steps out of the way”; and I love this film!). As you probably figured out, I referred to it as a director’s film only in the sense that the male lead is not really a hero in the proper sense of the word.

        Like

    • But Maddy I think had a very interesting part in KM, also there was AE.

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    • OmSuryamaNamaha Says:

      Don’t you think it’s an absurd assumption to think he moved to hindi just to work with Abhishek and so on? I’m not in disagreement that roles are special. But two of three is bilingual with tamil actors eclipsing Abhishek IMHO.

      I’m glad Madhavan did negative role in AE. Now all four favorite stars in Tamil..Ajith in Vaali, Surya in Nandha, Madhavan in AE and Vikram in Raavan have done negative roles. I think Tamil cinema is richer in star actors.

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  36. How much of Reliance money is the reason for Mani choosing Abhishek?

    Lets not pretend that commerce has nothing to do with Mani’s choices. He is a freaking MBA with an eye on ROI. And to use that as a proof that Mani rates Abhishek is the most cynical ploy I have seen from evfen the extra ordinarily manipulative bachchan propoganda machine.

    It is a pity that the machine is reduced to bloggers and only one media guy(Subhash Jha) now. It used to be a big chunk of print media.

    Like

    • So Mani is so commercial he makes a film like Raavan? (as opposed to films like Guru or Alai Payuthey). Wow. Is making Dil Se with SRK instead of a normal love story also another sign of his “MBA with an eye on ROI” sensibility?

      Sure, everyone wants their films to be successful. But if he really had his eye on the money, wouldn’t he cast Hrithik as Raavan? (Reliance money backed Kites too, let’s not forget).

      Like

      • Does Hritik want to work with Mani?

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        • Qalandar, Mani was not above highlighting Manisha’s bouncing boobs in Bombay. He hasnt done that explicitly cheap exploitation of his heroines before or after.
          So if I pointed that out you would ssay “So why dudnt he expose Revathy in Pagal Nilavu?”
          What kind of argument is that?

          You go through Life with various factors – there are multiple factors that go into a single decision. But our firend here is reducing everything to “Abhishek is a god-send to Bollywood and Mani has recongised this and that is why he is going to Abhishek”. Maybe, Mani realised that Abhishek can do decent justice(which failed actually in Yuva and Ravan both comemrically and critically otuside the bachan camp followers) at the same time Reliance will fund him plus Bachchan camp respected him more than Hritiik and co.? Maybe verything came together and he did a little compromise on Abhishek, juding that it wont hurt his movie. There could be so many reasons. I am not the one simplifying all that into “Abhishe is great so Mani chose him”.

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          • Certainly Raavan has been a critical failure for abhishek, but the mainstream media did esteem the roles in yuva and guru. I don’t think it is fair to say that when he gets criticism, the truth has been exposed, but that when the same media outlets praised him, they were merely Bachchan camp followers. Quite frankly there are hardly any such followers in the mainstream media.

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          • Re: “He hasnt done that explicitly cheap exploitation of his heroines before or after.”

            Dude, what about Agni Natchitharam?! I am thinking of the gratuitous pool scene. Not to mention the masth boat song in nayakan. C’mon, he’s a man not a brahmachari! (Love that IR song btw).

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  37. Zero, that is not the point at all. Mani tried to get his job done with Abhishek – and except Guru had massive commercial failure, and certainly, it is not as if Abhishek in Guru or Yuva was = Kamal in Nayagan. Heck, it wasnt even = Langda Tyagi

    There could be many reasons for him to go to Abhishek including getting Aishwarya as a package deal which can help in marketing – unfortunately, that didnt work out well either for Mani – or simply a case of Amitabh’s friend Anil Ambani’s money used to hire Mani to prop up Abhishek.

    It is not as if Mani hasnt done that before – he was hired to give Nagarjuna’s career a leg-up and boy , how he did that! That was the first movie, barring Idaya Kovil, which had zero content or serious contribution fro Mani, the director or writer. But he packaged it superbly and is one of the two directors who made Nagarjuna;s career. Pity he couldnt do it for Abhishek

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    • But, Raj, clearly, Abhishek has been having a longer association with Mani Ratnam than that. Isn’t there a significant difference between Mani repeatedly casting Aravind Swamy (and, like I argued, even Madhavan) and Abhishek? And on a lighter note, there’s this old joke about upcoming actors being ready to do anything (work for free or half their fee, etc.) to get to act in a Mani Ratnam film. But look at Abhishek. He doesn’t shave his head even after being repeatedly asked to do so! And yet..

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    • it is not as if Abhishek in Guru or Yuva was = Kamal in Nayagan. Heck, it wasnt even = Langda Tyagi.

      Great statement

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  38. I thought here i will see something different but same “Camps” are alive here.
    Most ppl here have “peeliya”,of bachchan, amir, shahruk, akshay and wat not.

    neither i have affinity nor un-affinity for any one for that matter.

    no body here is objective…. as in Quantum field they see ” if u want see something in particular way, u will see”

    So here ppl see wat they want to see. But i m too much amused wen ppl formulate theories on Art, let alone Science.

    No you float it thn ur little Ego’s doesn’t allow you to accept its failure or flaws, as it leads to “internal self destruction”.

    Science itself is an evolutionary process not Definitive…any theory can be wrong tomorrow.So does ur postulates

    the best thing here is an showmanship of writing long essays with big words..
    but the truth is if u can’t phrase ur views in simple words, thn u r hiding behind big words.

    ” Truth is alwys simple and direct, it only lie which needs long essays and big words”

    As i believe “Beware of Big words” as most of destruction and agendas have been executed using BIg words…

    I felt my little mind will be broadened here, now its just Amusement….to amuse myself i come here.

    what was done here in past one month can be aptly surmised by the following quote
    ” there has been vast increase of knowledge, there has been no correlative increase in wisdom”.

    lastly but not least

    When the intensity of emotional conviction subsides, a man who is in the habit of reasoning will
    search for logical grounds in favour of the belief which he finds in himself.

    I hope U will find it, myself included…tbc

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  39. Who wil fund Mani’s Hindi movies unless he roped in a commercially viable star? And wait Abhishek isnt that. Mani needed to get a combo of stars for Yvva to get his project take-off, and subsequently, perhaps, Anil Ambani’s willingness to spend for his friend might have been taken advantage of. Now that it has all ended in tears, let me see whether Mani goes back to Abhishek.

    BTW, What is Amitabh Bachchan’s latest take on Ravan and Maniratnam’s letting down of Abhishek? Can I hear it from people here? 🙂

    Like

  40. I wholly agree with your take, Qalandar. The only thing I’d like to add here is the kind of male lead role we’re talking about — of what age, etc. Mani’s heroes are often quite young. How many roles of Mani’s 90s films even required an actor of Kamal’s stature/age? Kamal would have obviously been a bad choice for most of these films. [Even in Iruvar, I think the casting is decidedly ‘offbeat.’ I’m NOT saying that Mani would have chosen Kamal if he had wanted to to go a bit more massy or something to that effect, but clearly Mohanlal had no reasonable standing as a star in Tamil cinema and yet Mani picked him. I find it hard to understand this without seeing it as a decisive move on Mani’s part to make a more ambitious and ‘auteuristic’ film.]

    Like

    • That might be true, though I tend to think the “vibe” of his films have been “younger” post AP. As in, sure he cast young folks before this film, but they never felt quite as much “about” youth as they did in AP and the subsequent films. Guru is something of an exception but even here the energy and of course the cast was reasonably young.

      Like

      • I’m not sure if this is true, GF… i.e. if AP is a marker of sorts towards a “younger vibe” in his films. His films have always had that sort of a quality. Or so it seems to me.

        P.S.: I wonder if you’re probably saying this only because we are (and also Mani is) growing old!

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        • Ha! That might be it….

          You’re probably right. Certainly I know he’s had plenty of films from back when (MR, AN, PAP) where he has addressed personal/political issues confronting modern youth, and reflected this in an aesthetic that has been consonant (though not perhaps wholly) with the youth culture of its time. I guess because AP to my mind marked a certain tonal shift in this aesthetic it seems more marked somehow.

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  41. Zero, Lets not forget that Mani had a shelved movie with Aamir before he took on Abhishek again
    If he was so enamoured of Abhi, why did he go to Aamir first and only when he rejected, come back to Abhishek and reliance?

    Like

    • OmSuryamaNamaha Says:

      Didn’t Mani also prepare a script for Kamal that also involved Rajini in discussion at one point, and there was a huge altercation between Rajkamal and Madras talkiers over payment?

      Like

    • I actually always found something odd about the subject of that Aamir project.. wasn’t surprised it didn’t pan out.. Aamir too probably changed his mind but I think this was the most unlikely subject for Rathnam..

      but hey perhaps if does something with Ranbir as the rumor mills go you can heave a sigh of relief even if Abhishek is for many of you like the vampire who won’t go away no matter how many times you try to kill him!

      Actually the ‘vampire’ isn’t a bad metaphor at all for Abhishek given the entire ghostly dimension of his Bachchan signature in more ways than one including for the audience who also regard the signature as a ‘specter’ to be repressed when it seems to reveal its charge.

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  42. And lets not forget that Mani is Kamal’s son-in-law 🙂

    Do you know that at one point, there were family tensions between Charuhassan’s family and Kamal, and Chandrahassan, the younger one sided with Kamal? Do you know that even Suhasini at one point said that these were reasons which prevented them from professionaly getting together?

    And how many of you are very comfortable with a alpha male brother in law? Dont you get jealous of him?

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  43. I am actually quite gratified that some of us wrote those pieces on Raavan and/or discussed the film quite a bit. Because judging by the ‘resistance’ I think we found our mark. What’s remarkable is the fact that a film which has been completely rejected by the audience, raked over coals by the critics is nonetheless the subject of such ‘ire’ when a few of us on one small, obscure blog give it this kind of attention!

    Power indeed does not always rely with majorities..! To quote that line from the Inception trailer.. the most dangerous parasite is an idea.. and clearly many ideas around Raavan have been considered ‘dangerous’ by many..

    Kind of reminds me of an older lifetime where some of my views on Abhishek unhinged many.. the reaction is always proportionate to the magnitude of the trauma and/or repression!

    Like

    • Yes, But Idea in itself is Dead, it’s only when its lived it becomes “living Truth”…..if idea is not lived thn it is just like a pic hanged to the wall….

      Like

  44. So, now if Mani goes to Ranbir, how would you interpret that? I believe that’s not a done deal yet. He may yet come back to Abhi. But wait, hasnt Senior burnt the bridges already? Oh what a tragedy!

    Here’s to the next superstar-superactor – Ranbir Kappoor. Why? Because Mani has chosen to cast him when Abhishek was still available, you silly!

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  45. nice try. Raavanan shows the potential of that script and Mani’s direction. Vikram has done justice to that role. You live in your delusion that world revolves around Abhishek jsut because I happen to be waiting for a cleint call and have time to kill, and am choosing to use it to debunk your minority view.

    Grandeur of delusions, now who said that? I remembere reading it somewhere! Like actor, like fan. Like propoganda machine, like operator of the machine!

    Like

    • Raj, you are now officially warned.. if you keep this tone up these comments will start disappearing…

      not because I mind what you say about me.. juvenilia has never disturbed me but when you say the same thing a 100 times it just ruins all serious discussion..

      Like

      • Well, so you can do that without the warning also, no?
        I can keep up the arguments without personal attacks also – can you promise that you wont delete my comments if I dont personally attack you? I am not your regular troll, mate. I can actualyl do that.
        I can keep logically debunking your arguments without saying anything about you too?
        Want to try it?

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    • Hahahahahahahahaha

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  46. TheCoolDude Says:

    Raavan is a massive failure for Abhi. Since Guru in 2007, Abishekh has been a lead actor in the following movies:

    JBJ
    Drona
    Dostana
    D6
    Raavan

    Only movie that worked here is Dostana and here he shared the screen time with John Abraham. All other movies has him in the lead role. All flops!!!! If I am Ashutosh Gowariker, I am nervous as hell!!!!

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  47. Qalandar, I have no problem with his exploitation of his heroines. Did you undersrtand my point? It was meta to this observation. basically, you said that
    “Raj says Mani goes to Abhi because of commercial reasons then what about Dil Se? Is that also commercial subject? Why did he make a Dil se for comemrcial purpose? Cant he have made a more comemrcial movie there?” Right?

    I said that argument is illogical. One choice doesnt justify or corroborate another. He didnt exploit Revathy in PN. He exploited Manisha in Bombay. There is no connection between the two. Each of it was a choice made at that moment. You cant use one to debunk the other. This is what I said.
    Now, you are interpreting my comment litereally and responding that he has exploited heroines otherwise also.

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    • I did understand the point: my point is there is only ONE mani: who wants to make commercially successful films, but is also interested in pushing the envelope of the commercial film format. He has always been that director, sometimes he has gotten commercial success, sometimes not. I resist the notion that there are two (or more) Manis, and that when he does a film with abhishek it is for commercial considerations only, but when he does it with others somehow those are “purer” choices. I don’t think any of his major choices are or were unmixed by commerical considerations — but I don’t think any of those were un-mixed with creative considerations either. I doubt he would have cast Kamal in nayakan if the guy weren’t a big enough star to make the film viable; and I doubt he would have cast abhishek as lallan (a flop actor with no hits to speak of) if he didn’t think something about the guy was right for the role. There is no “either/or” choice here between “Mani the artist” and “Mani the businessman”. The two are the same. So yes, when he gets leeway in a script he isn;t above some heaving bosoms and raunchy item numbers — but he won’t ram them in either. All of this suggests my point — that he wants to work with abhishek, not that he is selling out by working with abhishek (I would say the same with Ranbir too if he is working with him; he worked with a fresh faced Maddy in Alai Payuthey, Ranbir would be good with Mani I am confident).

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      • Where did I say anything different from what you have writen here? I said Mani has his own comemrcial reasons yet his choice in on emovie need not be analogous to his choic ein anothe r movie.
        What is the difficulty in underrtanding that?
        How does that tranlsate into me separating Mani the artist and Mani the business man?

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  48. Oh so since Aamir walked out of Mani’s movie, that script becomes strange? So, explain me why Mani even wanted to make that strange script instead of a great movie with the great actor Abhishek? Why did he come back to Abhishek only after Aamir rejected?

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    • Raj: not sure how long you have been following these discussions, but years ago, satyam and I both said on Naachgaana.com that the Aamir project was odd (even before it was shelved). My specific issue was that I just don’t see mani making a (as was reported in many many media outlets) muslim social based on an Ismet Chughtai story (a feeling reinforced once I spoke to my mother about the story (she is big on Urdu literature); I just did not see Aamir Khan accepting such an unflattering and subsidiary role in a heroine-centric film (which I gathered that it was based on my mom’s description of the story)). Later on, when the film was shelved, I felt vindicated (I might add, mani did not come back with that script to anyone; as far as I know he is not making that film at all. Further buttresses my point that he goes with people whom he thinks are right for the part: thus abhishek for raavan, a far more expensive film than Lajjo likely would have been; yet the incomparably bigger star aamir for an offbeat film like Laajo. he wouldn’t cast the smaller star for Laajo just because he can, unless he felt the guy was right for it). This is just to provide some context (apologies if you are already familiar with these discussions on NG, mostly from 2006/2007 if I remember correctly).

      I also remember saying that aamir was so anal I just didn’t see him EVER doing a Rathnam film. I also don’t think he is mani’s kind of actor (I think Ranbir and abhishek and maddy are more his kind of actors in their own ways than aamir is. The fact that aamir is a better performer than many actors Mani has worked with — such as Prashanth or Arvind Swamy or whoever — doesn’t change my view, because my view is not based on who the better actor is. Using the schema in my earlier longer comment, I would say that ranbir is a (1) kind of actor for Mani, whereas Abhishek is a (2) kind of actor. Again no value judgment implied.) I hope I am wrong on Aamir: as a huge Rathnam and Aamir fan, I would love to see them together, but I suspect I will not. Same point re: Amitabh: I do not think there will ever be a mani/Amitabh film. Bachchan as he is now is not mani’s kind of actor IMHO, and probably hasn’t been for 25 years or more.

      Now, maybe I am wrong on laajo, and Mani really WANTS to make a “Muslim social” type film in an Urdu milieu(I note that sime rumors have said the Ranbir film is called “Azaan”). One thing is for sure: abhishek or no abhishek (and I fervently hope that Mani makes more films with him, given how much I like the roles he gace abhishek in Yuva and Raavan; even Guru was ok), even if I think the subject is odd for a Mani film; if and when an “Azaan” is released, I’ll be there to watch it first day.

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      • No, I am not aware of those discussions. That certainly puts perspective into this, Qalandar.

        Reg Aamir,now that you raised him, how about Aamir as Ravan? I think that wouldnt have been a bad choice at all compared to Abhishek! Tell me Would Mani have refused if Aamir offerred to star in Ravan?
        What do you think? Are you willing to kid yourself that Mani would have refused and said “No No I want only Abhishek”. C'[mon answer this honestly!

        I dont think a muslim social is Mani’s type either. And I can buy it if Aamir rejected the script because of heroine orientedness. (Now, we are granting Aamir this much here but yet, our friend takes pleasure in making snide remarks at Kamal that Mani didnt deem it fit to offer a role to Kamal as though that is a blot on Kamal.)

        First of all, Mani is extremely uncomfortable outside his milieu. Which is South Madras. Not even South Chennai because that is so 2000’s. Mani’s world is 80’s Madras. uNAru was ordinary while PAP was awesome – although the setting was karnataka, the characters were so Madras-80’s.
        Naayagan is the only exception really where he went outside his comfort zone of Madras and succeeded.

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        • Raj, to answer your older question yes if you can keep it polite you can keep ‘debuking’ (as you grand imagination would have it) stuff.. at the same time I am nonetheless withdrawing from the discussion because I don’t want to respond to a 100 different permutations of why Mani working with Abhishek in three films doesn’t mean much. Because any such discussion becomes useless beyond a point too. My views are clear on this and I agree with most of what Qalandar has said today on this subject. Not that I’m unhappy to see opposing views. I and Zero have always had good debates for example on many of these things. But there has to be a seriousness to the discussion. It cannot just be agenda-laden so that (and in your case) everything points only in one direction. Zero here will recall how often I’ve taken up Vikram’s case in the past. So it’s a question of what the debate is about. Since the release of raavan though I’ve seen a great deal of resistance being offered to any reading of Raavan that seeks to seriously credit Rathnam’s effort here. And the old anti-Abhishek stuff has cropped up again as well. This is a dead end as far as I can tell. But yes perhaps others here are willing to go down this road with you. I am not.

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          • Can you answer one straight question though:
            You did seem to imply that Mani is writing roles for Abhishek and he hasnt considered it fit to write a role for Kamal since Nayagan”

            Are you still saying this?

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          • Raj, my views are clear on this and need no restatement. I just don’t want this back and forth to continue without rhyme or reason. Our respective views are clear on this.

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          • If I could re-phrase as: “Mani Rathnam has been interested in the iconicity/imagery represented by Abhishek Bachchan, and doesn’t seem as interested in the Kamal persona”, I would agree with that statement. As I’ve stressed several times in this thread, I of course do not think this dichotomy (simplistic and crude though it is, but raj evidently wants a statement in these sorts of terms) is a question of quality (as between Kamal and Abhishek, or any actor and any other), but OF MANI RATHNAM’S CONCERNS. i.e. the people on this thread are all too often (beginning with Why so Serious’ comments about agendas) approaching this through the prism of the star-actors, whereas IMO the correct way to “read” this is BY THE LIGHT OF RATHNAM’S CONCERNS. He might be a fool for it, but that is where he has been for a few years (he might not be there forever — I hope not — nor has he always been there; but he seems to have spent a lot of time and effort at this “site”). That’s my two cents on it; now back to work…

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          • and to amplify what you’ve just said Kurosawa loved Mifune most of all. For his world he felt Mifune was the best actor around. there were other esteemed directors at the same time who found him ‘too much’ even if they liked him. You couldn’t imagine Mifune in an Ozu film! So for Kurosawa’s universe Mifune was a good match. Others preferred Nakadai in many instances. At the same time while the Mifune choice basically addressed Kurosawa’s own interests and concerns better than (evidently) the competition it is also the case that given his stature Kurosawa’s choices automatically become a lot more important too and reflect on the actor he selects in important ways. Again De Niro was a great fit for Scorsese but there are many other important parts he couldn’t have done elsewhere. Didn’t matter. Because much like with Kurosawa De Niro appeared in very iconic moments in Scorsese’s work (there were missteps too by Hollywood standards). So yes it is about one director in each instance when that director gains a certain degree of prestige let alone being considered pre-eminent in his industry those choices deserve to be treated with respect, specially in defining parts. Again Scorsese has shown in his most recent phase that he thinks highly of DiCaprio. He could have cast Day Lewis in more films but clearly his concerns are better served by Leo. This hardly makes Leo ‘better’ than Day Lewis, just the better star-actor for Scorsese at this point in time. At the same time it’s not likely that a consistent choice by a director such as Scorsese in iconic or important parts is likely to be someone of ‘inferior’ talent. Which is of course precisely the link many who are not adherents of Abhishek resent with Rathnam. Arvind Awamy would never be given the Guru or Yuva kind of part. If anything he was cast in a small part in Thalapathy, in a heroine dominated film in Roja, in Bombay again an ‘everyman’ kind of figure was needed. Because Rathnam would never cast less than a serious actor in an important part. One can look at his entire oeuvre for confirmation of this. Maddy himself got what Swamy never did (AE or KM) because of course he IS very talented.

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      • once again you bring all these points home with a certain lucidity.. on ‘Azaan’ I believe this is the film being directed by he assistant..

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  49. BTW, where did you get to read the Aamir-Mani colloboration script.?I thought you were just a mani-abhi fan but looks like you are privy to Scripts of Mani that are not even at final stage – just at the concept stage.
    Sorry I didnt realise you were so much of an insider – sorry sir, I will be extremely gratified if you can share that script with us so that us lesser mortals can read and understand what a rejected Mani script looks like?

    Like

  50. Rangan’s piece on the reactions to his Raavan review.
    Perfect for a particular spammer here

    http://baradwajrangan.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/bitty-ruminations-21/#more-884

    >>The polite response, of course, would be to quip, “Just because you fuckers don’t want to use your brains while watching a movie and want everything explicated through dialogue, I’m not going to stop engaging with the film on a visual/subtextual level.” But I suppose that would exclude me from quite a few cocktail conversations. So I have to grin and bear it, seeking refuge in the imaginative interiors of the mind where I bring down the nearby bottle of wine on my accuser’s drum-tight skull. (Even better if the bottle is weighted with uranium, with a smiling Ingrid Bergman applauding my efforts. Hey, as long as we’re dreaming…)<<

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    • ahh something Rangan points out in the comment sections which I hadn’t thought of…

      >>But yes, the shout itself, like many of the other double-images in the film, is an echo of the earlier shout — where, once, she screamed for Dev, she now screams for Beera. <<

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    • LOl, good one!

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  51. “I resist the notion that there are two (or more) Manis, and that when he does a film with abhishek it is for commercial considerations only,”
    What monumental misinterpretation!

    I said there are several factors going into any single decision. It was satyam who said that Mani keeps going to Abhi so he must be thinking Abhi is more suitable for his movies. (i.e>) there is only one reason why Mani casts Abhi. I never said there is one single reason – I have put in 4-5 myself including that Mani must be thinking that Abhi can do a decent job for him.
    Now, you are talking as if I have said that Mani goes to Abhi for commercial considerations only.

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  52. OmSuryamaNamaha Says:

    I think it would make sense if we are talking about Surya and Abhishek, that Mani wants to work more with later. That itself is debatable.

    There are other factors. It’s disrespecting to mani to say he writes scripts with stars in mind, especially a junior actor like AB Jr. As proved many times in between films, he had proposed scripts to kamal-rajini, aamir khan, etc. Kamal was also offered Iruvar, i don’t see that in conversation between satyam and why_so_serious above. Kamal declined it. then it went to sarath kumar who also declined it as he was politically involved in DMK.

    moreover comparison with legend like Kamal is out of context. because i think mani is different now. he clearly got name in whole of India with national recognition that he got from Nayagan, and pan-indian subjects like roja, bombay, etc. With this backing, he could afford to work in Hindi. Yeah, there might be commercial considerations in working with Abhishek. I’ve heard cast and crew acting for free in Mani’s films.

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  53. Kamal was also offered Iruvar, i don’t see that in conversation between satyam and why_so_serious above. Kamal declined it. then it went to sarath kumar who also declined it as he was politically involved in DMK.
    =================

    Oh boy oh boy oh boy – the consensus here is that Mani didnt deem kamal fit for that role and chose Lal, I hear.
    (while on that, I consider Lal an equal of Kamal so let this not be used to throw Lal fans at me!)

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    • OmSuryamaNamaha Says:

      I like Kamal above Lal. I liked Lal in Iruvar despite the nasal accent. Kamal would have fit better IMO.

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    • I had heard — does anyone know if this is true? — that Kamal was offered the tamilchelvam role, not Anandan?

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      • I’ve heard that rumor too..

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      • The rumors about the casting of Iruvar are all over the place. I’d heard Nana Patekar for Selvam and (horror of horrors) Sarathkumar for Anandan at one point!

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        • the most persuasive story by all accounts is the one suggesting that Mammootty was intended for Tamilchelvam but he was miffed with Rathnam after Thalapathy because he felt he had been sidelined a bit and he didn’t agree (of course being the smart customer that he is he probably didn’t want to do Karunanidhi to Mohanlal’s MGR!). I quite adore Prakashraj in Iruvar and it is therefore perhaps unjust to say this but I think with Mammootty in Iruvar it would have been an ideal pair. In other words if I could have any two actors in India for these parts this would be my ideal casting.

          And after this set of view my anti-Tamilian credentials are confirmed!

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          • Yeah if you had Mammootty on the other end of that rivalry it would have been something else.

            But Prakashraj owned his role and, as you say, I’d never take that moment from him.

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    • Not all us Lal fans are so unreasonable. 🙂

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  54. Aside: I am posting below the link to a piece on Kamal I wrote 3 years ago, as some of the themes I have raised in this thread tie into it:

    http://qalandari.blogspot.com/2007/09/kamal-of-my-dreams-musings-on-his-many.html

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  55. Throwing Lal fans is one thing…

    …but throwing Lal could be lethal.

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  56. Qalandar, I have been crying out long for Kamal the actor to cease and the script writer to take center stage. So I am with you on that. But that is not because he is an ordinary actor – or, indeed, an actor who is not deserving of being in a Maniratnam movie; or an actor whom Maniratnam doenst consider it fit to write roles for – but because he has done enough as an actor to keep 7 generations of Bachcans in awe. What we need more of is his script writing – which unfortunately he is not doing because he feels that he is an elephant that needs to be paid its price, and his actor-star image needs to be kept up.

    BTW, for Satyam’s information, one reaason for Mani-Kamal not colloborating is because “Mani wasnt willing to pay elephant its market rate”. Kamal has explicitly stated this in response to questions on why he cant work with Mani.
    There could be so many such reasons yet Satyam kept insinuating in this page that Mani has roles to write for Abhishek but he doesnt deem it fit to write for Kamal that is why Kamal is not in Mani’s movies.
    Now, what could be the motivation to say this?

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    • OmSuryamaNamaha Says:

      Oh please, there are fans like me who wishes he acts as well as write-direct epics like hey ram or virumandi.

      Like

      • OSN: I respectfully disgaree. Virumaandi is one of my favorite Tamil (actually, Indian) films from the last decade. But I wish it starred Vikram rather than Kamal — I say this even though there is no comparison between the two acting-wise, but at his age/stage etc., I feel the former would have suited the role better. In routine films, it’s even worse: I wish Kamal did not do Dasavatharam or Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu type films and directed more. His Hey Ram and Virumaandi are two damn good films.

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        • Qalandar, not sure if you see Virumandi from the same eyes as us. Because that Madurai simpleton with that slang, that mentality, etc – could only have been played by Kamal.
          Vikram wouldnt have nailed 1/10th of that.

          Ok, Vettai, Dasa et al I dont mind Kamal not doing those. But Virumandi needed Kamal, the actor. There are so many nuances only he could have done – or perhaps Mohanlal but then thsi is a madurai movie and Lal cannot do accent – and Vikram just cant imagine. And that regional flavour – only Kamal could have procided that. Not a single other actor.

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        • OmSuryamaNamaha Says:

          Dasa and VV were blockbusters that would help him do projects like HR and Virumandi. As fans, we loved both

          On Vikram doing viru (actually this kind of suggestion keep cropping up in many blogs), I’d be interested just to see how he does it but I don’t see him doing many scenes in that film remotely close to what Kamal sir did. And I say even my fav. Surya can’t come close in this regard.

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        • Completely agree. I think Kamal’s performance is excellent in the prison portions of the film but in the flashbacks that take up most of the film he just seemed implausible…and I’m not talking about accent or cultural accuracy, but the actual physicality and bearing he had in the film. Vikram would have been much more “energetic” and believable in this role.

          Pasupathy meanwhile ran away with the movie here.

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          • Re: “Qalandar, not sure if you see Virumandi from the same eyes as us. Because that Madurai simpleton with that slang, that mentality, etc – could only have been played by Kamal.”

            I’m sure I don’t/can’t (although, I wonder if the same consideration leads commenters on this thread to “defer” to Hindi/Urdu-speakers, but that is a separate issue) — although I was more referring to the point GF makes here (physicality, bearing, etc.). [i.e. even non-Tamil speakers know that Kamal’s facility with accents/dialects is legendary!] I do, oddly enough, agree that the older Kamal is more right for this part than the younger Kamal would have been (again physically — this needs a brawny physicality that the older Kamal has, that Vikram has even more so)…

            aside: pasupathy and abhirami: awesome!

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          • Some of this goes back to what I’ve always found as a weakness in Kamal as an actor (also the reason I think Lal and Mammootty are easily better than him) and it’s that Kamal is not inherently the most natural actor around and when he’s called into a role like Virumaandi where the character must be broadly, loudly fleshed out, he can come off even less convincing. I actually really prefer Kamal in lighter/less dramatically “active” moments because he’s best when he’s playing it softly.

            Vikram I see as the opposite of this. He’s not the best for subtlety, but when he’s given a “louder” mode to operate at, especially one that requires him to use his brawn, he’s really well-utilized. This is one of the main reasons I’m looking forward to my trip to see Raavanan tonight. 🙂

            Like

    • I saw Kamal Hasan in the Tamil version of Munnabhai and let me tell you, he fell way way short of the loveable character of Sanu’s Munnabhai.

      It is just something about Sanju baba’s personality that this character fit him to a ‘T’.

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      • (off topic) i had put them in the above comment “” but it did not appear.

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      • Oh Vasoolraja was a project-for-hire. Nevertheles, yes, that role was written for Dutt. And the real-life equation of Senior and Junior Dutt added some elements to the execution of the script that can never be replicated with any other cast. We are not shy of admitting this.

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        • OmSuryamaNamaha Says:

          yes

          but remakes could have different effect. Big b remaking sarath kumar’s suryavamsam, i was shocked so much that i prefered Sarath. (yeah i say this deliberately with many Big B fans here..hehe)

          Like

          • it is fair to suggest that there is an element of cultural specificity that a film or performance will always have for ‘natives’ that cannot be translated completely for other audiences (though this shouldn’t lead to a chauvinistic attitude..). At the same time the reverse also holds. So perhaps a Tamilian shouldn’t be too quick to comment on Hindi cinema?! But as a more general point there is also a kind of film and performance that transcends the merely culturally specific. I can never get Tolstoy the way his Russian readers can but I do get a sense of his accomplishment even in translation.

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          • Good point. Even Venkatesh in Telugu was better as was Vishnuvardhan in Kannada than Big B was in Suryavansham
            But then by saying this, we will be replicating the [edited] modus operandi, OSN.
            So, lets refrain from making such unfair comparisons. Suryavansham, lets say, doesnt reflect upon Sr Bachchan’s capabiltiies at large.

            [Raj’s prior comment removed as well]

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    • I can’t agree with the Kamal over Amitabh bit (if that’s what you’re saying) but I am with both you and Q when it comes to Kamal (leave aside just scriptwriting) going full-throttle on directing films. He’s a superb filmmaker when he wants to be.

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      • yes on the basis of Hey Ram and Virumandi I think Kamal had it in him to be a really great director.. I wish he had gone into direction in a full-fledged way and reserved the acting for occasional assignments. Much as I like Virumandi I do consider it a little overrated (in the way in which Kamal projects often become.. my respect for his skills does not preclude my noticing that there is a Kamal ‘industry’ in this sense) but Hey Ram is a film that I always watch with a great degree of anticipation and where I always come away getting something new out of it. In fact I’ve been meaning to revisit it of late also.

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        • I’d take Hey Ram over Virumaandi too as a whole but I have to say Virumaandi is an easier film to revisit.

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          • that’s probably true..

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          • speaking of Hey Ram someone pointed this out to me the other day but I was talking about the Vikram-Ash bedroom scene and the whole link between the weapon (gun) and the erotic but there is of course a much more extended segment on the same in Hey Ram. Of course this is the one portion of the film where Kamal could have been more subtle but that’s a different matter.

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          • “could have been more subtle” is an understatement. This is Kamal’s cheif obstacle as a filmmaker as I see it because he tends to rely heavily on overwrought CGI/makeup.

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  57. http://www.glamsham.com/movies/scoops/10/jun/22-raavan-grosses-53-crore-worldwide-in-opening-weekend-061001.asp

    Reliance BIG Pictures and Madras Talkies’ RAAVAN has grossed Rs 53 crore at the box office in its opening weekend from Hindi (RAAVAN), Tamil (RAAVANAN) and Telugu (VILLAIN) versions all encompassing.

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  58. satyam, that waw a yes and no question. IMO, you bailed out of answering that. If that is your opinion, why shy of stating it again ? If you say that after all this discussion, an objective viewer can easily make a proper judgement of your position. I’d really like you to state explicitly again that Mani writes roles for Abhishek and doesnt do so for Kamal. For that is what you have said so far but if you dotn state explicitly now, there will be a chance of you twisting it in the future, saying when did I say that. C’mon, just indulge me!

    Like

    • check out the older comments , I’ve been more than explicit on the subject.. I will however not agree to your ‘decontextualized’ simplistic formulation..

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  59. What if Mani doesnt cast Abhishek again? Would it be because Senior Bachchan burnt the bridges? Or, would it be because Mani has lost faith in Abhishek’s potential?

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  60. Ok, for the record, since one comment was deleted, all I said was that I dont believe Sathyam is anti-tamilian as he has implied that he will be painted. My accusation on Sathyam is something different, which if I post, he will delete it. So, let that be a secret to you guys 🙂

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  61. Why_so_serious Says:

    Raj, OSN:

    You guys have nailed the Madurai-based nuances in this simpleton “mentality”, essentially, plus of course that slang brought out the person we usually meet from the region. That’s of course the whole point.

    Think a lot of excuses along with kamal’s involvement as filmmaker, so to speak, are suggested such that he wasn’t in control of this character. But always good to see supporters (well-versed in tamil cinema) finding nuances and brilliance of a performance. Read Rangan, everyone’s favorite critic, recently write on the sequence with “appaththa” similar to Brando’s in Ultimate tango in Paris. But there are other affecting sequences that profoundly moved me.

    Btw, got to watch Vijay awards. Following Kamal, Mani and Rahman, Rajini received NT award for excellence. Watch him pretty much confirm what I said reg. where Rajini comes from. Although we went beyond and said 100% of his acting and style is derived from NT. And very moving to see both Rajini and Kamal shed tears when the topic of the day NT passed away cropped up. I admit it, I was also moved to tears.

    And how about NT in Virumandi? Just the thought of the lion, NT, as Sandiyar!! Can’t withhold pleasures of one’s imagination!!

    Like

  62. Why_so_serious Says:

    Raj:but because he has done enough as an actor to keep 7 generations of Bachcans in awe. What we need more of is his script writing – which unfortunately he is not doing because he feels that he is an elephant that needs to be paid its price, and his actor-star image needs to be kept up.

    Precisely my concern in this regard. As script writer and filmmaker, Tamil cinema NEED him.

    And saw points that I didn’t bother mentioning coz I was contemplating the futility of it. But will still reiterate below cuz they’re all valid:

    a)Raj: BTW, for Satyam’s information, one reaason for Mani-Kamal not colloborating is because “Mani wasnt willing to pay elephant its market rate”. Kamal has explicitly stated this in response to questions on why he cant work with Mani.

    b)Zero: Kamal didn’t seem to be in search of a strong directorial presence either to miss someone like a Mani Ratnam.

    c) Raj: How much of Reliance money is the reason for Mani choosing Abhishek?

    d) Raj : Lets not forget that Mani had a shelved movie with Aamir before he took on Abhishek again
    If he was so enamoured of Abhi, why did he go to Aamir first and only when he rejected, come back to Abhishek and reliance?

    e) OSN: Kamal was also offered Iruvar, i don’t see that in conversation between satyam and why_so_serious above. Kamal declined it. then it went to sarath kumar who also declined it as he was politically involved in DMK.

    f) OSN: Didn’t Mani also prepare a script for Kamal that also involved Rajini in discussion at one point, and there was a huge altercation between Rajkamal and Madras talkies over payment?
    ->Yes, that’s the project Kamal is talking about (that the price wasn’t right) in Raj’s point a)

    In conclusion, debunks many a theory.

    I do see the earnestness of Q’s take on male leads in Mani’s films but I tend to disagree again as the pair did try a lot to get together,

    and also Zero eloquently put:
    The only thing I’d like to add here is the kind of male lead role we’re talking about — of what age, etc. Mani’s heroes are often quite young. How many roles of Mani’s 90s films even required an actor of Kamal’s stature/age? Kamal would have obviously been a bad choice for most of these films. [Even in Iruvar, I think the casting is decidedly ‘offbeat.’ I’m NOT saying that Mani would have chosen Kamal if he had wanted to to go a bit more massy or something to that effect, but clearly Mohanlal had no reasonable standing as a star in Tamil cinema and yet Mani picked him. I find it hard to understand this without seeing it as a decisive move on Mani’s part to make a more ambitious and ‘auteuristic’ film.]
    ——–
    More ‘auteuristic’ makes sense, considering Kamal will obviously bring a certainly genealogy (that ties a bit with Sivaji, who is the opposite of MGR) to this role. Rajini, even if he stands in the industry as MGR’s replacement, will also fail in this regard (having a strong’er’ Sivaji genealogy)..

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  63. kya satyam how can you forget in India ‘minority rules’ ,so we are in good company

    and for the rest ,ladies and gentleman of the enlightened society i think you all need a coffee break

    as 2nd innings [abhi vs rest of the world ] will start again all i can say
    for all those hate \dislike abhi-frankly who cares

    for all who like abhi-keep the faith,manzilein aur bhi hain

    for those who are neutral-go and watch the world cup

    Like

  64. sachita Says:

    oh god.. just went through few comments, but did Lajjo not happen because of aamir?
    Wasnt he aware of early on what his role was? – why did he chicken out at the last stage then?

    This seriously brings down Aamir’s credit quite a bit, i mean isnt his whole deal that he tries to make different films within the commercial boundary!

    By the way, I dismiss of the Lajjo revival story and heera mandi story as Kareena’s usual PR exercise. Abhishek’s plate is full for next 2 years.

    Like

  65. sachita Says:

    And Sathyam, I hope you have caught hey ram and Virumandi(seems impossible that you wouldnt have). As a hardcore Mani fan I say this, Kamal is on par as a director!

    I want to ask you this? Do you think Mani will never opt for any one apart from Abhishek as long as he is around? – I am asking this as some one who likes abhishek.

    Like

    • an old piece on Hey Ram from my side…

      https://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2009/02/22/232/

      I have seen it a number of times and it is one of my favorite contemporary films.. was just commenting on it earlier today.. like Virumandi a great deal too but not as much as Hey Ram..

      I don’t think Kamal currently has enough of a body of work to be fairly compared to Rathnam. These two films are certainly extraordinary works. I wish he had turned to direction completely beyond a point. And yet even in these two works I don’t quite spot the Rathnam ‘event’ (his significance for his industry.. in terms of setting it on a completely new course) or the turn to auteurism.. and again this isn’t a fair comparison because Kamal doesn’t have enough films I don’t see him as revolutionary in his cinema in any contextual sense or on terms of pure aesthetics.. his politics is always what is most impressive. He is an accomplished filmmaker for sure but his films wouldn’t be important just on those grounds. Whereas with Rathnam I think he is exemplary in a formalistic sense even when his films are sometimes muddled.. but this is not an ’empty’ formalism as it often tends to be with RGV for example.. and again Rathnam’s seminal role for Tamil cinema and I would argue for Indian cinema in general has to be considered. It was once suggested to me that he was the single most influential director in Indian commercial history. After reflecting on this for a bit I realized the truth of this statement because no other director has really altered the course of an industry completely. Rathnam was the very first to introduce in contemporary cinema the notion of cinema also being about a certain formalism. He placed this front and center and I think even in historic terms for the very first time since Raj Kapoor and Guru Dutt in the 50s. You do not see in Bombay cinema after those two or in Tamil cinema before Rathnam this sense that whatever one’s thematic concerns these have to be wedded to a (pop)auteurist visual grammar. RGV fulfills a similar role in Telugu cinema though of course he postdates Rathnam and Telugu cinema from what little I can gather has been far less willing to go down that path than Tamil cinema. Similarly in Hindi cinema Mukul Anand had a brief such spell (he of course passed away quickly) but here too I think he was operating under the Rathnam sign as surely as was VVC in Parinda. Which does not mean that their aesthetics are like Rathnam’s, at least not necessarily, just that visual aesthetics becomes an issue in these films. And for this Rathnam is responsible. Even in the new Tamil cinema which I have elsewhere defined as the revenge of Bharthiraja there is still that adherence to the auteurist.

      On Abhishek I don’t think it can ever be said for a director like Rathnam that he would simply get wedded to one star. I certainly think he’s capable of taking ‘breaks’ if you will. What I will say is that it’s unlikely he would do an important project in Hindi without including Abhishek. In other words if he does something like AP Abhishek might not be part of it. But I doubt that would happen for a different sort of project. So far he’s made films in Hindi that have not just had use for Abhishek the actor but also for the actor’s precise physicality and his overall signature. But sure, he could always work with someone else. One of the reasons I have always celebrated a new Abhishek-Rathnam project is precisely because I haven’t taken it for granted. And when I equally celebrate this hatrick I know it has been ‘earned’ on the part of the actor.

      Perhaps Kamal might have developed into a very great director had he pursued that course but on the existing evidence, imperfect as it is, I don’t see a comparison.

      Like

  66. sachita Says:

    as i said earlier i am waiting for his ranbir movie already -if it happens. doesnt seem likely and if ranbir is the usual hindi crap actor then he doesnt deserve to be in a m

    but your argument sounds as if Mani has an option of using Kamal and abhishek and he prefer abhishek inspite of that(since you never put things bluntly), indirectly even extending this to their respective talents – BS in one word. Mani has always gone to some one flexible and he can always pull off/bring out the best in most anyway. I like abhishek.

    Like

    • Sachita I have not meant that all with respect to Kamal and Abhishek.. they are not even in the same generation.. all I meant was that at a certain point in time Abhishek has functioned the way De Niro did or Leo currently does for Scorsese. For whatever reason the same kind of equation was never created with Kamal which irrespective of the reasons is extremely noteworthy given Rathnam’s eminence as a director and Kamal’s as an actor.

      Like

  67. Mani can never equal kamal in making truly outstanding tamil films.
    And before mani we had mahendran, balu mahendra, bharatiraja and even balachander all off whom are far more significant for us than mani.
    The lionising of mani here is akin to saying karan johar is more significant than guru dutt, raj kapoor, or even yash chopr in bollywood history.
    But in one way thanks to Ahishek, without him Ratnam wouldn’t have got such praise in this blog.

    Hope Johar casts Abhishek continuously and praises amitabh repeatedly and moves over from sharukj camp to bachchan camp. He will then replace Ratnam here

    Like

    • Why_so_serious Says:

      Agreed.

      But Mani was “important” in some ways (apart from pan-Indian films getting national recognition), in the varied forms of visual kinetic employed in different films, that enhanced a bit from (poetic) realms of Mahendran and Balu Mahendra, still these two, to my mind, are far more “significant” than Mani in bringing that formalistic sense to Tamil cinema.

      And of course, KB, BR and late 70’s cinema brought the ‘auteuristic’ sense. It’d be ignorant to say otherwise..

      Like

      • Agree, w_s_s We have this mirror image of agenda-based posters in TN, who want to bring down Mani at every given opportunity and Mahendran. BR and BM are handy tools. I belive there is also a caste angle to this – Mani being an outsider in TN on account of his birth.
        So, yeah, there are these factors that he belongs neither in Bollywood nor in Tamil filmdom although he atleast has a huge amount of respect from Tamil film fraternity as such but not so much at the mass level.

        Like

        • Why_so_serious Says:

          Agreed Raj.

          Isn’t he seen as this “Madras guy”, even if he shows a portion of Tirunelveli, it still registers as Madras-like, apart from the locales. This is the obvious disadvantage.

          I stress Mani was “significant” in ways. Terms like ‘Pop-Auteur’ was coined for specific reason.

          Like

  68. Oh ok so the exucse has already been created for the eventuality of Mani not choosing Abhi for his next movie?
    So, if Mani doesnt write another movie for Kamal, then it is because of problems with Kamal’s capability or shortcomings in his personality, style whatever
    But when there is the slightest chance that Mani might not use Abhi for his next movie, excuses are already trotted out that he may be writing a script that doesnt suit Abhi? Wow!

    BTW, Qalandar, Abhishek and iconic? Excuse me while I gurgle out my breakfast!

    Nobody is going to complain if you praise Abhishek’s performances but it is such careless use of words like iconic, genius that makes people react so violently to your Abhishek hagiography, if you guys pause to think. You guys probably are doing A.Shek disservice than anything else – praise him for what he is, and you may even get converts who appreciate A.Shek, but continue throwing such undeserving epithets at him, and he is only going to lose more people who even if they might have considered him harmless otherwise are going to react with disgust because of such hagiography and propoganda.

    Like

    • We will praise Abhishek or anyone else as and when we like, to the degree that we wish. If you don’t like it I am told this isn’t the only blog around. But to stay here you will have to change your tone. All day you’ve been saying the same thing again and again. Think of it what you will but these are the rules. Going forward it will have been your choice. You can argue against anything. Once in a while everyone crosses the line but you are doing it deliberately and consistently.

      Like

    • I am not forcing anyone to read what I read. Nor will I be silenced by you — irrespective of how “violently” people react. And if you think I am indulging in “hagiography”, I guess you didn’t read my review.

      Like

  69. Lastly, an actor and a director could work together or not, depending on various factors including mutual respect, immediate availability, bulk dates, and a reasonable combination of suitability, availability and deference on the actor’s side for the director – what is being said here is that Mani chose Abhishek because Abhishek, and only Abhishek(not Aamir, not Shahrukh, not Irffan, not Kamal, not Mohanlal, not Nasserdduin Shah, not Manoj Bajpai, not Sunjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan etc) suited his roles. That is to say, every other factor is immaterial.

    Anyone with a decent amount of experience in Life will know that it is never so – it is always a combination of factors that goes into a decision. Which means this blog owner and commenters will also have that knowledge and wisdom. The problem is there is a refusal to acknowledge this simple fact of life and harping that only Abhishek is suitable for Mani’s worthy roles(or certain type of roles).

    This is so wrong at multiple levels.

    Like

    • Raj,

      Very valid points…

      Even i like abhi a lot but get disgusted by the continous agenda and unworthy prasie for Abhi..I have said it earlier that ,these set of fans are abhi’s biggest enemy…

      Like

  70. Why_so_serious Says:

    Raj, Amen to that!

    Like

  71. just to let u all knoe mani ratnam approached BOBBY DEOL for YUVA

    i rest my case

    Like

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