Rumors about Ratnam’s next — Aishwarya, Abhishek, Mahesh Babu et al..


“This time Ratnam is planning to direct a film which will have the celebrity couple in lead roles. Aishwarya is said to have given her nod to do the project.”

“The Bachchan bahu has apparently given her nod to Mani Ratnam for his upcoming film, which will also feature Abhishek Bachchan, Bollywood Hungama reported. [Read the report here]

However, it is being said that Nagarjuna and Mahesh Babu will be the protagonists.”


67 Responses to “Rumors about Ratnam’s next — Aishwarya, Abhishek, Mahesh Babu et al..”

  1. Earlier there were rumors that it was just Aishwarya working with Ratnam and that Abhishek wasn’t part of it. Then the Tamil-Telugu bilingual thing came up. Now it’s this latest round. So far no Tamil stars have actually been mentioned as far as I can tell. Also find it unlikely that Abhishek would be making an appearance in a Tamil or Telugu film without a Hindi version (if at all). Could be a Hindi-Telugu bilingual as opposed to a Tamil-Telugu one. It could even be a trilingual. So many rumors it’s hard to figure out what’s going on but something seems to be up. Abhishek’s name cropping up also seems plausible to the extent that all the Aishwarya comeback films being talked about featured them as a couple (masoom remake, the Prahlad Kakkar deal). There could also be a Mahesh Babu-Abhishek correspondence if there is a Hindi version. Nagarjuna is an older star anyway. Whatever the deal I am quite excited about a Ratnam film taking shape. If Abhishek’s part of it that’s the icing on the cake. the Ratnam prize remains as far as I’m concerned the ultimate prize in Indian commercial cinema.


    • Not so sure on the last line when you have Hirani, Imtiaz Ali and so many filmmakers who make better movies than Ratnam. Infact Ratnam has not been relevant for sometime now. His last good film was Ayudha Ezhutu. Everything else since then have been imperfect and some just thrash like Kadal. If I were Abhishek I will stay miles away from this deal as the movie will not cater to a wide audience and thats not the kind of movie he needs at this stage of his career when it has started to look up a little. The All is well deal is a much better option where the maker backed up by a big music company can give him a moderate success with both audiences and critics if well made. Making a movie with Mahesh Babu makes sense for Mani as he needs a big star to resurrect his standing rather than viceversa


      • C’mon, comparing Imtiaz Ali to Rathnam is a joke (Ali is anyway the most overrated filmmaker around). And I thought Kadal was excellent.

        I would love to see Nag in this one. Geethanjali remains one of my personal favourites. But Prince in a Rathnam film? Seriously! Even if he is great fun on screen.


        • Mahesh Babu can be good if given a good role. He is limited to masala there but can do intense stuff if provided a chance. Some part of BusinessMan and even his latest 1 Nennokadine proved that to an extent. Its a different matter altogether that his fan base wont like the movie. I am not comparing Imtiaz to Ratnam, rather saying that within the commercial paradigm he offers good variety and is quite a relevant film maker today. I can understand someone liking kadal but most others didnt. I could gather there was a message in there but it didnt come out clearly. Both in Ravanan and Kadal I thought Ratnam completely lost his audience. Thats worrying.


          • of course Ratnam gets the advantage of an initial with this sort of iconic star but he then employs the same stars in somewhat restrained ways which never quite pleases the base. Thalapathy is a classic example of this.

            Ratnam is a canny operator though. He’s been in trouble many times before but he’s always found a way. Admittedly the Kadal reception in Tamil was new even by these standards. He was really ripped for this one. But the bilingual is a classic way of spreading the risk. You shoot multiple versions for less than the price of each were they done individually. You combine them in some sort of package deal for the producer who then parcels it out. Raavan for instance leaving aside the fact that it wasn’t quite the disaster everyone initially pretended (Nahta himself accepted this months later) was also packaged very sensibly in terms of price and so forth. But also Raavanan did decently. A Ratnam-Mahesh Babu combo would be huge in Andhra. if he’s doing a Tamil film he’ll probably get a big enough star here too. If there’s a Hindi with Abhishek-Aishwarya there’s a market for this couple anyway. Aishwarya will be appearing after a long time. She packs a big punch in the South anyway. Abhishek will have had a number of safe releases before this and will have way better box office standing. Again assuming all these rumors have truth to them. The larger point is that Ratnam knows how to structure these things. You don’t survive as long as he has and specially with the choices he’s made for more than two decades now if you can’t work the system to your advantage.


          • What you’re saying is fair except that Ratnam has lost the audience on most of his major efforts over the last two decades. From Thalapathy to iruvar to Dil Se to Raavan not one was a hit. Some were helped by stronger initials. Some had better critical reception that others. But not one is a clean success. Even the Tamil Raavanan was just decent, mostly helped by a strong initial. KM didn’t work, a minority absolutely loved it, that was about it. Yuva/AE were okay in either version depending on one’s perspective but certainly disappointing relative to expectations. The only real success he’s had since Alaipayuthey is Guru. Before this it was Bombay. So in these large spans he’s just had a few successes. By the way Ratnam still has good instincts when he absolutely wants to design a hit. But he evidently doesn’t feel this pressure too often.


          • ya rajnikant was very restraint in thalapathy compared to his standard but that was a long long time back…stars to get biggest initial in there safest genre again budget only killed his most recent movie but ya one of his biggest strength was tight leash which people like anurag followed


      • The great director often gets ahead of his audience. In an iconic phase such a director can find enough of a ‘match’ with the audience tastes to be a trend-setter. Eventually though he becomes a ‘signature’. The question then becomes whether he keeps repeating himself or goes into newer directions. I’ve set this many times but beginning in the early 90s most of Ratnam’s dream films haven’t worked one way or the other. The ones that have have not been as interesting. Many of the films that were shrugged off in the 90s (or even derided) have been reinvented since. It’s not just about Ratnam. One could find such an arc for the greatest directors in history. For the simple reason that such a mind is never content to rest with an established signature. But once he (or she) moves away from it the lack of ‘recognition’ is sometimes misread as inadequate or weak filmmaking. It is more the case though that the filmmaker’s concerns haven’t been correctly identified. Which doesn’t mean that one cannot dislike the work but one should identify its ends appropriately. Godard had a roughly 20 year phase when people felt he wasn’t getting it done the way he used to, then critics started liking his films all of a sudden, eventually they even started liking the ones they had disliked earlier. Because later waves of criticism realized that Godard’s aims were very different later on. It’s understandable why the iconic work is always missed or creates a certain nostalgia but that’s not the director’s fault. Kurosawa was similarly maligned just for making a different sort of samurai film let alone other smaller ones. Fellini faced this. It’s not just in cinema but in other art forms too. Almost in formulaic fashion the ‘late’ work is first considered not equal to the earlier heights and then in time it is seen as equally important. These things happen. There are other interesting directors around (not many in bollywood!) but again what shouldn’t be missed is that someone like Ratnam becomes an event. He cannot be judged by ordinary standards as he is the enabler of an entire discourse on cinema. I wouldn’t really compare any Bollywood director to Ratnam though perhaps Mehra in D6 (and they are not similar directors otherwise) comes closest to combining a certain formalism with a certain socio-political posture in the service of a quasi-experimental narrative. the result is a mixed one as it often is in Ratnam as well but such ‘failures’ are worth several successes anywhere else! Kadal to my mind connects easily with the Raavan narrative in certain ways. Which in turn has profound links with Dil Se. But in any case I liked Kadal a lot. It’s a rather enigmatic film, in some ways Ratnam’s trickiest one. In any case I’d totally disagree that he has nothing more to offer and I definitely would not compare him with the likes of Imtiaz Ali. Even Hirani who I adore as much as most others cannot be put in Ratnam’s camp. He’s a very good practitioner of meaningful commercial cinema but those greater artistic impulses are quite beyond him. Nothing wrong with this of course on its own. Finally if there is any truth to this news Abhishek should do this even if another Raavan has to be risked. With certain kinds of filmmaker such questions shouldn’t be raised. And what’s the point of doing stuff like BB or HNY or whatever if one then cannot be better placed to try out such stuff? One can decide to simply be another successful or very successful star but I’ve always operated on the assumption that Abhishek is too good a talent to limit himself to HNY-like efforts, with or without multistarrers.


        • godard and verbose is ok but commercial angle is there to…in terms of idea both raval and kadal is lethargic with hardly with any innovation and add to it his heart attack…do feel anurag kasyap has taken this legacy from him


        • All that you said is okay Satyam but still doesnt justify the last sentence of him being the ultimate prize in commercial cinema. If anything what you said negates that. The most basic thing if one is the ultimate prize is commercial cinema is that he needs to be critically and commercially accepted. Ratnam is neither now…Hirani is both


  2. yay another pity project!


  3. Imtiaz is limited to romance genre while ratnam is has done all genre and arguably the best director in india but he has lost the touch both physically and commercialiy(ravan and kadal) ….this is a huge risk with him now

    ya young nag was excellent in geetanjali ,abhishek in yuva and guru and his discovery aishwarya in iruvar or a guru but again different times now

    prince(mahesh) is excellent though in masala terrain and do share one thing with abhishek both married beauty queens


  4. mahesh babu in mani ratnam film is very difficult to digest and brave for maniratnam to even make a movie now when distributors are gunning for him after kadal


  5. AsliSamar Says:

    So, this is Ash’s comeback like Madhuri’s comeback in Aaja Nachle where she was 40+. Ash is going to be 42 by the time this film releases! Don’t think Mahesh babu can be opposite her, could be Nagarjuna coz of the age. I think the bigger comeback will be of Mani Ratnam, not Ash. Good Luck!


  6. I wouldn’t count Mani out, he is not RGV.


  7. I was disappointed by Kadal, but it is a strange film — can’t just be dismissed out of hand, but it is muddled, mixing some moments of great visual poetry (the corpse burial towards the beginning, for the instance) with some questionable choices (the heroine was wretched). I would still look forward to a Mani Ratnam film more than one by just about any commercial filmmaker working today (certainly more than a chap like Imtiaz Ali).

    But the months preceding a Ratnam launch almost always see a flood of weird rumours (remember “Laajo” from a few years ago? Ratnam adapting an Ismat Chughtai story is just… bizarre), and I have my doubts about this one too. But as someone who despairs of seeing Mahesh in a decent film, I’d certainly like to see Mani’s take on the Prince.


  8. Abhishek confirms Aishwarya is doing Ratnam’s film:

    This more or less confirms the original bilingual (Telugu/Tamil) story. Also doesn’t shut the door on the Kakkar film.


  9. Lots of rumors once again swirling around this one. At one point Nagarjuna said the project had been shelved. Then Mahesh Babu said it was still on. He said he didn’t have dates right away but things were being worked out (of course this is odd for someone who hardly does much at a time). Then the shelving rumors cropped up again. There is also the story that only the Telugu version has been canceled. But there’s also word that Ratnam might be interested in Ram Charan. Not sure what’s going on here.


    • this most recently from Ratnam:

      “On the filmmaking front, Ratnam is currently busy scripting his next project. The film is said to be a trilingual featuring Akkineni Nagarjuna, Mahesh Babu and Aishwarya Rai.

      Nothing has been finalised. I’m still writing and only when I complete it, will I be able to confirm my cast, he said.”


  10. Adding a new rumor to the pile – Mammootty’s son is possibly in the movie:–tamil-news-112228


    • Think taking Dulquer might not be a bad decision from a commercial point of viee (though if Rathnam wanted to go for a young Malayali star, Fahadh would have been my choice)- he seems to have quite a following among the yuppie crowd and is a pretty decent actor. He is also currently very ‘hot’ as far the market is concerned- Bangalore Days (though an ensemble film) was a mammoth hit (I do want to watch it). And most importantly the fact that his Vaayai Moodi Pesavum worked at T. N. box-office (inspite of the fact that the film’s Malayalam version flopped in Kerala, surprisingly!) might have been one of the reasons why Rathnam might want to take him. Rathnam would badly want a hit at this point of time. And I am pretty sure it will be a far more mainstream work than Kadal (though to be honest, from the trailers Kadal too looked far less edgy than it eventually turned out to be).

      Also P. C. Sreeram is supposedly going to be the editor here (he last worked with Rathnam in Alaipayuthe) instead of Sreekar Prasad who has been Rathnam’s regular editor since Yuva.


      • Agree here, I much prefer Fahadh as an actor, and would love to see what he could do in a Ratnam setup although he probably doesn’t have the commercial appeal in Tamil that Dulquar could bring.


        • CG: Have you gotten around watching any of the recent Malayalam releases (Drishyam, Amen, Mumbai Police, Artist). Also check out the Munnariyippu trailer if you haven’t yet (it has been getting very good reviews all around), Mammootty finally seems to have a done truly worthwhile after giving turkeys throughout last year (though Lal Jose’s Immanuel wasn’t as bad as the media made it out to be. Here too I liked Fahadh more than Mammootty).


          • Saurabh, Yes, I’ve seen all of the above except Drishyam. It’s on my watch list next along with Bangalore Days as soon as I can get hold of the DVD. Of the list above, I loved Amen, Mumbai Police and Artist along with North 24 Kaatham, Annayum Rasoolum, Red Wine, Diamond Necklace and Left Right Left. I also quite enjoyed Immanuel and agree that it was unfairly maligned. The resurgence of Malayalam cinema is well on its way and I thought that Rangan’s article on this topic recently was quite on the mark.


          • Just finished watching Drishyam. I can pay it no higher compliment than to say that I was gripped for the entire running time. What a pleasure to see Lal play the everyman again with a great supporting cast (Meena and Asha Sarath) to match. I didn’t mind the first hour (actually I thoroughly enjoyed the small-town banter)- I thought it did a great job establishing the family ambience and characters and so the tonal shift, while quite abrupt didn’t necessarily seem jarring.


        • CG: I avoided Red Wine after reading the terrible reviews. Now that you have liked it, I will give it a shot.

          Glad to see North 24 Kaatham, it has one of my favourite Fahadh performances. And after that disastrous song-dance beginning, Diamond Necklace actually turned out to be pretty good (though a little predicatble, we always know which girl is he going to choose). Left Right Left was far better than most of Jha’s political dramas even if it was heavily leaning towards one side of the political/ideological divide.

          Also one of the things about Malayalam cinema which hearten me is the fact that quite a few films have very strong female characters which are being enacted by very good actresses- both Annayum rasoolum (ANdrea) and especially Artist (Ann Augustine, whom I thought was flat-out terrific. Her performance here isn’t by anyway lesser than that of Kanagana in Queen or Alia in Highway)which is a far cry from Tamil cinema (both Tamil and Telugu ones are the worst on this score) and even most of contemporary Bollywood.

          BTW I hope you do share your views on 1983 and Akam as and when you end up watching them.


          • Saurabh, yes, I would put Red Wine along with Emmanuel in the unfairly maligned category. And anytime you have Lal and Fahadh together, things can’t be all bad.
            Agree with your comment on strong female parts. Ann was certainly a revelation in Artist and I think Swathi’s 2 roles in Amen and North 24 also belong in the list.
            Should be watching 1983 and Drishyam in the next couple of weeks- will let you know what I think in short order.


          • Btw, Rajeev Ravi has released his followup to Annayum Rasoolum, Njan Steve Lopez starring Fahad Faasil’s younger brother Farhaan Faasil. Rangan has an interesting write-up on the movie and an email interview with Rajeev Ravi up.


        • CG: I am not sure if you are aware, but the Bangalore Days DVD is out. I saw it today and it’s a charming film with a really nice mood to it (Anjali Menon has a great feel for the untethered scenes) It ‘perhaps’ belong to the ZNMD space, but is a far better film not the least because it thankfully doesn’t suffer from the self-seriousness which plagued Zoya’s film. There are no ‘life-changing’ moments here and even if they are, they aren’t banged on to our heads with a sledgehammer. Also there is a real nice touch involving Nivin Pauly’s storyline where this particular plot-thread involves ‘longing for home’ (the film involves these 3 cousins- Dulquer, Nivin, Nazriya), but surprisingly this very theme is gently subverted through the chracters of Nivin’s parents. Among the leads I was most impressed with Nivin (the 2nd time after 1983) followed by Nazriya (who is super-cute. Though perhaps this ‘cuteness’ might just prevent her from doing more mature roles). Didn’t care for Dulquer to be frank- he is charming enough, but I am getting a little tired of him playing these ‘rebel with/without a cause’ kinda guy (he almost played the same role in last year’s Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi last year); he, for most part, was just one-note (I should admit that quite a few of my North Indian female friends find him very attractive). But unsurprisingly the film really belongs to Fahadh (man, how does he keep picking these roles. And in case any one has a doubt – not that I ever had any – regarding who is a better actor between him and Dulquer should check out a scene where Dulquer goes to Fahadh’s house in order to break a particular piece of ‘news’ to him; Fahadh owns Dulquer in that scene without doing anything anything on screen. I can’t say this enough- it’s high time Fahadh is given a proper role by a Hindi or Tamil director, he is the real deal) and Parvathi Menon (who, like she was in Poo and Maryan, is flat-out brilliant and easily runs rings around Dulquer. I think a case can be made that she is the promising talent in the country as far as young female actresses are concerned. Though the fact that she is not beautiful in the stereotypical, might end up being a roadblock in her future career). Ultimately this is a very enjoyable film (and most important thing here is that Menon shows how to do a proper urban multiplex youth-centric film with well-etched out female parts but without the self-seriousness of ZNMD and the soullessness of YJHD. I hope both Ayan Mukherjee and Zoya Akhtar watch this and learn a lesson or two from her), but not really much more than that.

          I saw Red Wine and too didn’t mind it though the mystery was out within half an our of the film. And why did Lal do this thankless role which really didn’t demand anything from him. Also Asif Ali almost killed the film- he was so bland.

          BTW not sure if you have seen it already, but you should check out the Fahadh-Nazriya wedding trailer. It’s so much (they have used a Banglore Days marriage song in the trailer) fun and Dulquer is a hoot.

          Also in case you end up watching Shaji Karun’s “Swapaanam”, do share your thoughts.


          • Saurabh, thanks so much for the detailed Bangalore Days review. It quite matches all the feedback that I’ve heard so far- that this is a urban, multiplex movie but less superficial and preachy than others of its ilk. For what it’s worth, I never had any doubts about who was the better actor between Fahadh and Dulquar- Dulquar is an amiable presence, but that’s been about it so far. And agree with you on Parvathy too, she’s terrific. Will have to look out for the DVD now…


          • Has anyone seen Mumbai Police? Any opinions? Also can someone recommend a good online site to watch Malayalam movies. I usually watch it at entihusan but they dont upload new movies fast enough


          • Mumbai Police is quite good – not THAT superior as it is made out to be. But surely a 1 time watch. Prithviraj is very good. Maybe because I watched in EINTHUSAN and sometimes there are deletions and less said about sub-titling, the better. But at least there are sub-titles for non-Tamilians/Malayalis like us!!

            DRISHYAM also, though quite good in establishing the small-town — the scenes in the local hotel & discussions between Mohanlal and the cop as well as the hotel owner are a treasure– ambiance, has many loop-holes. But it is held together by a SUPERB performance by Mohanlal -as if anybody is expecting less!! One really feels the man’s attachment to his family and his cool demeanor comes of quite beautifully contrasting the turmoil the family is going through..

            Frankly, I preferred MEMORIES to Mumbai Police..

            If anybody knows of any better place to watch Tamil & Malayalam movies [with sub-titles of course], do let me know..


          • I too liked Memories a lot and thought that between this and Drishyam, Memories was the better Jeethu Joseph film (Lal, though, was excellent in Drishyam. One of the chief reasons why I didn’t go as crazy as everyone over Drishyam was because I had read the Higashino novel just months before the film’s release. And so finally when I saw that the film’s investigative angle was stolen directly from the novel, it’s impact on me was reduced). But as a personal choice I will take Mumbai Police over both Memories and Drishyam.

            In any case the Malayalam films which I loved the most from last year were Annayum Rasoolum, Artist, Amen, Mumbai Police, 101 Chodyangal and North 24 Kaatham.


          • Saurabh, just watched Bangalore Days. Can’t really add anything to the excellent summary you have here. My sense of the film is pretty much the same as yours: a lovely, charming little film with really great performances all round. All told though, it’s the most sheer fun I’ve had watching a movie in quite a while…


        • Krish: I don’t use any website to watch Malayalam films online. Since I don’t follow Malayalam (or for that matter any language apart from Hindi and English) at all (so I can’t watch even the few Malayalam releases which come to the Delhi cinema-halls) I have to wait for a proper subtitled print to release on Torrents. In the case of Malayalam films, the DVD release release happens usually within 60 days of the theatrical release. And the DVDs of Malayalam films (unlike 99% of Tamil and Telugu films) are always accompanied with subtitles; within 2-3 days of the DVD release the film is available in a superb print (in fact the print us the same as that of the original DVD or BluRay) on Torrents.

          I have seen Mumbai Police and found it absolutely brilliant (I, for one, much preferred it over Drishyam) up until very late into the film when that ‘there-is-absolutely-no-way-you-could-see-it-coming’ kinda ‘revelatory twist’ arrives [though to his credit, and very few directors do it these days, there have been few (or atleast one particular clue early into the film) clues about the twist slyly scattered throughout the film]. Apart from the twist, which certainly is NOVEL if problematic, I thought that everything about the film was terrific- Rosshan Andrrews knows how to sustain the right kind of hardboiled mood, which a thriller requires, throughout the narrative. The film is often stunningly shot (unlike Drishyam which was often very poor on this score. Some if the camera angles, which is also a problem in some other Malayalam Masala potboilers, looked so awkward in Drishyam) and some of the night shots reminded me of Mysskin’s way of shooting Chennai in Anjathey and Yuddham Sei, and the background score is very effective without ever being intrusive. I really liked Prithviraj here (that he chose to do this role itself is a huge thing)- this guy might not be the most versatile actor around, but he has personality and screen presence in spades; also the role suits Prithvi’s sexually agressive kinda persona. But the film’s biggest strength was Bobby-Sanjay’s script (these guys are heck of a writer-duo as far as thrillers are concerned. Both this and Traffic are complex yet uncomplicated scripts).

          Coming to the ‘twist’ per se-

          BIG, BAD SPOILERS below—–

          I will give to the writers that on a conceptual rug-pulling-level the twist was brilliant. Also the director handle the twist far better than Sujoy Ghosh did in Kahaani (not the saying the twist in both films are remotely similar to each other, but that they both are designed to catch you completely off-guard). But once you give it some thought, it is improbable and a little silly- Firstly how could amnesia result in an amnesiac’s sexual orientation. Secondly the way that ‘homosexual’ angle is made out as the reason why the murder happens, it seemed the director’s voice became a little homophobic once the twist arrives. The latter bit actually becomes even more evident the ‘motive’ for the crime doesn’t seem convincing enough.


          • Agree totally on Mumbai Police- loved the movie, especially the mood and the Prithvi performance. Have the Memories DVD but haven’t gotten around to catching it yet- will do so now. Another film that I really enjoyed from last year was Punyalan Agarbathies, but like Pranchiyettan and the Saint, a lot of the charm of the movie is in the peculiar Thrissur accent and eccentricities, so not sure how it will come across in subtitled versions.


          • Punyalan Agarbathis didnt come across great with sub titles but I was forced to watch it with sub titles as my kids were sleeping.
            Thanks for the note Saurabh. I plan to catch this one soon.


        • CG: Glad that you enjoyed Bangalore Days. I think the most important thing which this film (though not only this film) told us was that Malayam cinema has a crop of some decently talented good looking young lead actors- Fahadh, Prithvi (I know he isn’t of the same age group by any means but you get my point), Nivin, Dulquer, Parvathy Menon, Ann Augustine (though I don’t see her doing any film since she did Artist. These ladies shouldn’t get married, the minute they do their career ends 🙂 . Ann is so talented), Swati Reddy, Nazriya, Nithya Menen, Isha Talwar- who are interested in doing good meaningful commercial cinema. The same can’t be said about Tamil cinema (where most mainstream lead stars are doing absolute tripe! And that’s one of the reasons why the quality of mainstream Tamil films have really taken a huge nosedive in the past couple of years or so. They are in no way better than Bollywood, unlike how they were say 2-3 years back). And perhaps in this regard Malayalam cinema edges out Bollywood- which is to say that the best Fahadh starrer would certainly not be equal to the best Aamir or Ranbir starrer, but an average Fahadh/Prithvi starrer more often than not would be better than an average Ranveer Singh/Arjun Kapoor/Imran Khan/Siddharth Malhotra/Varun Dhawan/SRK/Salman/Devgn/Akshay/Hrithik starrer. So while Malayalam industry still can’t seem to be doing a Highway or an Aankhon Dekhi (leave alone a Gangs of Wasseypur. Also the fact the offbeat Bollywood is FAR, FAR stronger than Malayalam industry which actually doesn’t seem to be interested in doing too many completely offbeat films anyway. There isn’t a space for someone like Bhansali or Dhulia leave alone Anurag Kashyap. I know there is the great Shaji Karun, but he firmly belongs to Art Cinema scene), what they are definitely doing is making far better films in the ‘by-the-numbers’ kind of space (or better still making better artistic workman like fipms if that makes any sense). Now the best of contemporary Bollywood, eight out of ten times, will be better than best of Malayalam cinema (though last year actually say the best 5-6 Malayalam films than the best Bollywood ones), but atleast 6-7 times out 10 the average Malayalam film will also be better than average film (and when compared to Tamil cinema, a mainstream Malayalam film will almost always be better. Now perhaps Malayalam folks still don’t have the equivalent of the ‘new age Tamil cinema’ ala Jigarthanda, and the films of Bala, Mysskin etc, but with what was evident from last year- something like Amen or Mumbai Police- they are getting there atleast on the conceptual if not on the level of pure technique). And perhaps with the exception of Ranbir, Parineeti or to an extent Alia (not that she or even Parineeti is more talented than a Parvathy or an Ann), I am far more interested in watching this young breed of Malayali actors (of course most of the times I prefer watching Fahadh over almost every other young Indian mainstream actor not the least because he just keeps choosing the best of scripts. But even as an actor I find him far more interesting than almost everyone else. Admittedly his persona isn’t really suited for an “I” or a “Barfi/Rockstar/Saawariya, but neither Ranbir nor Vikram have displayed the sort of range he displays in Artist/North 24 Kaatham/Annayum Rasoolum. Even in a nothing-role like Red Wine, he is never less than interesting. And is there another contemporary mainstream actor who covers the entire spectrum of roles which Fahadh has in such a short time?!). One of the important thing I have noticed with these Malayali stars is that they are far more subtle in their performance than the Bollywood ones (compare Nivin and Dulquer to a Ranveer Singh or Arjun Kapoor) and especially Tamil counterparts (yet again the best example here is Fahadh, who to use a cliche, does a lot by doing almost nothing. Also poor Prithvi doesn’t get his due. He is certainly not the most versatile actor around and is most certainly not an actor like Fahadh but he isn’t one-note either- Indian Rupee being a case in point- and when his star-persona is used effectively, hr can be pretty irresistible like he was in Mumbai Police. And man this guy has charisma and screen presence in spades. He can “out-man” most of these 6-pack/8-pack dudes from Bollywood). One thing where there is a huge gulf still is the technical side of things where Bollywood is just miles ahead (even an average Bollywood knows to construct a shot/frame properly unlike a Malayalam director. Yes there are exceptions like Rajeev Ravi, Anjali Menon, Lijo Jose, but even these guys aren’t even near the top-flight folks-say someone like Rakeysh Mehra, Kashyap, even Vikramaditya Motwane- from Bollywood in this regard ).By the way my intention isn’t to make these Malayali actors look like thespians or anything (nor do I want to put Tamil Cinema down or something), just that they are far more pleasant to look at on-screen and are far more likely to do better films than their Hindi/Tamil counterparts. And for every Fahadh/Prithvi there is a Dileep or Kunchako Boban whose films I don’t even touch with a bargepole (the trailers of their films look so dreadful that I don’t even give their films a chance unless and until I see that their fiom has got good reviews or something). Another thing I have observed through personal experience is that it is far easier to convince a North Indian to watch a contemporary Malayalam film (starring these young actors) than a Tamil/Telugu film simply because guys like Dulquer/Nivin/Prithvi/Fahadh/Nazriya/Isha Talwar are “by and large” FAR more attractive than “most” of their Tamil counterparts (and this isn’t really a ‘northern bias’ or whatever, someone like Suriya is definitely attractive, but how many Tamil actors are close to Suriya). Also most females are repelled by the incessant display of misogyny in Tamil films, thankfully atleast Malayalam is devoid of it. Infact they are creating some of the best roles for females in the mainstream space.


          • CG: BTW I had missed your comment on Drishyam. I can’t really disagree with anything here on a critical level. Perhaps since I am the only person who hasn’t been raving about the film, there must be something wrong with me 🙂 . More seriously though I think it is mainly because I had read the Higashino just a month earlier, it hampered with my enjoyment of the film (though of course as you said Lal is excellent and the film is never less than gripping and is certainly one of the best Indian films of the year). But there is one thing- the camerawork in Drishyam is just so functional (and at tines even less than that), I mean why the hell couldn’t Jeethu Joseph construct one good shot/frame…I mean the film looked a TV serial. And these things matter to the viewer (even to a layman like me) especially in those cases where the viewer knows a part of the plot beforehand (as in my case) and so the story might not be as fresh to him, there the visuals make a difference. But even otherwise this is one of the reasons why I can watch (though of course cultural proximity makes a difference) a pedestrian Bollywood film far more easily than a pedestrian Tamil film. And I am not really keeping a high bar- agreed it is far more hardboiled than Drishyam, but just compare the camerawork of Mumbai Police to Drishyam. There is a world of difference. I mean I just don’t understand why couldn’t Jeethu Joseph get someone like Sameer Thahir to shoot Drishyam. Atleast Tamil cinema has these new-wave guys who are excellent in this respect (I am not just talking about Mysskin here who is at a different level; but someone like Sargunam, who is actually a good example here considering his films are rural-based like Drishyam, where every frame of his- both in Kalavani and Vaagai Sooda Vaa- literally ‘speaks’! But Priyadarshan is another good example- I was actually thinking of Kanchivaram which I thought was stunningly shot, but the best example here is something like Billu, where because the film is well shot unlike Drishyam, the village comes alive). I mean Jeethu Joseph can write an engrossing mystery, can etch interesting characters, is even good at casting actors so why can’t he get a good DOP (and in a lot of these Malayalam, I see these weird way of taking shots from odd angles- it is just very intrusive. Of course this is there in even Tamil and Telugu films). Perhaps Jeethu and the likes do one thing- they should write the script and allow someone like Sameer Thahir (Rajeev Ravi is on a different level altogether, but even Thahir is good as well) to direct!

            BTW I am thankful that I managed to see “Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha”- yes, the print was from perfect (to put it charitably. Some gentleman had recorded the film from Asianet and uploaded it on the Net alingwith subs), but beggars can’t be choosers. I want to hear what you think of the film, but let’s just say that I was simply blown away by the film. One of the very best Indian films I have seen. And to my mind it is a far, far more potent as a ‘tragedy’ than something like Devdas (I am not saying that it is a tragedy ‘like’ Devdas. But that it can be read as a ‘tragedy’ as well, albeit more in the Greek/Roman sense of the term)- the reason being unlike Devdas which is hardly a tragedy more like a chronicling or cataloguing of one bad incident after incifent happening in the life of the very unsympathetic protagonist who pretty much deserves the fate which has befallen on him simply because he doesn’t make a single effort to challenge his fate, Veergatha’s Chandu, inspite of being a rather pro-active guy, is simply tossed around by fate. And I doubt if there us any other Indian actor who has looked more majestic than Mammootty (here as well as in Pazhassi Raja). I mean I worship Bachchan, but perhaps even he might not look as regal as Mammookka. One of the things which caught my eye was the very explicit sexually-aggressive tinge to Madhavi’s character and persona(you would very rarely find this in an old Hindi film)- I really thought Madhavi nailed the role (I have always found the actress bland in the few Hindi films she has done- Agneepath, Agnikaal- but here she us dowright excellent as a manipulative bi#ch). The supporting cast is excellent throughout though I found Suresh Gopi a little off-putting. I can’t place my finger on it, but there was something iffensive about him (perhaps it was intended to be like that). I kept wishing that Mammootty would pike him sooner than later (if I will have to be really nitpicky his character was the only thing which didn’t work for me). And just compare the technical accomplishments of this film to the modern Malayalam movies- leave alone anything else, the Kalaripayattu scenes alone must have been worth the price of the ticket. But yes, I am very glad that I saw this even in this sort of less than appropriate version. I hope they release a proper BluRay (or atleast a DVD) of this with subs. I also have a print of Thinyavarthanam, but sadly it seems like only 50-60% of the dialogues have been subtitled (surprisingly there are both English and Persian subs here. Perhaps it is to cater to the rich Malayali population in the Gulf). Anyway I still want to give it a go especially for Mammootty. Would like to know your thoughts on this as well.

            Also CG, I really want to hear from you on Shaji Karun’s “Swapaanam”. I have the film with me, but haven’t yet seen it. I have only seen one other Shaji film- Kutty Srank- which I admired more than I actually liked, there was something distancing about the film and even in Mammootty’s performance. And the film is ‘enigmatic’, but also far too mystical. In any case I think it is a film I wound want to revisit, if nothing else atleast for some stunning visuals. Also a word on Kamalini Mukherjee- I have been a fan of her the moment I first saw her in Sekhar Kammula’s excellent Telugu film “Anand” and the equally good follow-up to it “Godavari”, but her pairing with Mammootty is a masterstroke. I have always noticed a certain ‘grace’ (which is unlike a masculine movement, not intending there us anything effeminate about him..just that he can, even in the mist macho of roles like in Pazhassi or OVV, can implicitly arouse the ‘ardha-nari’ in himself)Mammooty’s moments which are at ample evidence even in Oru Vadakkan, and here especially in the dance number on the boat with Kamalini where she offsets the more edgy persona of Mammooty with a very soft Bengali one of hers. That’s a pairing I would like to see more.

            Oh, I also want to read English trans. of Vasudevan Nair’s work- I do have one of the englush translation of Randhamoozham (titled Bhimsen).

            BTW apart from Munnariyippu (I hope it comes out on DVD fast), the only other worthwhile Mammooty release seems to be Ranjith Sankar’s Varsham (which releases in Oct.). I haven’t seen any of the director’s films, but have heard good things about Passenger and Molly Aunty Rocks. Your views on these films?!

            Also one of the films I have avoided watching is the Jeyamohan scripted Fahadh and Murali Gopi starrer “1 by Two” (I did enjoy the director’s earlier Ee Adutha Kalathu mainly because of the Trivandrum shots, but especially “Left Right Left”). This arrived with huge expectatiobs, but got absolutely terrible reviews so I have not yet had the courage to see it. But if I get even one (or a half) voye of confidence that this film is actually watchable enough, I will see it (actually I still would have seen it purely for Fahadh, but they are saying it’s is worst performance in years).


          • “Mammooty’s moments which are at ample evidence “-

            I meant Mammootty’s “movements” i.e. his body-movements


          • Saurabh, hard to disagree with anything you’ve said here. For my part, I’m just glad that there’s a new interesting crop of young actors and directors who are making movies worth watching and discussing. This is such a far cry from the situation a few years ago that I’m quite elated. Perhaps as these folks mature over a bit over the next few years we’ll see some more envelope pushing thematically and visually, but as long as the mainstream cinema remains rooted and interesting I’m in.
            Speaking of Prithvi, I agree that he’s been under utilized recently- he certainly has lost his shine with the emergence of Prithvi and Nivin, but he’s still capabile of pulling out interesting stuff. On the actress side, what I find encouraging is that most of them are local heroines who understand the language and can emote (other than Isha Talwar of course). One of the most painful things about mainstream Tamil cinema is watching imports ham aggressively with completely off lip-syncs.
            DIleep and Kunchacko Boban movies are best left on the shelf- nothing other than over the top crass comedy.


          • Saurabh, on Vadakkan Veeragatha, while this is still a tremendous film on its own terms, the key fact here is that MT took an existing myth and turned it on its head. Chadiyan Chanthu (Traitor Chanthu) was the villain of the ballads and he became the hero in this retelling- a tremendous achievement all around. The other MT/Hariharan movies from this time Panchagni and Amrutham Gamaya are also well worth a watch if you can find them subtitled as is Vaishali. Thaniyavarthanam is also a brilliant movie- one of the first Lohithadas/Sibi Malayil movies that was a forerunner of many other brilliant outings.


          • I recently revisited His Highness Abdullah and though some parts of the movie look dated I could sit through the whole movie and the music remains as endearing as ever…


    • Interesting: Rathnam certainly gave the father a charismatic role, and I think Dulquer’s is the kind of physicality Mani would do well with…


  11. This is actually getting bizarre-

    Nivin Pauly with Dulquer in Maniratnam movie

    IndiaGlitz [Tuesday, August 26, 2014]

    The latest reports concerning Mani Ratnam’s upcoming venture is that, it will feature Nivin Pauly in the lead. The report is that Dulquer’s role in the movie is an extended cameo. The interesting thing is that, the proposed movie is none other than the remake of Maniratnam’s own cult movie, ‘Mouna Ragam’.

    Dulquer’s role has been confirmed by sources close to him. If the other report is true, then Nivin will play the lead done by Mohan in the original version, with more screen time. Dulquer will do the role of Karthik and Bollywood heroine, Alia Bhatt will reprise Revathy’s role.


  12. Not sure where to put this up, but here is as good a place as any. Apparently the Mumbai International Film Festival is in need of money if it is to happen this year. I read this on facebook, an appeal from Aamir Khan. He has done his bit and hopes people will follow the link he has provided and do the needful.

    Hey guys, the Mumbai Film Festival ‘MIFF’ needs our help. I’m donating 11 lakhs. It would be really great if all of you came forward and donated as much as you can to make it happen! Thanks. Love. a


  13. It would be a shame if the Mumbai international film festival did not happen this year, due to the rs 5 crores needed. That is what the link article mentions. I have watched some really good international cinema through two editions of the Chennai International Film Festival and and will be happy to attend a third round, later this year. Watched some genuinely heart-warming films from Hungary, Turkey, Japan , Palestine, Norway and the like. Spoke to a couple of directors too, at the Q&A sessions after some shows. The individual tickets were priced at rs 500 ( for the whole festival, of course). Apparently, Mumbai charges rs 1000/-. Still, pretty good value.I hope the Mumbai fest happens.


  14. Apparently the Mumbai film fest will happen after all. Looks like they have managed to collect enough.

    I heard Kamal Hasan last December at the Chennai fest. He was so witty, wise, knowledgeable and down to earth. He spoke from stage to director Balu Mahendra in the audience, acknowledged his great contribution to his own cinematic growth. Mahendra died a couple of months after this event.

    I once found myself seated at a table next to the Mani Ratnam and Suhasini; the latter is doing a good job of Chennai fim fest.

    Ok, enough from me.Sorry for butting in !


  15. P C Sreeram on Ratnam’s film-

    Last day of shoot fr shanitabh to night, Will be starting mani film from October 6. I am walking the path with the force which guides me


    • good to know that the film is finally in motion though still not sure what the final cast is, whether it’s bilingual or not and so on.


      • Dulquer is almost certain as the male lead…I think. And Nithya Menen is rumouredly circling the role of the female lead. Incidentally she made a very good pairing with Dulquer in the excellent Ustad Hotel and I thought she really lived that part.


    • I can’t understand how a role which was earlier written for Ram Charan Teja has gone to Dulquer- both these actors have very different personalities to begin with. Though otherwise it’s a wise decision (I far prefer Dulquer to Ram Charan though I am no fan of the former either. I wish Ratnam would have gone for Fahadh here) though perhaps not commercially. Dulquer is popular, but I doubt he can open a film like Ram Charan especially in Tamil Nadu

      “Now, Tollywood actor Ramcharan, who was earlier in the running for the role, reveals the reasons behind his retreat from the project and confirms that Dulquer is playing the lead role.

      “With Mani Ratnam, we both decided it wasn’t an ideal script for me. He’s now making the film with Mammootty’s son. Dulquer. Once you see the film, you’ll know why it wouldn’t have suited me. I will definitely work with him in a bi-lingual, once both our commitments are over,” says Ramcharan to a daily. He also confirms that he is finalizing Gautham Menon’s film, a Tamil-Telugu bi-lingual which will go on floors next year if all goes well.


      • I finally saw bangalore days and I fully agree with Saurabh that it is a better movie than ZNMD in the sense that the characters are more relatable and even their problems are more genuine. All the lead characters have done very well. Fahaad Faisal I thought had a one dimensional role but he did it very well. Nazriya was very good and Niven Pauly was hilarious most of the times. But in my opinion dulquer was really good in it. He nailed that part and showed the right amount on vulnerability and angst that was needed for the role. He has a very pleasant personality and a wonderful voice and if he plays his card right he can make it very big not only in Malayalam but also in Bollywood as he speaks Hindi very fluently. Additionally I also saw north 24 Katham. The movie I thought was good but laborious in parts. Fahaad Faisal was in excellent form here and nedumudi venu was superb too. But I thought the transformation of the hero to a normal person was not shown properly and seemed to happen too abruptly for me. And the whole premgi ameren angle could have been avoided. Overall a nice watch though.


  16. Prakash Raj has confirmed on twitter that he is doing Rathnam’s film-

    “Super super charged up to be a part of mani rathnam s new film. Loved the script n the role he narrated to me. Life is richer. Cheers !!!!!”


  17. Prakash Raj confirms the cast in his tweet-

    “Dulquer n nithya Menon wow!! love working with these young breed of actors. With manirathnam n PC calling the shots life is richer!! Cheers”


    “The suspense surrounding the leading lady in Mani Ratnam’s next film is officially over. It is Nithya Menen. The curly haired actress who recently completed shooting for Rudhramadevi, decided to end the speculation, albeit a little belatedly, saying, “I had signed this film almost two months ago and since neither Mani Ratnam nor I talk much, there was speculation that several other actors were being considered for the film.”

    The actress says that it’s an “amazing love story” and that it might be wrapped up by December this year.Ask her if she has been dreaming of working with Mani Ratnam for a while now, and Nithya replies, “I’ve never really planned my career as such and this film happened out of the blue.Of course, I’m really happy that I got a chance to work with a visionary like him. It’s just been about four days since I started shooting for the film and what I’ve noticed about Mani Ratnam is that he makes all the actors feel very comfortable on the sets.Naturally, everyone strives to do their best under his aegis and I guess that’s what shows on screen in all his films.”

    Nithya is paired opposite Mammootty’s son, Dulquer Salmaan with whom she had earlier acted in Ustad Hotel. The film’s crew also includes AR Rahman and cinematographer PC Sreeram and incidentally, this is the second time that Nithya is working with PC Sreeram after Ishq. “I’m really fond of PC Sreeram and we got along quite well on the sets of Ishq. I think he makes me look good on screen and it’s a pleasure to work with him again.”

    And it’s going to be a Tamil-Malayalam bilingual-

    “Mani Ratnam, one of the better known Indian directors from Tamil Nadu, has just started shooting his bilingual film in Tamil and Malayalam. The movie will come after an 18-month break, and in what is a typical Ratnam style, the whole project was kept under wraps till the other day.

    The film, to be set in Mumbai and Chennai, is yet to be titled”


  18. Mani Ratnam co-scripts a biopic with Rensil D’Silva

    “Close on the heels of filmmaker Mani Ratnam finally starting work on a new film came the buzz that filmmaker Rensil D’Silva was making a biopic on Mani Ratnam. Rensil, sources said, has even finished scripting the flick, and was looking for someone to play Mani.

    But looks like there’s no truth whatsoever to this rumour. For, when we got in touch with Rensil, he clarified that he is not making a biopic on Mani Ratnam and was misquoted.

    But that is not to say Mani is not at all associated with the film Rensil is working on — he’s co-scripted the movie. “It’s a film Mani and I have written together. We’d started work on it in 2007, and at that time, Mani had wanted me to direct it. So, I had just said that Mani and I had this script which I wanted to direct next. It’s a biopic, about a businessman’s travels and his rags-to-riches story, a man who started his own company and made it big,” he clarifies, adding, “And now, I am making this film with Karan Johar. But still, even though the movie is not on Mani, it’s got his magical touch in dialogues and visualization of the story.”

    Mani, meanwhile, is busy filming his new film, an urban love story set in Chennai and Mumbai, starring Dulquer Salmaan and Nithya Menen.”


  19. Okay Kanmani: Mani Ratnam’s quickest project?

    Filmmaker Mani Ratnam seemed to have shot upcoming Tamil romantic-drama “Okay Kanmani” at such a breakneck speed that it’s almost complete. It is touted to be his quickest project.

    The film’s shooting started in October.

    The film’s cinematographer P.C. Sreeram recently tweeted: “Travelling time to reach our next destination. Mani gets the best of performance — it was mesmerizing. 99.9 % finito (sic)”.

    The team is currently shooting in Mumbai.

    “Last week the team shot some campus sequences at IIM Ahmedabad and CEPT University. Now, they’ve returned to Mumbai to complete rest of the portion,” a source from the film’s unit told IANS.

    The film features Dulquer Salmaan and Nithya Menon in the lead roles.

    Nithya plays an architect student, while renowned Indian architect B.V. Doshi plays her professor in the film.


    • think this is really a project for box office credibility.. would be surprised to find much more here.. I certainly expect a less interesting film than Kadal.


  20. Maniratnam finishes ‘Okay Kanmani’-

    Earlier this day, we reported that, ‘Okay Kanmani’ is almost completed and now we get to hear that the movie is actually completed. The dubbing process has been started and the post production works are expected to complete pretty quickly.

    Sources say that the audio will be out for Valentines day and the movie to hit the screens for Summer, 2015. ‘Okay Kanmani’ stars Dulquer Salman and Nithya Menon in the lead roles and the movie will be releasing simultaneously in Tamil and Malayalam.


  21. Okay Kanmani audio launch soon

    Actor Dulquer Salmaan, who was in Chennai recently, for an award function revealed that the audio launch of his upcoming film, Okay Kanmani will happen next month. The film directed by Mani Ratnam has Dulquer, Nithya Menon and Prakash playing pivotal roles. The actor revealed that the film has come out well and it will be romantic entertainer. Music for the film is by AR Rahman and cinematography is by PC Sreeram.


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