Team Bollywoodirect wishes Mani Ratnam many happy returns of the day.

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Mani Ratnam grew up watching the films of K. Balachander, Guru Dutt and Sivaji Ganesan. He is greatly influenced by the film-making styles of Akira Kurosawa, Martin Scorsese, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Ingmar Bergman and J. Mahendran.

Unlike most of his contemporaries, Mani Ratnam did not assist anybody in film-making prior to entering the industry. He is credited with revolutionizing the Tamil film industry and is referred for bringing new dimension to the South Asian cinema. A majority of his films are characterized by a string of socio-political themes. Because of his idea of combining art and commercial elements, most of his films garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success. Nayagan, Bombay and Iruvar were inspired from real-life incidents, while Thalapathi and Raavan were based on Indian epics.

Mani Ratnam handled screenplays for a majority of his films. Lauded for his casting in each of his films, he claimed in an interview that “I am not a director who performs and shows. I discuss the role, the scene with my actors and let them bring life to it”. Right from the beginning of his career, his works were noted for their technical expertise in areas such as cinematography, art direction, editing and background score. For his debut film, he managed to handpick Balu Mahendra, Thotta Tharani, B. Lenin, and Ilaiyaraaja, leading craftsmen in their respective fields. As his career progressed, he worked with his childhood friend P. C. Sreeram and continued his collaborations with him until Geethanjali. In 1991 for his film Thalapathi, he chose Santosh Sivan and Suresh Urs — both newcomers to the Tamil film industry — to do cinematography and editing respectively. Both would later go onto become a part of his regular crew. While working on Raavan, Santosh Sivan noted “any cameraman can hone his skills just working with “ and described Mani Ratnam’s films as difficult to film. From his debut project till Thalapathi, Ilaiyaraaja was his regular composer. The duo split due to some creative differences after the film. For his next film Roja (1992), he collaborated with debutant A. R. Rahman, who has been his regular composer for all his films till date. He has also worked with Rajiv Menon and Ravi K. Chandran, while switching between Sreeram and Santosh Sivan. Since Alaipayuthey, Sreekar Prasad has been his regular film editor.

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Celebrating Cinema

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