Mani Rathnam (born 1956) is a major commercial director in Tamil. He has been associated with running reputedly transparent and well-managed film companies, including his brother G. Venkateswaran’s GV Films and his own Aalayam. His directorial career took off with Mouna Ragam (1986), but acquired national attention with Nayakan (1987), an adaptation of Coppola’s Godfather (1972). Mani Rathnam’s films are perhaps best known for the co-presence of musical sequences with Hollywood cause–effect, character-centred narration. While earlier work deploys musical scenes in a looser format, melodrama provides the unifying force in the nationalist films of the 1990s: Roja (1992) and Bombay (1995). The former signalled a returned viability of the dubbed ‘regional’ film in the national market. Other important work includes Iruvar (1997), avowedly about the Karunanidhi–M.G. Ramachandran relationship, which was central to the transformation of Dravidian politics.
Author: House of World Cultures
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New Perspectives from India
(19 September 03 - 16 November 03)