7 Films That Make Mani Ratnam A Great Director

Team FC

Ponniyin Selvan: I (2022)

Mani Ratnam adapted one of the greatest novels in Tamil literature and built an epic world of Chozhas, Pandyas and Pallavas. Starring Vikram, Kaarthi and marking Aishwarya Rai's comeback to Tamil, the story revolves around conspiracies that emerge against the reigning king. Who will be the successor?

Dil Se (1998)

Starring the face of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, alongside Manisha Koirala, Dil Se portrays Amar's unrequited love for a mysterious lady, hinging on themes of terrorism and sacrifices. It is a symbolism of the various stages of love. Mani Ratnam is at his best, producing a piece of surreal realism.

Thalapathi (1991)

Pairing Tamil superstar Rajinikanth and the iconic Malayalam actor Mammootty, this story revolves around the slum-raised Surya fighting for the rights of the poor. His life changes when he befriends Deva and becomes commander. Mani Ratnam drew heavy inspiration from the Mahabharata to paint their friendship.

Nayakan (1987)

Regarded as Mani Ratnam's best movie, and making the top 100 of Time Magazine's "All Time Best Movies", this Kamal Haasan and Saranya Ponvannan-starrer tells the story of a common man's struggle against a corrupt police force. But when he gains power and influence, what will be the outcome?

Roja (1992)

Starring Arvind Swamy and Madhoo, Roja is the first part of a trilogy consisting of Bombay (1995) and Dil Se (1998) which explore human connection in the backdrop of Indian politics. A woman moves with a city man to Kashmir where they live happily, until the man is kidnapped by militants. A.R. Rahman debuted as a film composer with this movie.

Mouna Ragam (1986)

Establishing Mani Ratnam's signature style of songs that take the story forward, this film is about a young woman who gets remarried to another man but isn't over the death of her first husband. Starring Revathi and Mohan Rao, Mouna Ragam sees both of them trying to fit each other into their lives the best they can.

O Kadhal Kanmani (2015)

This modern romance flick is a beloved film that most will include in their top 10 Mani Ratnam films. Starring the versatile Dulquer Salman with Nithya Menon, a proven duo, this film is about the topsy-turvy emotions of a couple and the contrast between generations. This film was adapted by Bollywood as OK Jaanu (2017).

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