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A delight for movie buffs

Srivatsan Nadhadur | Updated on January 28, 2013 Published on January 28, 2013

Conversation with Mani Ratnam. Author: Baradwaj Rangan. Foreword by A.R. Rahman.

Biographies work when a writer takes the pain to look at a person beyond his stature. Baradwaj Rangan, the author of Conversations with Mani Ratnam makes an honest attempt in understanding the mindset of an artist through his work. The point of understanding the purpose, research behind the frames, colours, characters and plots, is a delight in equal measure for an aspiring maker as well as a film freak.

Beginning with all the apprehensions that the author had before meeting the filmmaking giant and digging deep into his purpose for writing such a book, you get an insiders view of his intentions and feel a part of his journey. With an eye opening foreword by A.R. Rahman, the book has a lively start. As a full fledged discussion on the films begin, with the author’s childlike excitement and Ratnam’s straightforward, no-nonsense replies, the journey gets the perfect impetus. From Pallavi Anu Pallavi to Raavan, the two openly argue and discuss hard about the execution of every film. The opening credits, songs, emotions, background score, narrative styles, edits, locations and many such intricate details of a film are discussed with great precision. The director describes his working relationships with people and his desire to follow his heart than merely succumbing to formulaic trends. Baradwaj Rangan does everything to find answers to his well-articulated questions. Mani Ratnam’s responses meanwhile are hardly diplomatic. When the author humorously conveys the potential of the filmmaker to be an equally able lawyer, you realise that the former is actually true.

One obvious letdown in the work, however, is that it isn’t supplemented with enough material beyond the text. A better number of photographs of the on-location sequences or the addition of soundtracks could have helped it attain cult status in this genre. In spite of the limitations, this is a book that elaborates on the joy of learning. Forget yourself and flip through the pages of the book, to understand the real meaning of passion and the bliss of translating your imagination into reality.

(Srivatsan is a final year B.Tech student of mechanical engineering at Sreenidhi College of Engineering. This article was first published on studentlive.in)

Published on January 28, 2013
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