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Mani Ratnam: Young people view life very differently today

April 17, 2015 16:23 IST

'A R Rahman amazes me every time with not just his music, but the way he pushes himself to come up with a soundscape that is so unique to each film.'

'Hopefully my next film will be in Hindi.'

'I LOVED Queen. I thought Kangna was super in it.'

Mani Ratnam talks films with Subhash K Jha.

Image: Dulquer Salman and Nithya Menon in O Kadhal Kanmani.

Mani Ratnam has delivered many cinematic gems in both Tamil and Hindi.

The mixed response to his last two films -- Kadal in Tamil and Raavan in Hindi -- notwithstanding, a Mani Ratnam film always comes with a lot of expectations riding on it.

As his new film O Kadhal Kanmani hits screens April 17, the director talks about the youth-centric, urban, themes it explores, and explain why his last two films failed to click with the audience.

O Kadhal Kanmani is an urban love story about a commitment-phobic couple. How did the idea come about?

The changing urban scenario around us is fascinating.

Young men and women view relationships and life goals very differently today as compared to a decade ago.

Even in a conservative society like Chennai, youngsters don't feel bound by conventions anymore.

But how deeply has this change permeated our society? Is it just on a superficial level? That is the question the film tries to address.

You cast Dulquer Salmaan and Nithya Menon as leads. How did they come into the picture?

You cast people who will add gravitas to their characters.

Both Dulquer and Nithya have made their characters Adi and Tara come alive on screen. When your principal artists deliver convincing performances, the film's quality is elevated.

There were reports of you working with Sonam Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. We'd earlier heard of a project with Ranbir Kapoor.

That was a completely different project. Things did not fall in place.

You've worked with Dulquer's father, the formidable Mammootty. Do you see any similarity between the father and son>?

They are very different. Dulquer has no traces of his father's style.

Image: A R Rahman and Mani Ratnam.

Your collaboration with A R Rahman has been legendary. What was the experience of working with him again like?

Working with AR is always special.

He amazes me every time with not just his music, but the way he pushes himself to come up with a soundscape that is so unique to each film.

With this film, he has brought in this unique blend of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and traditional Carnatic.

Indian cinema is undergoing a lot of reinvention. How do you view the shifts in trends and tastes in recent times?

Some of them are extremely good, very positive and innovative, with refreshing ideas and vision.

And the others are simply rehashes, some even regressive.

Hopefully the good ideas will overshadow the regressive ones.

Your last couple of films did not quite strike a chord with audiences like your previous works. What do you think is the reason?

I think it is me.

My narration went wrong. I failed to communicate lucidly, and failed to convey my story in an interesting and simple fashion.

Are you conscious of the fact that expectations are huge from your latest film?

We put in a lot of hard work on a new film because we're conscious of our audiences' expectations.

I've done my best to make this one as well as I can. Now it is time to release it in the outer world.

It's been quite a while since you directed a Hindi film (the last one being Raavan which released in 2010)?

There were a two projects for which I didn't find the right cast, so I thought I would wait things fall in place.

When can we hope to see your next Hindi film?

Hopefully my next film will be in Hindi.

Any Hindi film that you liked?

I LOVED Queen. I thought Kangna (Ranaut) was super in it.

Subhash K Jha