Bitty Ruminations 94 – Mani Ratnam, ARR and the ‘mainstream’

by bollywoodbubbles
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This is the take off of Madan’s comment in MR-ARR’s interview thread. He told me about my podcast and said things like: .

Now I would like to define what I mean by the word “mainstream”. For one thing, there are no “non-mainstream” films in Tamil, and even those films (Nasir, pebbles, and others that fall under the recently blossomed festival-oriented ‘art cinema’ in Tamil were largely absent from the ‘mainstream’. So if Mani Ratnam is a mainstream director, it’s because he can’t be a niche. He has to work “inside the mainstream,” in a format that a general audience can follow.

So what is this format?

  1. have a star
  2. have a song
  3. (almost) happy ending
  4. etc

But what makes Mani Ratnam special in the same way that Thiagarajan Kumararaja (another filmmaker I adore for sensibility) is special? super deluxeall his films are in some way “avant-garde” — and I’m not just talking about Post —ilvar In stages, he transformed into a different kind of filmmaker.

Take a look at a movie from the 1980s.

if you want to take Mouna Ragam True “mainstream” is one in which the heroine, traumatized by her dead ex-boyfriend, refuses to marry, but is happily raised by the love of a good man.

But this is not a movie at all. The heroine actively opposes marrying against her own will (Non-mainstream choice) until she had to for her father who had a heart attack (Stock Mainstream Melodramatic Apparatus), and her ego does not make the marriage successful (very unorthodox choice) until she sees the goodness and ruthlessness of a man (mainstream happy ending).

The same can be said for many of these early films.In other words, as Rajinikanth loser Falling in love, losing your lover to an enemy, and later marrying a “non-virgin”? In the story of a girl suffering from a terminal illness, there is no individual protagonist, and the “family unit” is the collective protagonist? (Even in the “family unit” Vis films, the Vis character was the centerpiece, the protagonist, so to speak.)

I believe that probably no other Tamil filmmaker from the 90s onwards (or at least before that there were K Balachander, Mahendran, etc.) has made such a “non-mainstream” choice within the mainstream rapping. That’s what I mean when I say A film that reaches a wide audience.

“Mainstream” filmmakers don’t even touch on subjects like: ilvar again Kadar again Carl Veriday again dilce. or pony in selvanWho would risk time and energy to a genre that has been dead for about 40 years?Aganaga“? (Is this the first Anhadi tamil songs since msv-kannadasanVasanta Kara Nadigarile‘?

And I think many of these were reinforced by the ARR sensibility. Mani Ratnam had already broken the formula, but when he teamed up with a like-minded music director, they fulfilled each other’s thirst for being “the fringe of the mainstream.” ‘Tierra Ullah‘ from OK Kanmani is a great example — staccato, from the shrill word “Calanum” (if you can call it that) in a flowing, carnatic-sounding part.

Now, roughly compare this to similar breakup situation songs Oh papa rari,My Favorites Geetanjali soundtrack. The song is gorgeous, exquisitely sung and arranged, but it doesn’t go where you don’t expect it to. This is not a “fault” nor is it a statement that the Rajah could not have done anything else. It just refutes the idea that the combination of Mani Ratnam and ARR, or Mani Ratnam and Ilaiyaraaja, was somehow ‘constrained’ by the director’s ‘mainstream’ sensibilities.

Now to Ilaiyaraaja’s question, wasn’t he ‘the fringe of the mainstream’? Yes, no. His musical genius needs no further explanation. But I think his bigger genius is how he decided to bring his music into the mainstream. Yes, there are exceptions like:Theendral vandhu theendum pothu…‘ again ‘Ila neje vaawith long melodic lines – but he mostly kept his songs short, metric, easy to hum, and did major non-mainstream stuff (his orchestrations/arrangements) in the background. Therefore, as a “package” that pierces the hearts of listeners from every corner of the state,Oh papa rari‘is a better song, but as a personal expression’Tierra Ullah‘ Are better. (All IMO, of course.)

And it is with ARR that Mani Ratnam has gone the furthest in his own mode of ‘personal expression’, which is also a function of the times. (That’s why many viewers don’t like the new Mani Ratnam very much and keep asking him to make movies like Mouna Ragam again. )

Another reason is that the raja’s maximum stage (“IMO” is unnecessary here, as everyone has their own time block as the “maximum” stage) came forward. Mouna RagamAgain, this is not to say he didn’t make great songs afterward. Maranda’s poop (carnatic, progressive rock) or Maanada Kodi (Staccato Sanshin Pallaviit follows a long melody line Calanum) did not appear as frequently as during its golden age.Luckily we got poo marayebefore Raja decided to play a full symphony (no one knows what happened with his own symphony!).

To me, Mani Ratnam and Rahman sensibilities are similar to MSV and RDB sensibilities. At their best work, they take you in completely bizarre directions.

It ends with Vikram’s introductory scene in . pony in selvan – Part 1Any “mainstream” director would have explained why they wouldn’t behead King Rashtrakta. Instead, we get a change in Vikram’s facial expression (from triumphant and cocky to confused in a matter of seconds) and a line about him not wanting to kill another defenseless person. (Again, the genre itself is dead and the usual “mainstream” directors safety as possible. )

Even Mani Ratnam in the 80’s/early 90’s could have had the Vikram/Aishwarya Rai part as a brief prologue, so when you get to this moment, you’ll “know things chronologically”. But no. The description for that line is displayed in two parts before the interval.And believe me, few people know the novel or Either that was enough to make these connections, or I was anticipating this flashback at this point.

That’s what “mainstream” means for that podcast. It’s not the realm of art film, but it’s not entirely mainstream either. What I love about this interview is when Mani Ratnam says, “I have fallen many times.” Still, he stays out of his comfort zone whenever possible.

CCVs It didn’t work for me at all, but there’s a nondescript “highlight reel” kind of approach there too, and I find it works for today’s ADD audience who want to keep things moving. increase. And they made the movie a big hit. I think this is why Mani Ratnam and his ARR have been on top for so long despite “falling off multiple times”. They, like Kamal, have garnered enough of a loyal viewer base who want to see what they do next.

PS: I didn’t say all that I wanted to say, but I hope reading the comments will inspire me to write more on this subject. And Madan, thank you for making me think about this.

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