MANI RATNAM SHOULD STOP MAKING MULTILINGUAL
I heard that Mani Ratnam decided to sign
on Priyanka Chopra for Ponniyin Selvan,
it was like eating Idli’s with tomato
ketchup. Dreadful combination; distasteful
to the palette.
Believe me, am not a Tamil Zealot. I don't
take language to the bloodlines or speak
ardently about Nama Tamizh Mannu. Tamil
is a romantic, poetic and patriotic language.
So is Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Arabic,
and Hebrew. Every region and every language
has a unique beauty that is best portrayed
in its true form without polluting it.
India is a country with million languages and the
myriad differences don't just stop there. If you intend
to make a movie that would appeal to the entire Indian
audience, then pick a story that is universal, not
a cast that is universal. Audiences have the intelligence
to understand the subject no matter how regional and
applaud performances even if they can never associate
Titanic did not have Jothika romancing De Caprio,
yet it captured the hearts and minds of people worldwide.
We loved Erin Brokovich, every woman is fighting and
is always challenged - that is a universal story.
Sholay and Aradhana are movies which Tamil audiences
thronged the theaters for. Nayagan and Bombay were
lauded by Indians worldwide. Kannathil Muthamittal
was part of Mothers’ Day International Film
Week in North America. Roja was simply dubbed in Hindi
and it ran to packed houses. The plot has to be universal;
not the star cast.
Remember how misplaced Esha Deol was in Ayutha Ezhuthu.
That being said Madhu Bala lived the role of Roja.
I’m not sending mixed signals. Bring on Bollywood
stars to star in Tamil movies, if the character demands
it or if they can transform into the role. Tapasee
in Aadukalam was the ideal choice; Simran & Khushboo
ruled the roost in Kollywood. Sridevi blended with
Tamil, Telugu and Hindi audiences, Endhiran with Aishwarya
Rai was a blockbuster. We welcome talent from everywhere
with open hearts, open arms and open doors.
My sincere claim is, in trying to make multilingual
movies never lose the essence. Guru could only pull
out the magic in Hindi and Raavanan did not perform
well, because it was trying to appeal to an entire
Indian audience, it did not connect well with any
Raavanan was based on Ramayana, an epic which every
India is most familiar with. Vikram, Prithviraj and
Aishwarya performed iconically and the visuals were
breathtaking. While people connected with a simple
Tamil girl running pillar to post to find her husband
in Roja, we did not sympathize with Ragini held captive
by Raavanan. We fantasized the romance between Divya
and CK in Mouna Ragam but did not feel the butterflies
for Michael Vasanth and Geetha in Ayutha Ezhuthu.
A movie transcends languages and all other barriers
when its emotions and characters connect to the audiences.
The more regional a movie gets, the more international
its appeal is. Sometimes remakes are worth the time
and effort since every tweak ensures the movie sits
well with the target audience. Sometimes, subtitling
would do the trick.
Mani Sir, am I glad that Ponniyin Selvan was dropped.
In case you try to reboot, please look at Ambasamudram
before reaching for Andheri. Stop making movies for
an entire Indian audience, instead make movies that
romance our eyes, kindle our emotions, blend into
our minds and stays forever in our hearts. We will
take it worldwide...In other words; don’t put
the cart before the horse.