Mani, Rahman and Kamal

Mani, Rahman and Kamal

By Karthik Ramakrishnan isn't responsible for the views expressed by the visitor in this column. The visitor claims that this column is his/her own. If the column infringes any copyrights that you hold, please email us at

Daring to compare Mani Ratnam, A. R. Rahman and Kamal Haasan would be tantamount to nimbly walking on a tightrope, blindfolded and with both legs tied to each other.


What I am going to do here is not to compare the three stalwarts of cinema. No. Rather, I am going to draw parallels between the three based on how we receive most of their creative work.


Rahman’s music is an acquired taste. You have to listen to the tunes, get immersed in the many notes that encompass those tunes, get in sync with the dancing decibels, many, many times before you realize that you are hooked to Rahman’s latest concoction.


Kamal’s films are more of a collection of serendipitous moments that serve up surprise after surprise, the deeper you go digging. Excavation of his films would help in bonding with what his films are about: the flavour, the mood and the setting. Many a time, his films offer too much to take at the first go. So you watch them again until the subtler and deeper facets of the films dawn on you. Repeated watching would help you in getting into the same fold as the movie’s intended notions.


Trendsetter, Benchmark, Leading light Mani Ratnam is different albeit with a similar creative mind. All along his career, he has been a brave, experimental filmmaker and has furnished films that traverse different, unique trajectories in his own trademark style. Many of his films do not leap to the casual, nonchalant eye as a thing of greatness or an entity of beauty. You have to be keen enough to dive into the ocean that he offers with each of his films. His films are not some casual affair that you can have as you please; it is a sincere, passionate relationship that expects your utter and complete commitment.


There is a silver lining, a thin but solid line of comparison that binds these men together. All their creative works need a lot of work before they can be liked. Essentially, the manner in which you proceed with the work of each of these men could very well sketch along this path: watching -> rewatching (in some cases, many a time) -> understanding -> accepting -> liking.

Karthik Ramakrishnan>

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