Didn’t foresee my long journey as a filmmaker: Mani Ratnam

Chennai: National Award winning filmmaker Mani Ratnam, who has been successfully making films for over three decades, says he couldn’t predict his journey in the industry as he had not planned it in the first place. But he says of surviving is to keep up with the times.

 Having made his directorial debut with 1983 Kannada film “Pallavi Anu Pallavi”, Ratnam is one of the finest filmmakers of the country with projects such as “Mouna Ragam”, “Roja”, “Dil Se” and “Nayagan” to his credit.

“You don’t start a journey by asking yourself will I be able to last. When I started making films, I didn’t foresee my own journey as a filmmaker. Even with Rahman (A.R Rahman), I’m surprised 25 years have gone by so quickly, but we never told each other we will continue working,” Ratnam told IANS in an interview.

Tamil romantic drama “Kaatru Veliyidai”, the latest offering from the Ratnam and Rahman combo, marks the 25th year of their collaboration.

“Rahman and I are always happy to work together. We didn’t plan we are going to continue working for 25 years. Even in a marriage, you don’t decide with your spouse that you’re going to be together for so many years. You just get on with life,” he said.

The 61-year-old has successfully adapted to changing times, sensibilities and evolving audiences. He says there is no secret to it.

“Everybody has to adapt to change, it applies to every profession. Take Clint Eastwood for instance. He is still making films and people relate to his stories. He is largely successful. If you don’t change, you can’t survive,” Ratnam added.

Asked how he motivates himself in the process of filmmaking, he said, “I love cinema so much that I don’t need to be pushed to do it.”

“Every film is a new journey. I still don’t know how to shoot a scene. It’s an exercise to get the perfect scene, capture it in the perfect frame and then put it together on the edit table with background score. It’s a fascinating process and it inspires me every single time,” he said.

Ratnam also said every good film he comes across, in a way, motivates him to continue giving his best.

Karthi and Aditi Rao Hydari starrer “Kaatru Veliyidai” releases in cinemas on Friday.

Though made on a large canvas spanning many cities and different timelines, Ratnam said it was as tough as any of his project.

“Every project is tough, irrespective of its size. In a smaller film, there are more intricacies. If I were to shoot a scene with just two people in a room, it will take as much effort as shooting outdoor. Agreed, if I were to shoot a battle scene, I might require more help in terms of logistics but that doesn’t change the effort that goes into making a film,a he explained.

Talking about “Kaatru Veliyidai”, he said it is a period film which is an “intense relationship drama”.

Ratnam’s decision to cast Karthi as his hero raised quite a few eyebrows. He said sometimes it’s nice to cast against the grain.

“If an actor has not done something in a particular genre, I’ll get something fresh out of him. Had Karthi done five back-to-back romantic films, I know for a fact I wouldn’t get anything new from him,” he said, and added that sometimes he also goes by his instinct.

“If a person is physically, emotionally and intellectually right for a character, I go with him or her. We should be able to build something together,” he said.