Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Mani Ratnam heroine

What is it that makes every growing adolescent guy (and even his grown up father) wish that the woman-of-his-dreams is someone like the chirpy, fun-loving Geetanjali (Girija) in Idayathai Thirudathe or the bubbly and adorable Preity (Preity Zinta) in Uyire. Who would not want to have an understanding soul-mate like Chithu aka Chitra (Revathy) in Anjali or Indira (Simran) in Kannathil Muthamittal. Hey forget all this, who doesn't like the brave Roja (Madhoo) in Roja, the strong-willed Shakti (Shalini) in Alaipaayuthe or the stunning Meera (Kareena) in Yuva :-) Ok, pardon me just that last inclusion. So what is it about Mani Ratnam and the magic he weaves around his heroines ?

While jealous peers and obsessed critics fault his supposed fixation with style, they forget that at the heart of all of Mani's masterpieces is a wonderfully etched, multi-layered female protagonist. I need not look beyond Mouna Ragam, one of Mani's timeless classics and a movie I have seen 15 times fully (no exaggeration this) to prove my point. The heroine Divya (played by Revathy) is one of Mani's most interesting character sketches till date - here is a gal who is the apple of her family's eye, used to getting her way in everything, raised almost like a guy - boldness et al. But again all it takes for her to be swept off her feet is a dashing local thug (Cmon, Manohar played by Karthik is not like a glorified Robin Hood et al) and some hopeless romantic stunts. Falling for him like a tonne of bricks, Divya tries to make a proper citizen of the man but fails and loses him forever. To make matters worse, she is then forced into a marriage with a total stranger Chandrakumar (played by Mohan) and has to move to Delhi. Seeing her near-perfect world come crashing down within a few weeks, she is now forced to be someone she has never ever imagined possible. How she copes with a reality that is stranger than her worst dreams and how she rediscovers life is brilliantly depicted in true Mani style. Some scenes which stand out in my memory are

# When her husband asks her what she would like for a wedding present, Divya asks for a divorce

# When Divya leaves the wedding party at home in a huff and then repents for her hasty actions

# When Divya explains to her visiting parents how things are all fine between her husband and her

# When Divya wears the anklet and tries to grab her husband's attention

# When Divya finally sheds her ego and confesses her love for her husband

Where are these real life Divyas? Please don't tell me they are like Santa Claus :-(


Girl With Big Eyes said...

Mauna Ragam is one of my favourite movies too! Always brings out a tear.

And it has cool music also which you havent mentioned.

Venks said...

Okie now i am gonna do a Sherlock holmes...this post was Inspired by Ramanand's blog....though i havent been bloggin regularly....i read every word written.....and he had a similar blog...so its upto you to tell me if its true....its not your best blog though....

Susie said...

Have to agree with GWBE - the music is fab - 'manram vandha thendralukku...' is exceptional, ore the too much!

Venks, Ramanand writes an ode to Mani while our friend here to his muses :D - i guess no one can escape the 'mani factor' esp if TAM!

But jupie you certainly can do better - i was expecting a bit more, who am i kidding, a loooooot more abt Geethanjali (Girija in particular ;))

Jupe said...

I thought this post was about Mani heroines but obviously i failed to communicate that properly.

As Susie says, MANI is in the blood of all Tams...Neway i think ramananand only mentioned abt why he likes/dislikes certain Mani movies.. did he write one on heroines also :-( I didnt know i had stds to live upto.. Will try to achieve those Himalayan heights :-p

MR has some awesome music save that lousy hit Nilaave Vaa..yuckkk song it is.. But Mandram Vandha Thendral more than compensates and has to rank amongst SPBs best anytime..I even dig that Pani Vizhum - isnt that ur fave Susie ;-)

btw, in case u might be interested in these links

Shameless self-propaganda rules !!