Kamal Haasan Article on Nayagan

Exactly 25 years ago, the groundbreaking Nayakan was released. It has since been voted one of Time magazine’s top 100 films, but all that the people working on it then wanted was ‘to be different’.

Whether it’s the story of Caesar or Gandhi or the Rotary Club, it starts off as something very small, without the respect it deserves. Nayakan was no exception. We never thought it would be selected as one of Time magazine’s 100 greatest films of all time, or that people will remember it after 25 years. We just wanted to be different.

Perhaps due to my insecurity about dropping out of school, I’ve always surrounded myself with writers and thinkers, and one such person I met was Subramaniam, whom friends called Subbu and who eventually became Mani Ratnam. He was introduced to me by Kitty (Raja Krishnamurthy). Kitty was the manager at Chola Sheraton. We used to call him “Chola” Krishnamurthy. Mani, then as now, was a quiet man, and Kitty used to explain Mani’s ideas. Slowly I started liking the silent man more— not that I liked Kitty less, but I thought this guy was deep. Only after he signed up for Nayakan did I realise that he was the son of ‘Venus’ Ratnam Iyer, with a deep-rooted connection to Tamil cinema. I knew he was GV’s (the financier G. Venkateswaran) brother, but the Venus connection never struck me and he never threw this fact at my face.

This was the time I was writing Raajapaarvai, which came out in 1980. Mani wanted to know about the nuances of screenwriting. He used to love a Joseph Hayes novel called The Long Dark Night. He said he wanted to write something like that. We kept discussing various stories. We were all fans of Francis Ford Coppola and The Godfather. We kept saying how long could Tamil cinema keep showing the underworld as people with checked shirts and a kerchief knotted around the neck and laughing like the old villain P.S. Veerappa.

Then Mani said he was doing his first film in Kannada, Pallavi Anupallavi. I was busy with Raajapaarvai, and I was also getting into Hindi films, so I couldn’t do this film. But we kept meeting and talking. After making Vikram, in 1986, I realised I should have asked Mani to direct it. It was his cup of tea. He asked me what had happened, because the story was so different from what I’d told him. I told him that this was bound to happen. I said, “The intelligence of (the writer) Sujatha and Kamal Haasan was bound to be diluted by Kodambakkam. It will happen to you too.”

A little later, the producer-director Muktha Srinivasan, with whom I’d made films like Simla Special, said he wanted to make another film with me. I suggested Mani Ratnam’s name. He was amused because the hero usually suggests the name of the heroine in the film, and here I was recommending a director.

Mani told me two stories. One was a gangster story. He said it was based in Bombay. I said that was the way to go, because the film, then, would have a national reach. Muktha Films had a reputation for being tight-fisted. When Mr. Srinivasan heard that we wanted to shoot in Bombay, he wasn’t happy. He just wanted us to make a film — any film — that would net him a profit of Rs. 5 lakh. That is how he was used to working. Films were a business. He wasn’t interested in films as art.

But we said we’d shoot only part of the film in Bombay, and he half-heartedly agreed. Then, we wanted an international look for the action scenes. Unlike Tamil films of the time, Mani had marked out a separate budget for the action, around Rs. 12 lakh. We flew down Jim Allen, the action director and cinematographer, from England. He’d worked out the stunts for films likeSholay. But Mr. Srinivasan packed him off after three days, saying he couldn’t afford him. “We can’t keep spending like this,” he told me. “I think Hindi films have spoilt you.”

But in the three days he was here, he gave Mani and P.C. Sreeram (the cinematographer) many ideas. As he spoke, they actually took down notes about how to topple a car and how to show a bullet leaving a head and how you can shift focus and make a stunt look more effective. When Jim left, I was totally down. Mani doesn’t show his emotions. But I decided to use the props I’d got for other films, like polystyrene bottles that I could bring down and break on Inspector Kelkar’s head. We had gone into such details.

There was no budget for makeup, so I spoke to my guru, Michael Westmore. I’ve trained under him, and we worked together for the first time on Oru Kaidhiyin Diary. I learnt how to apply old-age makeup myself in front of a magnifying mirror, with just an assistant standing by with a fan to dry layer after layer of wrinkled-latex on my face. There was no budget for the costumes, so Sarika moved in.

At some point, I decided that to get into the character, I need ittar (floral perfume). I think I may have been getting ahead of myself. Sarika couldn’t findittar, and I was getting angry because I was multitasking on this movie — doing makeup for myself, for others, getting props, even cutting the hair of the extras — and I was upset that she couldn’t find something as simple as ittar. Finally, she concocted something and made me believe it was ittar. I was very satisfied. I felt like the character and I knew I could perform well.

Mani had seen me play an old man in Kadal MeengalSagara Sangamam andSwathi Muthyam. He said he didn’t want me to look like that, with a wig. I said that, in that case, we’d have to shoot the film in sequence, and I’d have to pluck out my hair towards the end. Simply shaving off the hair wasn’t enough, as the shadow would show. It wouldn’t look like a real bald spot. We decided to make the character prognathic, so I brought in the dentist who’d fashioned my teeth for my role in Kalyanaraman. He made a piece to make my jaw bigger.

All of this was happening without fanfare. We could sense that we were hot on the trail of something good. We — Mani, myself, Sreeram, Thotta Tharrani (the art director whom I’d introduced in Raajapaarvai) — were all collaborating as a team. This wasn’t about showing up only as per the call sheet. As we weren’t allowed to shoot to the extent we wanted in Bombay, Tharrani built the Dharavi set in Madras. When we went to Bombay finally, we shot a few scenes in the real Dharavi — cutaways like me chasing the inspector.

The film was shaping up very well and I was very happy. I was bragging to everyone about what a good film we were making. One day, I was ready to play the scene where Velu Nayakan reacts to his son’s death. We rehearsed the scene. I told Mani I wanted some build up. I thought the junior artists should react to the death first, which would help the funeral pallor to set in. And by the time I came to the corpse, the grief would have seeped into me. I would be in gear to play the scene.

But when the time came, Mani was standing there glumly, and Sreeram was sitting with his head in his hands. I thought there was a technical glitch. I said, “What is the problem? I’m ready. Let’s go.” He showed me a small note from the producer saying that the day’s quota of film stock had been used up, and they had to wait till he sanctioned new stock. This was the producer’s way of making sure we shot responsibly, without going overboard with takes. I was livid. I called my office and asked them to bring the film stock they had in 20 minutes, and in those 20 minutes I was ready to cry. I really felt like my child was dying that day. So the producer probably helped my performance in the film.

He was also indirectly responsible for the scene where the man is garrotted in the car, which is just like The Godfather. I was helping out with the action scenes, and I had written this scenario that I later used in my Thevar Magan, where a truck, with a cargo of steel rods jutting out, reverses and rams into this car and kills him. But Mr. Srinivasan wouldn’t allow a car to be demolished; so we were forced to use the scene from The Godfather. He wasn’t a bad man. He was just from an older school. And he did help at times. I must give him his due. The scene where Velu’s future wife studies for her exams in the brothel was suggested by him.

Mani was not happy with the climax. I was not happy with it. By the time, I was tired. I wanted to get this film done. When we were in Bombay, we spoke to Varada Bhai (Varadaraja Mudaliar on whose life the film is based), and Mani had the audacity to ask him, “How do you foresee your death?” He said he would either die peacefully in a hospital (which is what happened) but left to the police, who couldn’t prove anything against him, they would bring him out of court and someone would slap him. This would cause a riot and they would then shoot him. This sparked the climax in Mani’s head.

The way Kelkar’s death was filmed (and later, the death of Velu Nayakan’s son), I knew Mani was making a really good movie. And also the kind of movie that we all dreamt of making. During the Holi sequence, I told Mani that Velu Nayakan should not dance. And Mani agreed. No director at that time would have agreed to this. Earlier in my career, I told Bharathiraja that the psychopathic killer in Sigappu Rojakkal should not be singing and dancing. But he deflected my objections saying that the song (Ninaivo oru paravai) was a dream song, shot from the heroine’s point of view. At least that made sense. But other times, people simply wouldn’t listen to me, and here Mani simply said, “Of course Velu Nayakan doesn’t dance.”

We stumbled a lot while making this film. But Mani just got up and dusted himself off and went on to the next thing. He kept his cool. He was tethered throughout the shoot. He withstood storms. And he was not afraid to surround himself with strong contributors like the writer Balakumaran, whose ease with the local syntax and dialect helped to compensate for Mani’s urbanity. There were no egos on the set. Mani would shoot down ideas. He would also accept ideas. When Velu is taken to a brothel in a song sequence, I expressed my exasperation by rolling my eyes. Mani told me that this was a very Western thing, and asked if I could give a more Indian expression. That was a very happy day for me. Suddenly I had someone who noticed these small things that make up a performance.

Nayakan was one of the films — along with the films I’ve done with Balu Mahendra, K. Vishwanath and, of course, my guru K. Balachander — that made me decide that I should not be doing short-lived masala movies anymore. Except nostalgia, they added nothing to my career. I was fed up. I was nearing middle-age. I thought, “If I don’t do this now, then when will I do it?” After wrapping the film, I was so happy that I took Sarika and went for a walk around the empty set. I remember just sitting there with a satisfied sigh.

There was a screening of the film at Savera hotel. One of the viewers was so moved that he fell at the producer’s feet. I urged Mani to go and talk to people but he just walked away saying that there was no glory in this. He was right. I told the producer that he was going to get awards. He said he hadn’t made the film to get awards, merely to make profits. And he was nervous about the film’s dark lighting and so on. He complained that I had spoilt his chances of making a profit, which is when I offered to buy the film from him. Later, GV bought the film. And after the film came out, what the producer feared became a fashion. Every Tamil film began to have under lit sequences. And the heroes began to gel their hair.

When it was time for the film’s silver-jubilee celebrations, Mr. Srinivasan’s brother passed away.We cancelled our celebration after all had gathered at the venue. The entire crew took garlands and went to his home and paid homage to the departed soul. So there was no rancour with Mr. Srinivasan. We were all like family. There was just frustration.

Had the producer been more cooperative and had he had more vision, Mani would have ensured that the film came out better. He would have also been a healthier man. His heart attack might have happened at a later stage. Mani was worn out by all the extracurricular activities, which are not part of filmmaking. I am always asked when Mani and I will work together again. I don’t know if we can summon up that same feeling of doing a film for the pleasure. Now there’s too much pressure. And I don’t blame Mani. He’s been so tormented by producers that now he wants to make films exactly the way he wants. And if I would be an impediment, he would be right in removing me.


  1. Author
    sputnik 10 years ago

    Excellent Article. Must Read.

  2. Ritz 10 years ago

    Kamal is in so much love with his ideas from beginning it seems – he thinks he is always right. This in-a-way explains his love for playing multiple characters…HIMSELF!

    “One day, I was ready to play the scene where Velu Nayakan reacts to his son’s death. We rehearsed the scene. I told Mani I wanted some build up. I thought the junior artists should react to the death first, which would help the funeral pallor to set in. And by the time I came to the corpse, the grief would have seeped into me. I would be in gear to play the scene.

    And then this…

    “Had the producer been more cooperative and had he had more vision, Mani would have ensured that the film came out better.”

    Its always about “I, Me, Myself” for all films in which Kamal acted.

    He mentions this shamelessly in the article:

    I told him that this was bound to happen. I said, “The intelligence of (the writer) Sujatha and Kamal Haasan was bound to be diluted by Kodambakkam. It will happen to you too.”

    I almost cracked up after reading this…especially for Kodambakkam reference …but more about the way Kamal thinks so highly of himself as a filmmaker/writer/screenplay writer …or what-so-ever ..


    I had read articles of how Nana Patekar blamed the producer for expecting the Prahaar as a commercial film. Apparently K. C. Bokadia wanted to make the film as a Rambo kind, but Nana had many disagreements, but then Nana made it his way and it was not a big hit. I remember reading KC Bokadia interview in 90s who blasted Nana’s direction. (Rambo was a film about a man who goes on a revenge to kill 100s of men for his personal revenge)

    @Sputnik, you had mentioned some unnecessary action scenes in Prahaar, (which I dont think were too much etc) …but I strongly think they were due to producer influence in editing.

  3. sauravjha 10 years ago

    Loved this article ! Showed how passionate an actor can get if he takes it seriously…but i have found counter attacking article by the producer whom Kamal is referring to here…here;s the link


    • Ritz 10 years ago

      Thanks for the link,

      “Had Kamal Haasan allowed Mani to make the movie originally conceived by him, it would have been his best movie. ”

      I knew while reading the Kamal article that there would be other side to this story. Especially from his “I told Mani…” etc lines…

      • sauravjha 10 years ago

        yes sir ! There always is but as siddharth (telugu actor) jst tweeted very rarely have we seen ppl fighting for a credit for a Flop movie! btw have seen the movie sir? this is same movie which was made in hindi as Dayavan rite? or m wrong?

        • Ritz 10 years ago

          Saw it long back and that too in parts. Found Kamal very gimmicky in it..also one of those Mani’s pretentious “dark lighting” movies.
          Yes Dayavaan was remake of this.

        • Ritz 10 years ago

          btw, do you follow Telugu cinema?

  4. sauravjha 10 years ago

    okk ! What’s been ur fav maniratnam an kamal hassan movie?? havent followed mani’s work a lot except for his hindi movies kamal’s sadma i loved plus ambe shivam in tamil…

    • Ritz 10 years ago

      Well there are many fav of Kamal. Loved him in Pushpak, Mumbai Xpress, Appu Raja, Avvai Shanmugi/Chahi420.

      My most fav of his is Pammal K Sambandham – loved his accent and dialogues / scenes in this. …which got remade (and killed) as Kamakht Ishq in Hindi. Kamal is damn good and very very witty in writing/executing comic scenes/ dialogues as an actor/writer/director.

      Dont like him in serious roles from beginning – he tends to be very self conscious and film revolves around him and only him. Thats true about Rajni also – but Rajni plays it unbashadly while Kamal is pretentious as if he is making some good quality movie whereas actually it all ends up as a hamming/ gimmicky exercise all in all.

      As for Mani, loved his Bombay and Ravaanan (tamil) – they are his landmark films for me.

      Liked Guru – but he was not authentic about some scenes (Gujju culture being directed by a south director). Yuva was OK – cudnt stand Rahman (Dhakka laga bukka etc) in it…saw Dil se in parts (cudnt stand srk shivering). Anjali was typical rona-dhona masala.

      Looking forward to Kadhal as it looks promising from the posters/ story concept.

      • sauravjha 10 years ago

        Telugu not much except for some siddharth movies. I like his relax attitude…abt mani’s work yes Bombay is the best i loved it…its background score is still etched to my memory ! Abt guru found it ok..abt Dil se umm its funny actually cos wen i first saw it i cudnt understand it 🙂 neither liked it cos of manisha’s ajeeb o garib characterization.. but wen i saw it recently found it gud ofcourse music had a huge role in it !
        But yes wrt kamal i find the same prob wid aamir in serious roles “taking himself too seriously”
        kind of vibe actually moves me away 4m movie for ex in Talaash trailor its happng the same wid me…smhow feel aamir is tryin too hard to be serious or look intense…lets c how’s d movie.

        • Ritz 10 years ago

          Its not only abt taking oneself seriously – but so seriously that the whole film revolves around him only.

          Many ppl find it strange that I am a fan of Aamir and Rajni – instead of Kamal. But there is a distinctive difference in Kamal and Aamir – not only that Aamir is a very limited actor whereas Kamal is fantastic one….but….both have totally different views on film-making. More on this later….

          • sauravjha 10 years ago

            “Many ppl find it strange that I am a fan of Aamir and Rajni – instead of Kamal. But there is a distinctive difference in Kamal and Aamir – not only that Aamir is a very limited actor whereas Kamal is fantastic one….” wow that’s quite an amazing statement in itself ! would like to hear more 4m u so waiting eagerly 🙂 wat u like in aamir i want to knw apart 4m usual notions like being “perfectionist” and all…and yes abt rajni!

          • fearedsoul 10 years ago

            interesting discussion. I actually love mani rathnam’s romantic movies. I still believe he is the best romantic movie maker in India – yes even better than yash chopra. In most of his movies – he manages to bring out the chemistry between the hero and heroine – be it Roja, Mumbai, Dil Se and of course my fav Mani movie – Mouna Raagam.

            I think Mani is a director who should work with lesser known actors and not stars – hence very eager to see his new venture with newcomers. Should be fun.

            On this article – I dont know how much you can believe Kamal – I think he is a ego maniac and frankly a little eccentric. I found this article to be in very bad taste – he could have talked about Nayagan and patted himself on his back without taking digs at the producer. Me thinks that most people who read this will think of Kamal as the slimy one…

      • sauravjha 10 years ago

        but i would like you recommend me some telugu movies wud like to gv it a go…thanks in advance!

        • Ritz 10 years ago

          Sorry Saurav, I dont watch Telugu cinema and dont understand the language either.

          • sauravjha 10 years ago

            also would like to know ur views abt srk as an actor . Being his fan for a long time now i somehow feel he’s been underutilized cos of various reasons he himself being one of them…i think if he wud have not confined himself to limited production houses he would have done so much more of course success rate could have been different but as an actor he would have gained more respect. wat do u think??

  5. Ritz 10 years ago


    well, I like SRK’s livewire act in “Oh Darling..yeh hai India”. Apart from that “Baadshah” is my most fav movie of his. I have watched it N number of times on TV. I also liked his Raj act in RNBDJ. I love his hamming in these roles. Hamming is his strength….but just not used in right way. He like say Amitabh… comes across as someone who does not know his strengths and weaknesses.

    I like SRK more when his energy is used in right way – I dont like him mellowed down way – IMO Swades/CDI acts by him were not impressive – he just did not ham in them so ppl (who didnt like him in hammy roles) think he was great in them.

    • sauravjha 10 years ago

      okk that’s another interesting take…so basically u dnt like him mellowed down ?? hmm i jst thot he cud have done so much more wenever his see kabhi han kabhi na it actually makes me feel dissapointed abt his choice of movies in early 2000’s till oso and i feel he is back on track since 2007 quite ironicaly cos ppl r saying it as his poorest phase but i like d way he;s mixing it up non of the films since rnbdj had his strong point all of them were quite challenging mnik, ra.one, don2 and atleast he’s pushing himself trying out various thngs which shud be d way to go for an actor and not just b in ur comfort zone but as i said wen u do that ur success rate might suffer which is happng wid him…quite ironical this 🙂

      • Ritz 10 years ago

        Yes, him mellowed down is a suprise for ppl who have seen him hamming and making faces/ /curling lips/spreading arms etc for 20 years and they think its great acting. IMO its not.

        He didnt try anything different from 2007 also as u said above. Only pleasant surprise for me was RNBDJ – the film and his role also.

        • sauravjha 10 years ago

          hmm fair enuf ! I am quite pleased wid d way he’s thinking of mixing it up lets see how it shapes up along wid business aspects of things. These Khans r in quite an interesting phase rite now and it will be interesting the way the three shapes it up 🙂

          • Ritz 10 years ago

            Oh I missed my most fav of his along with Baadshah – Paheli – loved that movie and his performance in it.

  6. Serenzy 10 years ago

    Someone asked Ritz’s Take on SRK!

    Anyways, KHKN Remains One of the BEST MOVIES Ever Made Out There.

    Talking on Whole Shah Rukh Career wud be Tedious and Loooooong but, Post2007, I Think he has Given a Knockout Role/Act in MNIK, Superb as Raj in RNBDJ[Crap as Suri], Bad…Plain Bad as Shekar, Okay as G.One and Good Again as Don.

    But his Movie Content is Alaramingly Dropping and Reaching a New Low but his Screen Presence, Energy and Acting is Still Terrific.

    Hope, JTHJ and CE Change the Fortunes both BO/Content Wise.

    • sauravjha 10 years ago

      yes Serenzy actually here i was more concerned abt him taking new challenges at that stage n era when its ‘quite easy’ to make a blockbuster movie ! So m qite pleased by his filmography since 2007, success rate is down yes quality IDK cos one of the reason why his films r not getting the same positive responses is “high budget” ! also choosing sound script was never his forte 🙂 salman n srk hav always been by heart whatever they feel they do hence quality suffers but i feel MNIK, DON 2 , RA.ONE had some really Unbollywood feel attached to them something new as per bollywood std was there..wat went wrong well we can go on & on but yes now again he’s back to doin wat he does best few Blockbusters r there for the taking all JTHJ, CE and HNY looks like a winner but i hope he keeps doin diff things, wud never want him to do remakes and i feel he wont be able to carry it off as well 🙂 So interesting times ahead!

      • fearedsoul 10 years ago

        agree with sauravjha here. I think we used to debate on NG in 2007 time frame – i believe Adi chopra made a statement saying SRK had achieved everything – with IPL franchise, OSO, CDI etc happening around that timeframe

        I think SRK pretty much decided then to try out new things as he saw himself ahead of everyone else. Even if you look at it today – if not for Salman’s unexplainable hits in the last couple of years – SRK would have still been the biggest star in India. Three external factors affected SRK from a perception standpoint – I think the Shiv sena fight and the salman fight – has bought him his share of enemies. And he gave them all fodder with Ra-1 – which was actually a OK movie but hyped to be something which it wasnt.

        To me the third is the biggest issue SRK has as an actor and a star – his looks. He needs to have the permanent bearded look imo as he looks terrible without the beard. He just has to follow the amitabh model and start making mature small movies – with the kashyaps and bharadwaj’s of the world – but he probably wont – as once you become a star – people dont know how to let go – they just have to be forced to let go

        • sauravjha 10 years ago

          you have pretty much nailed it sir! i agree wid each n every point u made in ur second para…he’s doing ok even in his highly proclaimed “stuggling” days.

          Abt the look I think we r giving it a lil too much imp in bollywood. If you see Rajinikanth is the worst looking actor ( with due respect and comparatively) but still it doesnt affect his fan following or box office by an iota. I feel its all abt perceptions sir he looked bad even in 2nd half of OSO but it was a blockbuster same was true wid RNBDJ his charm did the job for him, its jst dat for reasons mentioned by u RA.One brought him gr8 negativity for some deserving n some unfair reasons.

          Don 2 managed to restore it somewhat and as we can go by buzz of JTHJ its as usual for any srk starrer i.e HUGE! but all he needs is a seriously good UNIVERSALLY accepted movie! once u get that looks will subside wid success. That’s what i think and firmly believe cos looking at his future projects Chennai exp and Happy new year they already have blockbuster feel attach to them how big? it is the ques so i feel JTHJ is a sort of litmus test of everything for him. If he makes this work it can gv him hugeee benefit cos its against the tide in worlds of remakes.

          Would want ur response to this 🙂 Thank you cheers!

          PS:- yes he shud work wid kashyaps and bharadwaj’s i think he already is doin something wid Anurag Kashyap.

          • Fearedsoul 10 years ago

            The issue with looks is real. Rajni may look lousy in real life but his looks on screen are made to suit him. Srk’s looks were always a plus point for him…he wasn’t a handsome stud…but had a boyish charm which is gone now. I just draw the comparison to amitabh’s downfall in the 80s.

            As for jthj, unless it does 200+ in India, I doubt any perception will change. And I see this movie doing well abroad but not as well in India. Let’s see.

        • sauravjha 10 years ago

          I will humbly like to disagree wid u here sir I feel looks and other factors comes in when u r not going as per expectations and u r always that 1 big hit away frm clearing all these things. Also perceptions vary for both fans n haters/critics i dnt c fans being too worried abt his looks they r loving him anyways as we can see by the buzz of his every film since 2007 (when his looks got bad) and as for critics they dnt like him anyways. So perception will remain the same for both fans will love him critics will point out something else if not looks and hence i feel it (looks) doesnt matter.

          Regarding JTHJ doing 200+ it is very unlikely especially cos sos is coming wid it also for a romantic genre to do that much Now will be something unbelievable, i feel if it manages to touch 150 it will be gr8 news for industry n Srk (i belive it needs smwhr arnd 150 to b termed blockbuster or atbb not sure) especially cos every1 is going masala way n it will sort of change the tide.

          cheers! 🙂

  7. Ritz 10 years ago

    On a different note – saw Rowdy Rathore and OMG last week. Enjoyed both.

    RR is very entertaining and I think is one of the best movies as far as south remakes go.

    OMG also was good..but not worth the hype it has.

    • sauravjha 10 years ago

      Actually i think ppl had very low expectations in case of OMG and they got pleasantly surprised by “boldness” of the movie but yes i also believe it wasn’t an outstanding movie but a good movie wid a msg which is a rarity nowadays! In case of RR i found it very entertaining. But i feel wanted was the best in case of remakes wat say?

  8. Serenzy 10 years ago

    Saurav and Ritz,

    Agree with you Fully on RR, OMG and Wanted…I Share the Same Views.

    Wanted, AP, Ghajini, Singham, RR have been the Better Masala Actioners in Recent Years while Dabangg was all CHULBUL PANDEY[Movie was Average].

    I Infact Liked RR a tad more than OMG!

    • sauravjha 10 years ago

      oh yes i 4got ghajini ! 😛 both ghajini n wanted r equally good but wanted has repeat value IMO. Ghajini was intense and we cant feel the same intensity everytime we see it IMO…wanted is one of my fav salman movie last decade.

      • Ritz 10 years ago

        Cant watch Ghajini again. It has no repeat value. Wanted havent seen in Hindi – saw Tamil Pokkiri.

        I enjoyed RR and Bodyguard. They do have repeat value for me. (Havent seen Ready but loved the Dhanush starrer tamil original)

        • sauravjha 10 years ago

          yes ghajini has no repeat value..u shud gv wanted a go u will find it vry similar to pokkiri but difference is the salman khan he’s done better than vijay and mahesh babu (telugu version) both IMO.

        • fearedsoul 10 years ago

          wow – bodyguard has repeat value – you are the first person ritz whom I have heard of that liked bodyguard. I think imo it was the worst biggest hit movie of bollywood

          • Ritz 10 years ago

            @Fearedsoul – repeat value as in when u have nothing to do and its playing on TV 🙂 . Honestly I liked the way salman has played the lead role in it. Maybe I liked it more as my kid likes all these movies very much (RR/singham/dabangg/BG/Golmaal3 etc)

  9. Serenzy 10 years ago

    BG was Much Better in Many Terms Compared to the Shitty-ness of Ready!

  10. Author
    sputnik 10 years ago

    Mani Ratnam on Nayagan from Rangan’s book.

    After your unsuccessful attempt to work with Kamal Haasan in Pallavi Anupallavi, you finally roped him in.

    Kamal had sent over a producer, ‘Muktha’ Srinivasan, when I was working on the script of Agni Natchatiram. Agni was the film I wanted to do after Mouna Raagam… So ‘Muktha’ Srinivasan came home and said, dramatically, ‘Kizhakku endha pakkam?’ [Which way is east?] He made me stand in that direction and gave me an envelope. I thought it was money—an advance maybe—but it was actually a video cassette of a Hindi film. He said Kamal wanted me to see the film. I was not interested in a remake but the producer insisted that I see the film. Though a cheque would have been more appreciated than a cassette, I said I’d see it. I put the tape in. It was about Shammi Kapoor in a nuthouse [Pagla Kahin Ka]. I couldn’t bear it. I was very sure I wasn’t interested.

    So when he returned the next day, I told him I had always felt I was not good for remakes. It was better to get someone efficient, someone who’d do things quickly and get the film out as soon as possible. He wasn’t flustered. He asked me to get into the car and go with him to AVM studios, where Kamal was shooting, and tell Kamal what I’d told him. I realized that, as much as I didn’t want to do this he didn’t want me for his film either. I met Kamal during his lunch break and told him that Pagla Kahin Ka was not my type of film and I wouldn’t be able to do it. Kamal then asked me what kind of film I would prefer to make. He said that the tape was just to start a conversation. I went to say no, but now I had a chance to make a film with Kamal and he was asking me what kind of film I’d do with him. I said there were two possibilities. One was a very sleek, city-based action film, a Dirty Harry or Beverly Hills Cop or a Bond-ish film, the kind of thing that had not been done much in Tamil cinema. It still hasn’t been done. I am a big fan of sleek action films. I’ve always wanted to do something like that. The second possibility was the life of Varadaraja Mudaliar.

    What intrigued you about his story?

    The two years I studied in Bombay (1975–77), he was at his peak. People in the Matunga belt thought he was God. I used to wonder how anyone could treat a fellow human as God. I never understood why they would do this. It fascinated me. It was such a dramatic story, this man going from Tamil Nadu to Bombay and ruling the city. I outlined this thought to Kamal and he said fine. That’s it. It was done. Decided. Mouna Raagam took five years to get approved. Nayakan got cleared in 10 minutes. It was September, I think. He said he’d given ‘Muktha’ Srinivasan dates in December and we could start shooting…

    We had scheduled three days of shooting in December, and I told Kamal I wouldn’t be ready with the script. He said something that surprised me. He said that I could treat the three days as test shoots, with three get-ups for the three ages of the character. And we did just that. That is the kind of luxury I’d never had. The producer had no clue that we were shooting three scenes that were tests and may not make it to the final cut. They didn’t, though they were nice scenes. But the test shoot helped to get Velu Nayakar’s look right, and we also got the other details (art, props, shooting style, costumes) right… The first real schedule of Nayakan took place in January.

    So the film that really, really put you on the map was a complete accident.

    Yeah. I think Kamal too didn’t expect much from the film — at least not at the start and not what it became.

    Looking at Kamal’s performance or anything else, did you have an inkling that Nayakan would become what it became?

    With the time and effort you invest in each project, you expect that each one will work. It’s not that in Nayakan I was going out of the way and doing something extraordinary. It’s just that it’s such a pleasure when there’s an actor who delivers more than you can imagine. It takes a weight off your shoulders, because you no longer have to carry the scene by yourself. I realized that I didn’t have to stage a scene to prop up the actor. It was enough if the camera caught him. He brings credibility to the lines and makes it so effortless. He adds to the entire picture.

    Apart from his ability to emote so well, he’s a master of technique. He did quite a bit of the make-up for the other actors in the film. If I had someone with a wound that didn’t look right, I’d go to him and ask him to fix it. He’d sit with the actor and get it done, and by that time I’d have finished all the other shots I had to do. He was really a part of the team that way. We could ask him for anything we wanted for anybody else and he would do it. He was the one who convinced Janakaraj and Delhi Ganesh to cut their hair and grow convincingly old along with Velu Nayakan. He would bring his own gun for a shot, and save the trouble of using a terrible dummy. He had this bottle made of sugar glass, which he had brought from US, and he used it in the fight with the cop. He made sure that the scene played out real. It is a big boon to have an extra mind on the set.

    Saranya brought to the part a fragility that an established actor couldn’t have. She was effectively your first big ‘discovery’, cast opposite Kamal, one of the biggest stars around. At that early stage in your career, was it difficult convincing people about this casting?

    Right from the beginning, we had only a new face in mind, because we felt the character would come through much stronger with a new actor. It would be more real. I had no problems convincing people. If you’re successful, they give you a longer rope. Mouna Raagam had done well. Also, [the producers] Muktha Films were breaking away from what they’d done in the past. They were working with an outside director for the first time. They were making a film on a much larger scale than they were used to. So they did not really question my casting. For most of the film I had complete freedom. We were looking for someone and this photograph came to us. Looks-wise, she was more or less what we wanted. We called her in for a test. I think we shot the test at the wedding hall owned by the producer, and we were convinced that we could get what we wanted out of her. She was the first and only person we saw for the role.


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