Mani Ratnam

Mani Ratnam

Mani Ratnam at the premiere of Raavan in 2010
Born Gopala Ratnam Subramaniam Iyer
2 June 1956 (1956-06-02) (age 55)
Madras, Tamil Nadu, India[1]
Residence Alwarpet, Chennai, India
Occupation Film Director
Film Producer
Screenwriter
Years active 1983–present
Spouse Suhasini
(1988–Present)

Mani Ratnam (Tamil: மணி ரத்னம்; born Gopala Ratnam Subramaniam Iyer on 2 June 1956) is an Indian filmmaker, screenwriter and producer. He made his directorial debut with the Kannada film Pallavi Anu Pallavi starring Anil Kapoor in 1983. Directing landmark films such as Mouna Raagam (1986), Nayagan (1987), Geethanjali(1989), Anjali (1990), Thalapathi (1991),Iruvar (1997), Alaipayuthey (2000) and Kannathil Muthamittal (2002) and his terrorism trilogy consisting of Roja (1992), Bombay (1995) and Dil Se (1998), he went on to become one of the leading directors in Indian Cinema[2][3] Ratnam is widely credited with having revolutionised the Tamil film industry and altering the profile of Indian cinema.[1]

His films Nayagan (1987) and Anjali (1990) were submitted by India in contest for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[4] Dil Se was the first film in India to enter the UK Top 10. Ratnam has won multiple National Film Awards, four Filmfare Awards (South), four Filmfare Awards (Hindi), and twelve international film festival awards.[5] His Tamil movie Nayagan, Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy and Guru Dutt's Pyaasa are the only Indian films that have appeared in TIME Magazine's All-Time 100 Greatest Movies.[6][7] His film Roja was the only Indian film to feature in TIME Magazine's "10 Best Soundtracks" of all time.[8] In 2003 BBC International poll, people from 155 countries voted "Rakkamma Kaiya Thattu" from his 1991 film Thalapathi as fourth in the world's top 10 most popular songs of all time.[9]

Ratnam is particularly known for his eye for technical detail in the art of film making, having worked with and also introduced some of the best music directors, cinematographers, art directors, dialogue writers and editors in India. Several international papers and books have been published on his critically acclaimed movies.

Contents

Early life and family

Mani Ratnam was born in Madras, Tamil Nadu to Iyer parents.[10] His actual name is Gopala Ratnam Subramaniam Iyer. His father, Ratnam Iyer was a film producer who made film under the banner "Venus Pictures".[11] He attended Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Chennai. After graduating with a degree in Commerce from Vivekananda College, University of Madras, and an MBA from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies,[12] he embarked on a career as a management consultant before becoming a filmmaker.[1] He got into film direction with the help of his late brother, film producer G. Venkateswaran, who went on to produce many of Mani's films such as Mouna Raagam, Nayagan, Agni Natchathiram, Thalapathi and Anjali[1] and later committed suicide in 2003 due to some financial problems.[11]

In 1988 Ratnam married Suhasini, niece of Kamal Haasan and daughter of Charuhasan.[13] Suhasini is a National Award winning actress and a well known film-maker. They have a son named Nandhan. Charuhasan, his father in law is also a National Award winning actor as well. Ratnam co-founded the independent production company Madras Talkies along with his brother G. Srinivasan who died in an accident in Manali on 27 May 2007.[14] Ratnam lives in Alwarpet, Chennai, where he runs his production company Madras Talkies.[15]

Career

Early years: 1983–85

Mani Ratnam made his directorial debut in 1983, through the Kannada film Pallavi Anu Pallavi, that starred Anil Kapoor and Lakshmi.[16] The film explored the relationship between a young man and an older woman.[16] Ratnam managed to persuade acclaimed director and cinematographer Balu Mahendra to serve as his cinematographer. The film did not perform well at the box office but its brilliant score by Ilaiyaraaja became hugely popular.Still Mani Ratnam earned critical acclaim for this film and also won a Karnataka State Film Award for Best Screenplay for this film. He then followed it with a film in Malayalam titled Unaru, that dealt with the trade union problems that exist in Kerala. His next film Pagal Nilavu, a film that had to settle for quiet obscurity. In 1985 he directed Idaya Kovil which was a major box-office success. All these films had music scores by Ilaiyaraaja.

Breakthrough: 1986–1991

In 1986, Ratnam finally attained commercial success in through the Tamil romantic drama Mouna Raagam with Revathi and Mohan.[17] The film told the story of the friction between a newly-wed couple, and remains famous to date as a relevant and realistic portrayal of romance among urban Tamils. Its score by Ilaiyaraaja became a huge success upon release. It was subsequently dubbed into Telugu under the same title and went to become a hit in Andhra Pradesh as well. Ratnam's status was elevated further a year later after directing Nayagan that starred Kamal Haasan, which went on to become a huge success.[17] Many Indian critics dubbed it as India's answer to the cult The Godfather.[1] The film, which tells the story of an orphaned slum dweller and his rise to top of the Mumbai underworld hierarchy,[18] was included in TIME Magazine's All-Time 100 Greatest Movies.[6][7] Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy and Guru Dutt's Pyaasa are the only Indian films that have appeared in TIME Magazine's All-Time 100 Greatest Movies.[19] The film won three National Awards—Best Actor, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction.[18] The story of the film was inspired by the real life story of underworld king Varadarajan Mudaliar.[17]

With commercial success coming back to back, Ratnam wrote and directed Agni Natchathiram. The film dealt with the story of two step brothers played by Prabhu and Karthik.[18] It was also notable for use of new techniques in terms of camera framework, especially during the shoot of songs in the film. The film had a successful run in the box office.[1] Mani later returned to familiar territory of winning critical acclaim through his next film. Until then, Mani had made films in Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada languages, and a Telugu film would mark a milestone of having directed films in all South Indian languages. Thus Mani opted to do his next project in Telugu, and it was titled Geethanjali. The film which starred Nagarjuna in the lead role told the story of an ill-fated couple who are both suffering from terminal diseases.[1] The film went on to win the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment in 1990. Ratnam maintained a momentum of making emotional stories of undeserved people through the Raghuvaran starring Chennai release Anjali in 1990. The film told the story of an autistic child and how she changed the lives of people in colony. Mani later made another underworld-themed Tamil film with Thalapathi in 1991 starring Rajinikanth and Mammootty. With a theme of friendship between a local don and a slum king, Thalapathi earned both critical acclaim and commercial success upon release. Thalapathi , based on the legend of Mahabharatha, ran into trouble when news leaked that the character of Karna, portrayed by Rajinikanth,[18] would die in the end. The climax was altered to appease the fan base of the Rajinikanth.[20]

International acclaim: 1992–99

With Thalapathi, Mani ended his long term association with music director Ilaiyaraaja, bringing in debutant music director A. R. Rahman to score for his Tamil classic Roja. It turned out to be Mani's greatest find, as Rahman went on to become a great music composer on his own right in the annals of Indian and International cinema. Roja, a romantic film, tackled themes of terrorism in the regions of Kashmir.[1] The film – starring Arvind Swamy and Madhoo – was released in 1992 and nominated for the Golden St. George Award at the Moscow International Film Festival.[21] It became so popular that it was dubbed into other languages and met similar success in other regions. Mani then took a more light-hearted approach with his next film – Thiruda Thiruda. Scripted by Ram Gopal Varma, the film saw the exploration of action thriller, a departure from the norm for Ratnam, and fared less well at the box office. In 1994, a retrospective of his Tamil films was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. Meanwhile, Ratnam again teamed up with Ram Gopal Varma to provide the screenplay for the latter's Telugu film Gaayam, a socio-politico film loosely based on The Godfather. In 1995, Ratnam returned to Tamil language drama. Bombay starring Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala told the story of a Hindu-Muslim couple in the midst of the 1993 religious Bombay riots and bombings. The film was met with controversy and censorship upon release. However Bombay was financially very successful and well appreciated by the critics. It won a number of awards such as Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration, Special Award from the Political Film Society,[22] the Wim Van Leer In Spirit of Freedom Award at the Jerusalem International Film Festival[23] and the Gala Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Then came his third part of "Terrorism Trilogy" in 1998 named Dil Se starring Shahrukh Khan and another movie collaboration with Manisha Koirala after Bombay.[24] Unlike previous two movies, this movie did average business in Indian Market but was hit in overseas market.[25] This Film gained cult status just after it released and this movie was screened in many International Film Festivals and won Netpac Special Mention award in Berlin Film Festival.[26] This movie showed the relationship between an young and obsessed man and dangerous and disturbed lady, although both loved each other but girl was not able to accept that truth because she was disturbed by her dark past. The album was again composed by A. R. Rahman and this whole album was very popular amongst the masses so much that all songs of this album became chartbuster of year 1998 and gave Rahman his next Filmfare Award for best Music Direction in 1999. This album also marked the beginning of a famed collaboration between playback singer Lata Mangeshkar and Rahman.[27][28] In 2000 Mani directed the romantic drama Alaipayuthey that starred R. Madhavan and Shalini. The film won lot of critical acclaim and won the Netpac Special Mention award at the Berlin Film Festival.[29] The movie was also Madhavan's first film in a lead role.

Kannathil Muthamittal and onwards: 2002–present

Ratnam's following effort, Kannathil Muthamittal, was the story of a child of Sri Lankan Tamil parentage adopted by Indian parents, who desires to meet her biological mother during the midst of the Sri Lankan Civil War.[30] The film was a critically lauded commercial success, winning six National Film Awards, Ratnam's second Filmfare Award South for directing, his second In Spirit for Freedom Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival[31] and an award at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.[32] In 2004, Mani made his second Hindi language effort with Yuva. The film, which tells the story of three different youths and how one incident sends their three lives on a collision course, received positive reviews and was a hit in the box office.[33] Ratnam also made the film simultaneously in Tamil as Aayutha Ezhuthu, starring Surya Sivakumar, R. Madhavan and Siddharth replacing Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan and Vivek Oberoi respectively.[33] The film was an average at the Tamil box office, but critics favored the Tamil version over the Hindi version. Ratnam also had his first heart attack during shooting for Yuva.[24] The year 2007 saw Ratnam direct the Madras Talkies production Guru starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai.[34] The film was a major box office success in 2007.[35] In 2010, Ratnam worked on a big-budget bilingual being made in Tamil and Hindi.[36] The films are titled Raavanan in Tamil and Raavan in Hindi.[36] The Tamil version was dubbed into Telugu as Villain. The film released worldwide on 18 June 2010.[37]

The film is loosely based on the Hindu epic "Ramayana" and happened over a period of 14 days where the character Beera kidnaps the wife of a cop to avenge his sister's death. The Tamil version received better reviews than the Hindi version, based mainly on the lead's performance. The Hindi version of the film received mostly negative reviews and was a failure at the box office.The film received critical acclaims in America,Europe and southern part of India.The NY times called the movie a "critics' pick".Bollywood reviewers overall rated the movie very poorly,Taran Adarsh said "On the whole, Raavan is a king-sized disappointment, in terms of content" and Rajiv Masand said "...is a crushing bore of a film, a disappointment on virtually every count"[38] while another reviewer Raja Sen commented "It's profoundly sad to see a filmmaker of Ratnam's calibre reduced to this".[39] The Tamil version was declared a box office success. The contrasting response to the same film on the either side of the vindhyas is not surprising,as many films in the past,that have followed this trend.This can be attributed to different expectations and tastes of the audiences.

Mani Ratnam received the Glory to the Filmmaker! Award at the 67th Venice Film Festival on September 6, 2010. The ceremony was followed by a screening of Raavanan in Tamil.[17] His wife, Suhasini Maniratnam and actor Vikram Kennedy were also present at the ceremony.

Film-making style

Mani Ratnam often makes movies inspired by real-life events and famous epics — Nayagan was loosely based on Varadarajan Mudaliar, an underworld Don in Mumbai. Bombay was based on the ethnic war between Hindus and Muslims that prevailed in Mumbai. Iruvar released in 1997 was based on Tamil Nadu political and cinematic iconsM. G. Ramachandran and M. Karunanidhi.[17] His 2002 film Kannathil Muthamittal was based on the Sri Lankan Civil War and Aayutha Ezhuthu (2004) focussed on student politics. Guru, released in 2007 was loosely based on the life of Dhirubhai Ambani.[40] Thalapathi, based on the Hindu-epic Mahabarata and Raavanan is said to be inspired by another Hindu epic, Ramayana. His movies are notable for staccato dialogues. His movies often portray strong friendship. Examples are seen from movies such as Thalapathi, Aayutha Ezhuthu, Thiruda Thiruda, Iruvar and Nayagan. He also revels in creating onscreen relationship tangles in many of his films such as Thalapathi, Mouna Raagam, Agni Natchathiram, Kannathil Muthamittal and Raavan.

Awards & Honors

Mani Ratnam has won several National Film Awards, Filmfare Awards and International film awards. His film Geethanjali won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. Other films like Mouna Raagam, Anjali and Kannathil Muthamittal have won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil. Roja and Bombay have won the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration. His films such as Bombay, Iruvar and Kannathil Muthamittal have won International film awards and screened at various film festivals. In 2010, he was honoured with Jaeger-Lecoultre Glory To The Filmmaker at 67th Venice International Film Festival[41]

Filmography

The following is the list of films directed by Mani Ratnam. Many of his films have been remade or dubbed in several languages, mostly in Telugu and Hindi.

Year Film Director Producer Writer Notes
1983 Pallavi Anu Pallavi Yes Yes Karnataka State Film Award for Best Screenplay
1984 Unaru Yes
1985 Pagal Nilavu Yes Yes
Idaya Kovil Yes Yes
1986 Mouna Raagam Yes Yes National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil
1987 Nayagan Yes Yes Yes
1988 Agni Natchathiram Yes Yes Tamil Nadu State Film Awards - Best Film
1989 Geethanjali Yes Yes National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment
1990 Chatriyan Yes Yes
Anjali Yes Yes National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil
1991 Thalapathi Yes Yes
1992 Roja Yes Yes National Film Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director
Nominated—Golden St. George for Best Film at Moscow International Film Festival
1993 Gaayam Yes
Thiruda Thiruda Yes Yes
1995 Bombay Yes Yes Yes National Film Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration
Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie
Special Award at the Political Film Society Awards
Wim Van Leer In Spirit of Freedom Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival
Gala Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
1995 Aasai Yes
1996 Indira Yes Yes Best Film at Belgrade International Film Festival
1997 Iruvar Yes Yes Yes Best Film at Belgrade International Film Festival
Nerrukku Ner Yes
1998 Dil Se Yes Yes Yes NETPAC Award (Special Mention) at Berlin International Film Festival
2000 Alaipayuthey Yes Yes Yes NETPAC Award (Special Mention) at Berlin International Film Festival
2001 Dumm Dumm Dumm Yes Yes
2002 Kannathil Muthamittal Yes Yes Yes National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil
Filmfare Award for Best Film – Tamil
Filmfare Award for Best Director – Tamil
Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Director
Best Film award at Jerusalem Film Festival
ITFA Best Director Award
Audience Award for Best Feature Film at Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles
Audience Choice Award for Narrative Competition at RiverRun International Film Festival
Best Picture at Zimbabwe International Film Festival
Audience Award, Jury Award and Special Award at Film Fest New Haven
Best International Film at Westchester Film Festival
Saathiya Yes
2004 Yuva Yes Yes Yes Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie
Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated—Star Screen Award for Best Director
Nominated—Star Screen Award for Best Screenplay
Aayutha Ezhuthu Yes Yes Yes
2007 Guru Yes Yes Yes Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie
Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated—Star Screen Award for Best Director
Nominated—Star Screen Award for Best Screenplay
2010 Raavan Yes Yes Yes
Raavanan Yes Yes Yes
2012 Bloody Paki Yes Yes Filming

Stage productions

See also

  • Madras Talkies
  • List of films directed by Mani Ratnam featuring A. R. Rahman

References

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  3. ^ Pat Padua (2001). "FROM THE HEART: The Films of Mani Ratnam". CineScene. http://www.cinescene.com/names/maniratnam.html. Retrieved 2009-02-25. 
  4. ^ Velayutham, Selvaraj (2008). Tamil Cinema: The Cultural Politics of India's Other Film Industry. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-39680-6. 
  5. ^ "Awards for Mani Ratnam". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0711745/awards. Retrieved 2009-02-06. 
  6. ^ a b "Time 100: Nayakan". Time Magazine. http://www.time.com/time/2005/100movies/0,23220,nayakan,00.html. Retrieved 22 January 2007. 
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  8. ^ Time magazine's "All-TIME" 100 best movies#10 Best Soundtracks
  9. ^ THE WORLD'S TOP TEN, BBC World Service.com
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  12. ^ "Mani mantra for B-school". The Telegraph. 10 September 2007. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070910/asp/bengal/story_8298530.asp. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  13. ^ S. Pradhan, Bharathi (31 October 2010). "Star wives with working lives". The Telegraph. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1101031/jsp/7days/story_13121724.jsp. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
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  15. ^ "Security cover for Mani Ratnam reviewed". The Hindu. 18 January 2003. http://www.hindu.com/2003/01/18/stories/2003011807920300.htm. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "Mani Ratnam - A Man in full - a profile by Anita Nair". anitanair. Anita Nair. http://www.anitanair.net/profiles/profile-mani-ratnam.htm. Retrieved 8 September 2011. 
  17. ^ a b c d e Bhaskaran, Gautaman (07 September 2010). "Venice honours Mani Ratnam". The Hindustan Times. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Venice-honours-Mani-Ratnam/Article1-597191.aspx. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 
  18. ^ a b c d "Nayagan (1987)". Rediff. Rediff Movies. http://movies.rediff.com/slide-show/2010/jun/09/slide-show-1-looking-at-mani-ratnams-landmark-movies.htm. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
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  20. ^ "Rajni's Tamil Top 10". Rediff. http://www.rediff.com/movies/2007/may/22sli9.htm. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  21. ^ "1993 year". Moscow Film Festival. http://moscowfilmfestival.ru/miff33/eng/archives/?year=1993. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  22. ^ "Previous Political Film Society Award Winners". Political Film Society. http://www.polfilms.com/previous.html. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  23. ^ "13th JFF". Jerusalem Film Festival. http://www.jff.org.il/?CategoryID=450. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  24. ^ a b "Mani Ratnam admitted to hospital". The Indian Express. 15 April 2009. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Mani-ratna.../447218/. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
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  26. ^ "1999 Winners". Berlin Film Festival. http://www.berlinale.de/en/archiv/jahresarchive/1999/02_programm_1999/02_Programm_1999.html. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  27. ^ Gopalan, Lalitha (2005). Bombay: BFI Film Classics. BFI Publishing. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-85170-956-7. 
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  30. ^ Tulika, Pearl. "Delicate flower caught in a stormDelicate flower caught in a storm". Rediff Movies. Rediff. http://in.rediff.com/movies/2002/feb/16kan.ht. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
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  33. ^ a b KEHR, DAVE (21 May 2004). "Portraits From the Class Struggle in Modern India". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/21/movies/21YUVA.html. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  34. ^ Devi. K, Sangeetha (06 October 2006). "This is as big as it gets". The Hindu. http://www.hindu.com/fr/2006/10/06/stories/2006100601920100.htm. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  35. ^ SALAM, ZIYA US (28 December 2007). "Twinkle, twinkle, all stars!". The Hindu. http://www.hindu.com/fr/2007/12/28/stories/2007122851010100.htm. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  36. ^ a b "Mani Ratnam to be honoured at Venice". The Indian Express. 18 May 2010. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/mani-ratnam-to-be-honoured-at-venice/620448/. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 
  37. ^ SALTZ, RACHEL SALTZ (18 June 2010). "An Indian Epic With Bollywood Glamour". The New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/06/18/movies/18raavan.html. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  38. ^ Rajeev Masand. "Masand: 'Raavan' is a bore of a film". IBN Livedate=2010-06-19. http://ibnlive.in.com/news/masand-raavan-is-a-bore-of-a-film/124771-47-84.html. 
  39. ^ Raja Sen (2010-06-18). "Raavan is unforgivably boring". Rediff.com. http://movies.rediff.com/report/2010/jun/18/raja-sen-reviews-raavan.htm. 
  40. ^ Devi. K, Sangeetha (05 January 2007). "Regional films are more rooted". The Hindu. http://www.hindu.com/fr/2007/01/05/stories/2007010501040100.htm. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  41. ^ "Venezia 67 Awards". Venice Film Festival. http://www.labiennale.org/en/cinema/news/venezia67-awards.html. Retrieved September 11, 2010. 

Further reading

  • Benjamin, S. (2006 15(4), 423-435.). A rose by any other name: exploring the politics of Mani Ratnam's Roja.. Contemporary South Asia,. 
  • Chaudhuri, Shohini (2005). "Cinema of South India and Sri Lanka". Contemporary World Cinema: Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and South Asia. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-0-7486-1799-9. 
  • Chaudhuri, Shohini (2005). "Cinema of South India and Sri Lanka". Contemporary World Cinema: Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and South Asia. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-0-7486-1799-9. 
  • Mallhi, Angie (2006). The Illusion of Secularism: Mani Ratnam's Bombay and the Consolidation of Hindu Hegemony. University of Victoria: CAPI Occasional Paper #31.Victoria: Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives. 
  • Terska Ciecko, Anne (2006). "National Cinema and State Authority". Contemporary Asian Cinema: Popular culture in a Global Frame. Berg: Berg Publishers. ISBN 978-1-84520-237-8. 
  • Gopalan, Lalitha (2005). Bombay: BFI Film Classics. London: BFI Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85170-956-7. 
  • Nagappan, Ramu (2005). "Momentary Pleasures of Reconciliation". Speaking Havoc: Social Suffering & South Asian Narratives. Washington: University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0-295-98488-9. http://books.google.com/?id=wdAgle6tCVoC&printsec=frontcover#PPA170,M1. 
  • Velayutham, Selvaraj (2008). Tamil Cinema: The Cultural Politics of India's Other Film Industry. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-39680-6. 

External links


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