We caught Mani Ratnam just before the release of Raavan and asked the filmmaker about his plans and why he doesn’t like to watch his own films after a while.
After ‘Raavan’, what next?
I don’t know.
They say you’re going to make a film with Ranbir Kapoor? Or a film with Kareena Kapoor?
Don’t believe everything that’s written!
How do you look back at your career?
I don’t look back.
You only see your own mistakes. I can hardly watch a maximum of 5 minutes from my previous films. I’m scared I’ll find mistakes.
When it comes to music for your films, you seem to have married A.R. Rahman!
Rahman is the same now as he was when he did his first film. He still works as hard; is still as sincere and keen to do something new. He really likes good cinema and both of us try to do something different every time.
When you start a film you just don’t know how you are going to shoot the film.
Tell us more about your collaboration and relation with your cameramen …
The closest person I have on any film is the cameraman. It’s invariably like a marriage. There will be squabbles but both of us are ultimately trying to make the scene look better. My team of cameramen care for the scene. They are a huge support for me.
You still look at a linear approach in filmmaking?
We are talking to Indian audiences; I have to talk to them in a language they understand. No point in being structurally different just for the sake of it.
How would you evaluate your growth as a director?
When I did my first film (Pallavi Anu Pallavi, 1983) I didn’t have formal training, I didn’t work with anybody. It was an extension of the way I was telling a story, writing a scene. It was more instinct of what I had seen, from what books that I had read on filmmaking. But that hasn’t changed at all. After 20 odd films I still struggle. The most enjoyable is not knowing and trying to write something.
When you start a film you just don’t know how you are going to shoot the film. It has to have a certain rhythm a certain way. It’s not a template which you can take from somewhere else. You have to discover it every time.
By Roshni Devi