As the filmmaker Mani Ratnam turns 62 today, we look at the top films that redefined the concept of film-making.

Hailing from Madurai in Tamil Nadu, Gopala Ratnam Subramaniam is one of the finest directors of Indian cinema. Mani Ratnam redefined the concept of filmmaking with his complex and yet intense narration, which had the audience awestruck many a times. 

Do you know? His first movie as a director is in Kannada, and not in Tamil, titled Pallavi Anu Pallavi featuring Anil Kapoor and Lakshmi in the lead. He then made his first Tamil film in 1985 titled Pagal Nilavu which was an average affair. Later, in 1986 release Mouna Ragam that brought Mani to the forefront of Tamil cinema. Mouna Ragam redefined the way Kollywood was viewed at and put Mani Ratnam at the top of the list.

Since then, there was no looking back for this genius filmmaker who went on to make many more classic films in various languages over coming years. Today we look at those films by Mani Ratnam which make him the genius filmmaker


1) Nayakan (1987): Nayagan made it to Time Magazine's All-Time100 Best Films. Starring Kamal Haasan in the lead role, Nayakan portrayed the struggles faced by South Indians living in Bombay. Nayakan is considered to be one of the best films in Kamal Haasan’s career.



2) Thalapathi (1991): Mani Ratnam brought two Super Stars, Rajinikanth and Mammootty, in this film and it turned out to be a blockbuster hit. Based on the friendship between Karna and Duryodhana of the epic Mahabharata, Thalapathi redefined commercial cinema and went on to become the highest grossing Tamil film that year. Thalapathi happens to be the last film of Mani Ratnam with music maestro Ilaiyaraaja.



3) Alaipayuthey (2000): Mani Ratnam roped in R. Madhavan for this romantic drama who was a new face then. The film was later remade in Bollywood as Saathiya, which too became commercially successful. Madhavan today is one of the top actors in Indian cinema because of his mentor Mani Ratnam.


4) Kannathil Muthamittal (2002): This is Mani Ratnam's all-time best film. Only Mani can romanticised violence in his films, for instance, take the opening scene of Kannathil Muthamittal, where a couple, while having a quiet moment, are worried about Sri Lankan troops. The movie is based on Sri Lankan Civil War and has won several international awards for its unique theme. The movie featured Madhavan, Simran, Prakash Raj, Nanditha Das and Keerthana. 



5) Ayutha Ezhuthu (2004): The movie is based on Rashomon effect, Ayutha Ezhuthu shows different stories running together that overlap with each other after a point. The Tamil version got mixed reviews from the audience, but the Bollywood version Yuva was a superhit hit and became one of Abhishek Bachchan's best performance. 



6) Mouna Ragam (1986): The movie won National awards for best film and best director. The movie features Revathi, who lost her fiancé on the day of their wedding. The movie turned out to be a cult classic. Mouna Ragam focused on the relationship between a man and wife.



7) Iruvar (1997): The movie won many awards including National Awards for best Cinematography to Santosh Sivan, best-supporting Actor to Prakash Raj. Iruvar tells the tale of rivalry between two politicians. Based on the life of M. G. Ramachandran and Karunanidhi, it showed how politics worked in Tamil Nadu. With stellar camera work, passionate performances and unbeatable music, Iruvar was a bold and brave attempt that’s a must-watch if you’re a film student. This film also marked the acting debut of Aishwarya Rai.



8) Roja (1992): This movie won many National Awards for best music director A. R. Rahman, best lyricist Vairamuthu and best film on National Integration. Based on the conflict that arises between politics and love, Roja is a beautiful tale that brought out the feeling of patriotism within the audience. This patriotic love story broke all box-office records and catapulted Mani Ratnam to success and fame. 



9) OK Kanmani (2015): The movie was a hit among the younger lot in Tamil Nadu. The film talks about modern India and deals with the concept of live-in relationships. The success of OK Kanmani goes to its star cast- Dulquer Salmaan, Nithya Menen, Prakash Raj and Leela Samson. While the Hindi version OK Jaanu has flopped on box-office.



10) Bombay (1995): The movie won National Awards for best film on National Integration and Best Editing: Suresh Urs. The second film in Mani’s love and political series, it showed the religious riots that tore apart the city of Bombay in the year 1993. Although Mani Ratnam’s masterpiece did give rise to several controversies, it’s among the top 20 films in the British film rankings and a winner of several awards.