Birthday Special: Top films that make Mani Ratnam the doyen of filmmaking

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

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Tamil cinema has witnessed many classic filmmakers who have inspired many to pursue film-making as their career. Directors like K. Balachander, Balu Mahendra, Bharathi Raja and AC Tirulokchandar among others have delivered some hit films which are considered as cult classics. The films by these masterminds are viewed as reference to many filmmakers of today’s young crop. But one man who stood out as genius, inspired many with his films and has earned a lot of admiration is Mani Ratnam.

The genius filmmaker Mani Ratnam redefined the concept of film-making with his subtle and yet intense narration, which had the viewers awestruck many a times. Not many know that, his first film as a director is in Kannada, and not in Tamil, titled Pallavi Anu Pallavi. The film did not fare well thought but did not stop this genius filmmaker from chasing his dreams. He then made his first Tamil film in 1985 titled Pagal Nilavu which was an average affair. It was his 1986 release Mouna Ragam that brought him to the forefront of Tamil cinema. Mouna Ragam redefined the way Tamil cinema 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 over coming years. Today we look at those films by Mani Ratnam which make him the genius filmmaker:


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.

Kamal Haasan in Nayakan


Geethanjali is Mani Ratnam’s first straight Telugu film which had Nagarjuna and Girija in the lead roles. This romantic drama was a stunning hit because of the kind of narration it had. Mani Ratnam earned more admiration from Telugu movie-lovers with Geethanjali

Nagarjuna and Girija in Geethanjali


Considered to be a masterpipece from Mani Ratnam, Anjali is a film about a mentally disabled child of Raghuvaran and Revathy. The drama throughout the film kept the audience gripped to the narration.

Revathy and Raghuvan starrer Anjali


Mani Ratnam brought two Super Stars, Rajinikanth and Mammootty, in this film and it turned out to be a blockbuster hit. A political crime-drama, Thalapathi is still considered one of the biggest multi-starrers in South Indian cinema.

Rajinikanth and Mammootty in Thalapathi


Roja was one of the biggest hits in Mani Ratnam’s career and made him a popular name in Bollywood too. Set in the backdrop of terrorism, Roja laid the path for the careers of many actors including Arvind Swamy, Madhoo and Pankaj Kapoor.

Pankaj Kapoor and Arvind Swami in Roja


Another masterpiece from the genius, the story of Bombay dealt with the riots the happened in Bombay in 1993 and how that impacted the lives of many back then.

The twin kids in Mani Ratnam’s Bombay


Iruvar was one of the biggest hits in the career of Mohanlal and Prakash Raj. Based on a political drama, Iruvar was the debut movie for Aishwarya Rai in Tamil movies.

Mohanlal and Prakash Raj in Iruvar


Mani Ratnam roped in R. Madhavan for this romantic drama who was a new face then. Madhavan today is one of the top actors in Indian cinema because of his adaptability and the actor credits the success to his mentor Mani Ratnam.

Shalini and Madhavan in Alaipyuthey

Aayutha Ezuthu:

Aayutha Ezuthu, also made in Hindi as Yuva, revolved around politics and students. Mani Ratnam once had said that he was inspired to write Aayutha Ezuthu after he learnt about the killing of a student in Osmania University, Hyderabad because of his political aspirations.

Aayutha Ezuthu


Abhishek Bachchan, who was looking for success in his career, came back in the limelight with this Mani Ratnam directorial. It was after Guru that Abhishek and Aishwarya got hitched.

Abhishek Bachchan in Guru

Which one is your favourite film of Mani Ratnam? Leave your comments in the box below.


    Rojas masterpiece


    Hey! u missed Agni natchathiram😃 prabhu and karthick awesome acting. foot tapping music from isaignani. fabulous camera fromPCS🗣🗣🗣🗣


    Alwaya Mouna Ragam ,Anjali, Geetanjali


    mouna raagam and Geetanjali




    This post has too many mistakes. The writer did not seem to have actually watched these movies. or learned how to write correctly. To say Iruvar was a hit is laughable but one of the biggest hits of mohanlal and prakash raj?? LMAO


      Check Wikipedia




    Kannatthil muthamittal is missed. Nayagan is one of the best


    You forgot Kannathil Muthamittal


    Yuva was a terrific story. And amazing acting by the complete cast.


    Thalapathi is the best of all.


    Iruvar is about MGR not Sivaji. Get your facts right. And your grammar too.


    You have got ANjali’s story wrong. The child grows up till the age of 4 in a hospital/foster care and then she is brought home to her actual parents.


    Guru guru guru

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