Filmmaker Mani Ratnam, who is known for his reserved demeanor, made an exception and went live with his wife Suhasini on her instagram page to chat with his fans and also answer questions from them and celebrities. In what could be termed as a one-of-its-kind interaction, the veteran filmmaker opened up on a lot of things via a live chat session which was hosted by his wife.
Hundreds of fans sent videos of themselves asking questions and a select few were answered by the Roja filmmaker. Apart from fans, the live session was also joined by R Madhavan, Aditi Rao Hydari and Khushbhu Sundar among others. One of the highlights of the session was the interaction with Madhavan. Suhasini pointed out that Madhavan changed Mani Ratnam’s life by introducing him to golf. Madhavan joked about how he challenged Ratnam to beat him at the game; the actor said he beat the crap out of him.
Madhavan also asked him about a cheesy, filmy dialogue from their film Alaipayuthey (which is celebrating its 20th anniversary). The scene takes place in a train and Ratnam said he was more worried about filming it because he had two trains only for a few hours.
Actor Anu Haasan joined the conversation and made Ratnam participate in a rapid-fire round from questions ranging from Covid-19 pandemic to what makes the Haasan women unbearable. On his biggest lesson learnt from lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic, Ratnam said: “Being in Zen mode.”
Answering the question about the Haasan women, Ratnam said they’re quiet, in a sarcastic tone. Veteran actor Poonam Dhillon asked Ratnam about his casting process. She wanted to know if he chooses extraordinary actors for his characters or change normal actors into extraordinary ones. Answering Dhillon’s question, Ratnam said that he usually pleads his actors to ‘act well’. He added that they just do the exact opposite. He says extracting the best performance is not a technique but a search together (with his actors) to find the right thing.
Aditi Rao Hydari, who worked with the auteur in two films, asked him how he finds the right actor for the role. Ratnam said that he always looks for somebody who’d give him the least trouble. “It should also feel right. You don’t always end with your first choice. Good casting is actually half the work done. I am not looking for someone who does exactly what I say. He/she has to put in something extra,” he elaborated.
Answering some questions from fans, Ratnam clarified why he isn’t interested to make a film or show for OTT platforms. “If I have been playing tennis for 20 years and you ask me to play football, it won’t work. One should do what they are good at,” he said.
Ratnam also confirmed that he’s making his upcoming magnum opus, Ponniyin Selvan, based on the popular Tamil epic novel, in two parts. A fan asked Ratnam if he ever wanted to act. Suhasini said that Rajinikanth’s daughter asked him once. Ratnam said he said no, only because it is better that way.
The filmmaker also confirmed that his next project, which will be after Ponniyin Selvam, will be in Hindi. “I am currently trying to write a script. But it hasn’t moved an inch forward. That will be in Hindi.”
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