Veteran director Mani Ratnam conducted the first masterclass of Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2023
A conversation on his experiences, journey, and his work
Mumbai, 28 October 2023:
Living up to the hype around all one can learn at a festival as dynamic as this one, the Jio MAMI (Mumbai Academy of Moving Images) Mumbai Film Festival 2023 hosted its first Masterclass with director Mani Ratnam in conversation with director Imtiaz Ali. During their two-hour discussion, Mani Ratnam spoke about cinema as a craft and the filmmakers’ experience when navigating the world of filmmaking. Mani Ratnam was also awarded the MAMI Excellence in Cinema Award (South Asia) for his outstanding contributions to the world of cinema, during the Opening ceremony of Jio MAMI.
With a career spanning four decades, Mani Ratnam is one of South Asia’s most respected and well renowned filmmakers. He’s dealt with a diverse set of topics, ranging from love sagas to political dramas and human-interest stories.
At the Jio MAMI Masterclass, he spoke about his early influences and how he didn’t know anything about filmmaking when he was starting out as a director. He discussed how he finds stories and hooks in every situation and experience of his life. In terms of his process, his story, he explains, leads everything else, from actor choice to language and setting of the film. His creative process is also a culmination of the different roles he takes on. As a writer, Mani Ratma emphasized on how to create a world and a story. He explained how it’s easy for him to create intelligent and complex female characters since he’s simply imitating reality. When he moves on to directing, he stressed on how it is imperative to leave behind the idea you had in your head as a writer and reinvent the film on set. And on editing, it is about detachment. He also pointed out how the filmmaking process becomes more fun when his actors aren’t entirely obedient, contributing and offering creative inputs throughout the filmmaking process.
He discussed working with different talents and recalled meeting AR Rahman in a makeshift garage studio and being swept away by his atmospheric music. In terms of reception, the directors also stressed on the importance of failures and how they’re learning opportunities. As a filmmaker, he also explained how it is important for him to find a balance between the things he likes and the things audiences like.
In a packed theatre, cinephiles, directors, young actors, writers, cinematographers enjoyed the conversation and Mani Ratnam’s smart and humble observations, while seizing the opportunity of interacting with him.
His recent blockbuster hits Ponniyin Selvan part I and II are also being screened at the Jio MAMI Mumbai film festival.
Mani Ratnam’s work is known for his intimate portrayal of different characters, the boldness with which he delves into a variety of societal and cultural milieus and the finesse with which he crafts complex and nuanced themes for his films. Among his standout works are his debut film Pallavi Anupallavi (1983) which won him the State Award for Best Screenplay. His Mouna Ragam (1986) won the National Award for Best Tamil Film and his next, Nayakan (1987), is now a landmark in the Indian film landscape. Some of his other standout films include Roja (1992), Bombay (1995), Iruvar (1997), Alaipayuthey (2000), Kannathil Muthamittal (2002) and Guru (2007). In 2002, he was awarded the Padma Shri, and at the Venice Film Festival in 2010 he was awarded the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award. Among the many talents he discovered are music maestro AR Rahman for Roja.
The most prestigious South Asian Film Festival, Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival has returned on ground after three years, and spans 8 venues across Mumbai, with screenings and events between October 27 and November 5, 2023. It is actively building an ecosystem for cinematic voices across the region and beyond.
About Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival:
Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, organised by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), has brought the best of contemporary world cinema and talent to the city of Mumbai since 1997. With its new expanded vision to spotlight South Asian and South Asian diaspora filmmakers, Jio MAMI becomes the Hub for South Asia, discovering and connecting emerging talent to the worldwide festival ecosystem.
Along with celebrating cinematic excellence and bringing joy to our audiences, we aim to facilitate the exchange of ideas and provide easy access to information related to filmmaking, funding, film distribution, business opportunities, and strategic marketing support for films and filmmakers. The festival also conducts a robust Year Round Programme that acts as a hub for creators and cinephiles through screenings, networking opportunities, access to labs and workshops for skill development, masterclasses, and, very importantly, creating a community of cinema lovers.
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