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Chitchat with Mani Ratnam

January 2, 2007

Mani Ratnam is in the city to participate in the audio launch of Gurukanth (telugu version of his Hindi film Guru) on the evening of 2 January at the Taj Banjara. He met the scribes for chitchat. Here are the excerpts –

What is Guru all about?
Guru is relevant for today. It also shows the changes taking place in India. It took a year to make this film.

There are rumors that Guru is based on the life story of Dhirubhai Ambani.
Guru is fiction. It could relate to any entrepreneur who came up in life without any background.

Why is it titled as Gurukanth for Telugu version instead of Guru?
Due to some local film chamber restrictions.

Is Guru a lifetime role for Abhishek Bachchan?
It is too early in his career to call any of his roles as lifetime roles.

Tell us about the role of Aishwarya Rai
She has donned the role of a middle class village girl.

You seem to be stuck with AR Rehman
We enjoy a good working relationship. He likes my films. I like his music. We are happy.

You have the habit of having an item song in every film
I enjoy shooting songs. I love narrating the story by giving it some mood with the help of songs. I make sure that all the songs in the film fit that requirement. The item song in this film comes when three Indian bachelors visit a place in Turkey.

Is Abhishek Bachchan – Aishwarya Rai’s off-screen compatibility a reason to cast them in lead roles of Guru?
No. I cast them because they are good for their respective characters. I do not go by their off-screen relationship.

How do you do the casting?
I have the script ready first. I look at the character, search for the suitable actor/actress, and approach them. If they also like the characters I offer them, they are signed up. Casting is a two-way thing. It should be good for both sides.

There is a rumor that Abhishek requested you to change the date of release from December 2006 to January 2007 because his astrologer predicted good days for him in 2007
No. Even if his astrologer tells him, he would not ask me such favors. The movie release process is completely driven by dynamics, which are not related to the issues you mentioned in any way.

Do you like commercial cinema or art cinema?
I love commercial films. I make commercial films. At the same time, I make sure that they are sensible, logical and real. I watched films before entering the industry. I know that it is extremely important to connect with the audience while narrating the story. I always keep in my mind that I should connect to the audience while making any film.

What is the USP (Unique Selling Point) of Guru?
Abhishek Bachchan. He plays a character with a time span of 30 years. He has done wonderful work.

When are you going to do a Telugu film again?
I will do it when I get the right script. I like making south films because I can make the film deep-rooted and flavored. I have the advantage of pushing the limits when I make south films.

You introduced Aishwarya Rai 10 years ago to the film industry and now she acted in Guru. Do you observe any change in her?
10 years back she struggled while speaking in Tamil with me. Now I struggle speaking Hindi with her (giggles). Now she is more mature on the histrionics front.

Did you watch any films recently?
No. I will start watching films from 13 January 2007. (Guru is releasing on 12 January 2007).

What is your next project?
It will be a Hindi film titled Lajjo with Kareena Kapoor.



More chitchats
Mohan Goteti
Ravi Varma
Reema Sen
Nayana Tara
RK (Hyderabad Nawabs)
Mohit Ahlawat
Sumanth 3
Dr. Haranath Policherla
Gangaraju Gunnam
Rama Rajamouli
Meera Chopra
Dil Raju 2
Mahesh Babu 3
Kalyani Malik
Sumanth 2
Sekhar Kammula 2
KM Radha Krishnan
D Rama Naidu
MS Raju
Puri Jagan
Anil Krishna
Allu Arjun
Krishnam Raju
Allari Ravi Babu
Ramana Gogula
YVS Chowdary
Sekhar Kammula
Madhu Sharma
KS Rama Rao 2
Mohan Babu 2
Sania Mirza
Suresh Kondeti
KV Ramana IAS
Vikram 2
Srikanth Chinnamatur
Prabhas 2
Satya Krishnanan
Prabhas 1
MRV Prasad
PG Vinda
Devi Sri Prasad
AM Ratnam 2
Sonu Sood
Ram Gopal Varma 3
Mahesh Babu 2
Vikram 1
Mohan Babu 1
KS Rama Rao 1
Dil Raju
Manyam Ramesh
Raghu Babu
Krishna Vamsi
Posani Krishna Murali
AS Ravi Kumar Chowdary
Sravanthi Ravi Kishore
MS Raju
AM Ratnam
Ram Gopal Varma 2
SS Rajamouli
Mahesh Babu
Ram Gopal Varma

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