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Mani Ratnam becomes first Tamil director to join Oscar panel; AR Rahman says 'welcome to the club'

Ponniyin Selvan filmmaker Mani Ratnam becomes the first Tamil director to join the Oscar panel. 

Mani Ratnam becomes first Tamil director to join Oscar panel; AR Rahman says 'welcome to the club'
Mani Ratnam discusses Ponniyin Selvan-1/Twitter

Last Updated: 11.02 AM, Jun 29, 2023


In a well-deserved recognition, filmmaker Mani Ratnam has been invited to join the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. He becomes the first Tamil director to become a member of the prestigious Oscar committee. The Academy on Wednesday extended 398 invitations to artists and executives from around the world. 

Mani Ratnam holds a special place in the history of Indian cinema and continues to remain one of the most influential filmmakers in the industry. He has inspired at least two generations of filmmakers in India and continues to be a force to reckon with at the box office. 

Ratnam made his directorial debut in 1983 with the Kannada movie Pallavi Anu Pallavi. And he caught the imagination of movie buffs across the country with Mouna Ragam. The 1986 drama narrated the tale of a strong-willed woman struggling to adjust to an arranged marriage. However, it was the release of Nayakan in 1987 that truly transformed Ratnam's career and left an indelible impact on Indian cinema. Starring Kamal Haasan in the lead role, Nayakan told a story of a gangster, who takes to crime to serve the poor and the downtrodden in Mumbai's slums. Drawing inspirations from Once Upon a Time in America and The Godfather, the film became a milestone in Tamil cinema, setting a new benchmark for mainstream movies with artistic sensibilities.

Ratnam became one of those rare mainstream filmmakers who could strike a fine balance between artistry and commercial success. He scored box office and critical hits with films like Agni Natchathiram, Anjali, Thalapathi, Roja and Bombay. And he peaked as a storyteller with the 1997 film Iruvar. Starring Mohanlal in the lead, the film was a quasi-biopic on the struggles and subsequent rise of movie-god MG Ramachandran. Ratnam continued to break new ground in storytelling with movies like Dil Se, Alaipayuthey, Kannathil Muthamittal, and Ravanan to name a few. 

"Congratulations #Manirathnam sir for becoming member of the @TheAcademy …. #Oscar #PS 1& 2 #Dilse #Roja #Bombay and many more! Welcome to the club," tweeted Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman, who has been Ratnam's permanent music composer since Roja. 

Ratnam is now basking in the success of Ponniyin Selvan 2, which was the culmination of his 30-year-long dream to turn writer Kalki's Tamil classic Ponniyin Selvan into a movie. 

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