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Nayakan was successful; Manithan did far better: Mani Ratnam responds to the reception to the Rajinikanth-starrer

Despite facing competition from Manithan, Nayakan became a commercial success, as it ran for over 175 days in theatres

  • Team OTTplay

Last Updated: 02.41 AM, Jun 05, 2022

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Nayakan was successful; Manithan did far better: Mani Ratnam responds to the reception to the Rajinikanth-starrer
Kamal Haasan, Mani Ratnam and Rajinikanth in Manithan

Mani Ratnam, arguably one of the country's finest filmmakers, celebrated his 66th birthday a few days ago. Although he's made several films, the auteur will be remembered as the man who made Nayakan. This October will mark 35 years of the Kamal Haasan-starrer. The film, also starring Saranya Ponvannan, Nizhalgal Ravi, Janagaraj, Tinnu Anand, and others, hit the screens on October 21, 1987. The film was crucial as it was a Deepavali release.

Mani Ratnam recently took part in a celebration of Nayakan’s upcoming 35th anniversary. Director Vetrimaaran asked the filmmaker how he came up with the idea for Nayakan and his reaction to Rajnikanth's Manithan, which, at the time, earned more than Nayakan.

"Growing up, we all experience some kind of trigger that propels us to the next stage. Certain movies act as catalysts. I am happy that Nayakan was the reason for several others to become a filmmaker," observed Mani Ratnam, adding, "Similarly, the next generation will have the films of Gautham Menon, Vetrimaaran, Bala, and Selvaraghavan, as the trigger point. It has more to do with the aspiring director finding the medium and language. It will happen again and again!"

Additionally, Mani Ratnam addressed the issue of highly artistic works failing to find a wide audience.

"Nayakan was successful," Mani Ratnam admits. "I was very, very happy with the film. It did very well," he said, adding he couldn’t have asked for more. "Yes, Rajinikanth's Manithan did far better," Mani Ratnam acknowledged. "It’s fine with me," he noted.

Mani Ratnam said he didn’t come into films with an intention of making something more successful than others. "That’s not why I was into films. We wanted to do a kind of thing; yes. At the same time, we wanted to do it within the commercial framework. As long as it satisfies both, we are happy."

Nayakan was notable for its frame-within-the-frame technique of filmmaking, which was suggested to Mani Ratnam, by PC Sreeram.

Interestingly, Nayakan was dubbed in Telugu under the title, Nayakudu. It was also remade in Hindi as Dayavan, in 1998. Despite facing competition from Manithan, Nayakan became a commercial success, as it ran for over 175 days in theatres.

Nayakan has been voted one of Time magazine's top 100 films.

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