Powerful Women Portrayed Beautifully By Mani Ratnam Sir

Powerful Women Portrayed Beautifully By Mani Ratnam Sir

Mani Ratnam

Mani Ratnam. The Vision, The Magic

First and foremost, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY GURUNATHA MANI RATNAM SIR! My love and fascination for cinema grew after watching Mani’s Sir’s films very fondly.

Mani Ratnam, the finest director of his generation, has often demonstrated that he is a profoundly sensitive person on the inside. We know this because the female leads in his films are strong, deep, sensitive, and incredibly lovely characters. The portrayal of women in Mani Ratnam’s films has evolved throughout time, yet we see women in all aspects simply holding their ground strong and steadfast.

Mani Ratnam’s movies include women characters played by actors like Shobana, Manisha Koirala, Nithya Menen, Revathi, Saranya up till Aditi Rao Hydari now. Mani Ratnam, one of the most important filmmakers in the Indian film industry, has consistently inspired audiences by casting inspirational ladies in his films. They are noted for being compassionate yet strong-willed, as well as lovingly obstinate. His films’ strong female protagonists have always been able to take off their roles amazingly.

Mani Ratnam has a talent for penetrating women’s hearts. It’s as if these ladies come to him and tell him their darkest secrets, and he finally carves figures out of them. We observe the actors who chose to play the director’s characters melt into their roles simply by looking at them – grief, happiness, fear, anger, wrath, love, emptiness, practically every emotion.

What began as Divya & Roja is now thriving as Tara and Leela. The audience clearly recalls the names of these ladies from the film because of the distinctiveness of their characters, the extreme compassion with which they are treated, but most importantly, they are relevant to women of all generations. To play any female character in a Mani Ratnam film, an actress must commit emotionally and physically in order to flow and recreate exactly what this magician of a filmmaker has in mind.

I have compiled some noteworthy female characters from Mani Ratnam’s films that I personally admire so much.

Top 10 Female Characters by Mani Ratnam

1. Revathi as Divya in Mouna Ragam

Of course, who can forget ‘Mouna Raagam,’ one of the most epic love stories. Divya’s persona was brilliantly represented. She is the lady who is trapped between her former love and her current marriage. She is full of conflicting emotions. The film was well ahead of its time, and she was the girl who got soaked and arrived home late when the groom’s family came to see her. She wants to live her life on her own terms and tells her spouse she wants a divorce shortly after they marry. Forever a character we can never get over.

2. Saranya Ponvannan as Neela in Nayagan

Neela has endured — a young woman with a million hopes has been thrown into a misery that no one deserves. Neela’s life was a pain, and her life ended in sorrow, yet death was a better release than life itself. She desired to be educated, to accomplish, and to reach for the stars, but patriarchy drew her down into the sewers. But she kept believing in men and the love they share.

She fell in love with Velu, formed a family and devoted her life for the guy she loved since it was her one and only genuine escape from this unfair world. Probably one of the most underrated characters of Mani Ratnam has to be Neela.

3. Revathi as Chitra in Anjali

It’s impossible to imagine what Chitra would have gone through. Mr. Ratnam was most likely one of the few creators who depicted several types of parenthood. He describes, via his ladies, how each unique mother gives birth to a completely different emotion when she gives birth to a child. Chitra appears to be a regular caring mother on the surface, but her dread of losing her kid haunts her every day. She wants Anjali to have a fairly normal life, but she is worried that doing so would cause her to die sooner rather than later. Revathi captures this dilemma brilliantly via her eyes.

4. Manisha Koirala as Banu In Bombay

Even in the late 1990s, if a woman married a man of another faith, she was expected to quit her own. However, Banu from the film ‘Bombay’ was a warrior. She loved her husband and his family, but she never lost up on her religion, family, love, and quest for unity. She does leave her family to marry a Hindu Brahmin, but she does not abandon her beliefs. Her character, too, was ahead of her time when she left her conventional family to marry her boyfriend from another caste.

5. Simran as Indira in Kannathil Mutthamittal

Kannathil Muthamittal is a Sri Lankan conflict drama starring Simran and Madhavan. Simran portrayed a mother who adopts a daughter in the film. Despite doing everything she can for her kid, she is constantly concerned about how things would turn out once they meet the true mother.

Indira is the mother the world does not comprehend, shattering all conventional judgments and stigmas around adoption. She adores her adoptive child. Regardless of what the world thinks, these two will reach for the stars. Indira’s love for her adoptive kid is as strong as her love for her own children. Her kid was her precious something, a future queen with wit, love, and vitality, much like Indira herself. Indira’s uninvited love demonstrates that motherhood does not have to be biological to be powerful.

Mani Ratnam

6. Meera Jasmine as Sasi / Esha Deol as Geethanjali and Trisha as Meera in Aayutha Ezhuthu

There is a reason I have picked all 3 of the characters, Literally. I have seen people mentioning the most about Meera Jasmine’s character as Sasi but I also feel the other 2 women must be mentioned.

In the film Aayutha Ezhuthu, Meera Jasmine plays the wife of a goon. She was regarded as one of the most powerful female characters in Mani Ratnam’s films. Meera Jasmine has depicted what a lady goes through in her life effectively. She also had an abortion to demonstrate to her husband the agony of killing someone. Her goon spouse (Madhavan) was unstable, reckless, and aggressive. He adored her just as much as he tormented her. However, she was not the one who gave up hope. She is that driven lady. She is a woman who never gives up.

Geethanjali on the other hand was a smart girl. She was in love with Michael who was very active in his political advancements. She was head over heels over him and did not once doubt the love he had for her despite him being busy. She understands. She accepts him. She also is super supportive of him and encourages him. She is bold and brave to the extent that she even lies that she is pregnant so she can marry Michael. Funny but a cute character indeed.

Powerful Women In Mani Ratnam Films

Trisha as Meera is probably the accurate role of any girl who starts to fall in love with a guy. She is practical about her arranged marriage mappilai but she could not deny the fact that she fell in love with Arjun a witty jolly guy.

7. Shalini as Shakthi in Alaipaayuthey

Alaipayuthey is one of Mani Ratnam’s greatest films, and it provided us with some serious love ambitions. Shalini plays Sakthi, a short-tempered, independent girl torn between her family and the love of her life. She had the guts to get married in secret because she wanted to, she was brave to leave her house and her family. Shalini enchanted us all with her smiles and acting skills.

Shakthi from ‘Alaipaayuthey,’ as powerful as a woman may be, was gentle and sensitive. She was the most adored daughter, the most devoted lover, and the most patient wife. She is characterized by middle-class emotions such as wrath, despair, and happiness. She was sensitive, yet she was powerful in the eyes of the world.

8. Aishwarya Rai as Ragini in Raavanan

Mani Ratnam decided to do something unusual back in 2010. He released Raavanan and Raavan on the same day. The former was in Tamil, while the latter was in Hindi. Instead of just dubbing the film in multiple languages or providing subtitles, he chose to totally reshoot it with new actors. However, each have one thing in common: Aishwarya Rai and her role.

Ragini was a Sita like character. Loyal and a loving wife indeed. She starts to get feelings for Veera but brushes it off as she thinks about her husband. There is so much to say but here I am lost for words because of the role. Mani Sir… you are great.

Aishwarya Rai in Raavanan

9. Aditi Rao as Leela in Kaatru Veliyidai

Aditi Rao Hydari portrayed a vulnerable woman in the film Kaatru Veliyidai. She was portrayed as a doctor who falls in love with a hard headed man who ends up abusing her mentally and emotionally. She finds herself tangled between loving him or leaving him. Her heart is so soft she keep forgiving him. Despite her vulnerability and frailty, she remains strong and resolute as she waits for him to return. On the whole, she appears frail and fragile, yet on the inside, she is powerful and determined. Against all difficulties, she waits patiently for her love to return to her.

10. Jayasudha as Lakshmi Senapathi / Jyothika as Chitra / Aishwarya Rajesh as Renuka / Aditi Rao Hydari as Parvathi and Dayana Erappa as Chaaya in Chekka Chivantha Vaanam

A huge list. Yes I know. Do we need to emphasize on how important theri characters were in the film? Be it a cameo kind or very small screen space, they all nailed their roles so perfectly!

And trust me, I can go on and on about Mani Sir’s women portrayal literally but these are my top 10 films of more than just 10 characters. Just like everyone I am very excited for Ponniyin Selvan which is set to release 30th September 2022 with a star studded cast!

Nevertheless, now I feel like having a movie marathon. What is your pick?

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