51 thoughts on “First copy (it’s really real!)…

  1. Congrats. Getting a guy, who is not known to speak more than 2-3 sentences in one go, to speak enough to fill a book must have not been easy, leave alone the other hassles :-) Maybe as a bitty rumination, you can write about the making of the book someday

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  2. jussomebody/Bharathwaj: In November, I think… Ippozhudhukku naane packet-ai pirithu naane (manasukkul) ponnaadai pothi kondu naane mudhal pradhiyai petru konden :-)

    vijay: A lot of that is in my intro. “Other hassles,” of course, I cannot talk about :-)

    Kaushik: Don’t know boss…

    Niranjan: Started work around Sept/Oct 2010. ARR was Penguin’s idea, and once they decided on him, I went with my editor to meet him about writing the foreword.

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  3. Congratulations B! For someone in your profession who’s used to seeing his writing out in the public domain, is it a different sensation to seeing your words encapsulated in an actual physical book? To walk past a Landmark and to see it on shelves? A thrill in seeing someone pick it off the shelf, peruse it, and then head to the check out counter to purchase it?

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  4. As much as I want to read the book and get inside the head of Mani Ratnam, one of the main reasons I’m buying it is to find out the reason he broke off with Ilaiyaraja and went to ARR. I hope it’s in there!

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  5. BR – Congratulations! So well deserved. For someone who has lurked on this blog from the very beginning, this feels so right! But now we will have to share you with the whole world :-)

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  6. General request : Can anyone of you fine folks buy a copy when it comes out and post it ? I will pay the postage , just ping us back on the board and i will get our fine author BR to give you my email. Thanks.

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  7. congratulations..here’s raising the finest tumbler of spirited filter!
    any plans of bengaluru launch?

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  8. Eagerly awaiting the book. The penguin website has one-line reviews from Gulzar, Rajnikant and Kamal Hasan. No points for guessing whose one-liner says nothing about the book but instead about his role in Mani Ratnam’s career.

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  9. Pre-ordered on Kindle – Set to be delivered on 15 Oct – Why, oh why, is it being released on a Monday. This should have come on a Friday like a blockbuster so I could’ve spent the weekend reading it and listening to the wife curse Baddy :)

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  10. Great ! Congrats ! I just got back from India, would have loved to grab a copy.. in fact looked in the book shops just in case.. and yes who is next Kamal? K Balachander?

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  11. Satyam: Tried posting this on the link you provided but was unable to… (or maybe the comments are lined up in the moderation queue, in which case please delete those).

    Thanks for the early review. It’s a pleasure when someone has “read” the book exactly the way it was intended, with the dancing, the evasiveness, and everything including the fact that there is no cast-in-stone reading of these conversations.

    This is what I referred to in my interview with Jai Arjun Singh, that each reader if going to be empowered as a critic and is possibly going to come away with a slightly different reading of (a) Mani Ratnam in general, and (b) the specific nature of each conversation.

    The specific points you raise as cavils, I will address sometime in the future, after the fog of this moment has cleared. For one, I don’t want to come off as defensive. Two, my own wish of “if only’s” is probably longer than yours, given this subject and the stores of unused material I have in the vault.

    PS: I laughed out loud when you pointed to that “Kannathil” thing at the beginning, because that’s almost exactly how it played out.

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  12. Baradwaj, Somehow that comment went to spam. I have ‘rescued’ it and substituted this longer one for that. But you shouldn’t have any problems commenting in the future there. It shouldn’t go into moderation anymore (not that it did last time either).

    Your comment means a lot not least because I didn’t wish to seem unfair to you or Ratnam anywhere. I actually read the book twice before putting up that note, just in case I might have missed something somewhere. Needless to say this is a book to keep dipping into and I fully intend to do this. Interestingly there is the sort of elliptical structure to the conversations in many ways that one sometimes finds in later Ratnam, especially Raavan/Raavanan (though I continue to believe that the Tamil version is far less ‘radical’ for better or worse, for Tamil audiences as opposed to the Hindi one for its similar viewers.. partly for reasons of the different contemporary histories in each case and partly because of Vikram’s own signature) and these ‘blanks’ provoke thought on the work in any number of directions.

    As you might have seen in that thread my remark on the absence of a sustained discussion on actors led to some discussion and I should say that even as I defended the point I was making I am perhaps least happy in the note with this entire point. Perhaps tonally but also to the extent that it makes this criticism sound more profound than it’s intended to be. But to summarize briefly inasmuch as a Ratnam film is the sum total of all his choices and all the ‘effects’ he hopes to generate on the screen using these choices it seems to me that the actors are very much a part of this ultimate ‘text’ as much as say the sound cues or the ‘spontaneous’ choreography in a Nayakan song (to use an example the two of you discussed).

    Now I do concede that it is nonetheless also the case that every time you talk about actors you run the risk of introducing breaks in a ‘narrative’ which otherwise seamlessly flows from the thematic dissections to production decisions and so on. In other words I see how keeping the actors mostly at a distance and not inserting these ‘biographical’ pauses might be justified in terms of the book’s larger designs. My only ‘caveat’ I suppose would be that when one is discussing something like Iruvar (and some other similar films in the Ratnam canon) the actor(s) is the elephant in the room. If you have Kamalahasan instead of Mohanlal in Iruvar it’s a completely different film. And so even conceding the other side of this don’t you think that this approach runs the danger of reducing the discussion to a ‘novelistic’ one on cinema where the actors are just like characters in a book and as long as you have the latter written down and well-etched out the rest is immaterial? To be honest I believe Hitchcock was also uttering his famous ‘actors are cattle’ sentiment a bit tongue-in-cheek but in his cinema one can at least see, upto a point, how this ‘exaggeration’ perhaps works. It’s much harder to make a similar case for Ratnam. But again I don’t want to make too much of this. It’s more an ‘academic’ debate in some ways which is to say I don’t necessarily mean it to sound like a blemish on the work. Incidentally this is not an invitation to you to respond right away. I’d be interested in any comments you have on the book whenever you get around to them.

    But Hitchcock reminds me of something. I have actually never been a great fan of the Truffaut book though I do have this urge to revisit it in the light of your book. I was very tempted to say in the review (but didn’t because I don’t precisely recall the Truffaut at this point) that your joint effort with Ratnam exceeds his with Hitchcock because I don’t think Truffaut succeeded in drawing very much out of his maddeningly enigmatic subject. That book, again if I remember it well, works best as a window into Truffaut’s response to Hitchcock as well as the delineation of a certain French response to the same and only partially as a ‘key’ to the Hitchcock. I don’t think I was very illuminated by the book though I could be wrong.

    Thanks again for the comment..

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  13. Update: First print run of “Conversations with Mani Ratnam” is sold out. The second one arrived in stores today, in neat little cardboard boxes, like the one in Landmark where the manager asked me to autograph a few copies for their “author-signed” shelves. Author. Two of the sweetest syllables in the world.

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