What's all this talk about Mani Rathnam being India's best director and so on? Honestly, when was the man's last good movie? Nayagan? Mouna Ragam? I admit, I liked Alaipayuthe in parts but then you don't look at a child and say how gorgeous are the toes while determinedly ignoring the warts on the face. I could barely sit through Dil Se. And as for Guru, let's not go there, shall we? Like the kind and like-minded husband pointed out, two hits and fifteen flops don't make a master. They only serve to make the good ones seem like anomalies in an otherwise extraordinarily dull career. And yet the man enjoys much popularity and a haloed status among movie goers. He is beyond criticism and his movies are analysed within a breadth of their rather flimsy life. How did he get there? How did he come to enjoy a status that sees stars queueing outside his door for a reportedly pittance of a fee despite his string of flops? How come he commands such a long leash from his audience who don't accord other film-makers the same privilege?
Mani has been clever in shrouding his projects in secrecy and staying away from the media glare. These have always added to a sense of intrigue that precedes the release of his movies. But none of that hype can take away from an otherwise mediocre product. I feel somewhere along the way Mani started believing in all the hoopla surrounding him and succumbed to it. He started taking himself too seriously and began sketching a canvas that was way beyond what his limited talents could handle. He offers such simplistic solutions to end communal riots and ethnic conflicts that beggar belief. And as for his attempts at biopics, he doesn't have the balls to go all the way and seems to find curious comfort in elaborate disclaimers at the start of the movie. This is the point in my rant when I say that I'm not a movie critic or an expert and just a regular enthusiast. But why bother? You probably know that already.