**  MR - Mani Ratnam
  Q. Have you ever thought that ROJA would be such a hit ?
 MR. No, it was really a surprise to me. The previous film
     was a flop. There aren't any kind of formulae for hits.
     I don't pay attention to anything. That is the reason why
     hits like that, thrill me.
  Q. Were you satisfied with your movie ? If you were to change
     something in a movie like ROJA, what would you have changed ?
 MR. It is an imaginery question. We can make a movie better. 
     To do that, we would have to remove something.
  Q. That means more PATRIOTISM, less LOVE STORY ?
 MR. I have clear sense of that movie. I will change only if I
     compromise on any changes. In that movie, I made the
     FIRST HALF, only for the sake of SECOND HALF. The real
     story is in the second half only. 
  Q. How long does it take for you to complete a movie ?
 MR. Approximately One Year.

  Q. Is it true that you don't start the movie, until the 
     script is complete ?
 MR. I like to start shooting with a completed script. But, it
     never happens that way. After shooting starts, more ideas
     come to the mind. We make changes. Nearly 75% would be as
     planned before, 25% gets changed.
  Q. Which one of your movies is your best ?
  Raju Kalidindi :   Nayakudu !!

 MR. It is difficult to pick that way. I worked really hard for
     NAYAKUDU. Kamal acted magnificiently. If the hero also pays
     attention to the scene, there would be a slight relief to 
     the director. So, the responsibility is not totally on the
  Q. What is your strength as a director ?
 MR. On the whole, I have a sense of the production of a movie.
     To make a movie, this is a necessity. I don't feel that
     my role is finished, after I shoot one or two great looking
     scenes. I participate in the preparation of the whole script.
     I know, what my mind is and what I am. The magazines are
     writing that I am a great director. As far as I am concerned,
     I am just a story teller. To me, "How the story is being
     presented" is more important than the technique.
  Q. Why do you prefer variety in your subjects ?
 MR. We will be fresh, only if we make films which have variety.

  Q. Why did you pick a contraversial subject, like the BOMBAY
     riots ?
 MR. I don't agree that it is contraversial. Mine is a possitive 
     movie. I decided to show how it feels to be trapped in such
     situations like riots.
  Q. Isn't it surprising for an outside person to make a movie
     on BOMBAY riots ?
 MR. How can I be an outsider ?  I am an Indian. The movie is not
     about BOMBAY riots alone. The movie shows a llot of problems
     that India is facing today.
  Q. Did you have to do a lot of research, in making this movie ?
 MR. Needed to go to Bombay on numerous occasions. I made a lot
     of documentaries. I discussed with those journalists, who
     extensively covered the Bombay riots. Times Of India,
     Indian Express, India Today newspapers gathered a lot of
     information. I read all the news that was published by
     the magazines and the newspapers during the time of the
     riots. The state of India at that time is what the movie
     is all about.
  Q. What if people don't appreciate this movie ?
 MR. I had four movies in a row, that were flops. It can't
     me more depressing than that. Recently, even DONGA DONGA
     has not done well. Sometimes, these kind of things are

  Q. You have some weaknesses. What is your weakness as a 
     director ?
 MR. I don't know each and every detail of all the parts of a movie.
     Once, a woman movie fan told me that Madhubala had excessive
     makeup in ROJA. "After her husband is kidnapped, how can a 
     wife have makeup ?" She asked. It's true. So, in order that
     such mistakes don't repeat in future, I decided to take 
     her as my assisstant.
  Q. Lastly, are you making a movie with Amitabh ?
 MR. As far as I know, NO.
  Q. But, there are rumours.
 MR. I have heard them too.
     I have met him only once.
     To tell you the truth, I don't have a story for him, right now.

nb : Actually this interview was conducted by a Telugu magazine and so Nayakudu
is the Telugu dubbing of Nayagan and Donga Donga is the dubbing of Thiruda
Thiruda ...
Maniratnam page