A Director's Bucket List

Updated: Jul 15, 2020


37 years ago, an inexperienced filmmaker made his directorial debut in Kannada. The film went on to win a Karnataka State Film Award for Best Screenplay. And that marked the beginning of a legend, Padma Shri Mani Ratnam.

Every filmmaker has a style of his own that later turns out to be his/her trademark. Similarly, Mani Ratnam etches a scene so deep into one's memory that every time a scene or song pops up, we are instantly transported to the shooting location. Here are a few such sites that witnessed these iconic moments.

A love train:

Tambaram Railway Station
Proposal scene from Alaipayuthey (2000)

In an era where love proposals were 5 minutes long with dragged out drama, here is a beautiful scene that was not over 20 seconds long, and an entire generation fell in love. Those 5 lines that Madhavan uttered are chiseled in everyone's memory.

"Naan unnai virumbale, Un mele aasa padale, Nee azhaga irruke nu nanaikille, Aana idhellam nadandiruthom nu bayama irukku. Yoschu sollu."

Which literally translates to, " I do not love you, I never wanted you, I never found you pretty. I'm just scared all this might actually happen. Think about it."

The scene was shot at Tambaram Railway Station of the Chennai Suburban Railway Networks. To choose a railway station for such a view is just sheer brilliance. The subtle background elevated the scene to ultimate cuteness.

Behne De:

The literal translation of Behne De is 'let it flow' referring to the falls in the backdrop and metaphorically to life in general. Athirappilly Falls isn't just any shooting spot, but one the most favorite ones! In addition to the many Indian films, a bunch of Hollywood films were shot here too.

The Athirappilly Falls is located in the Trissur district of Kerala on the Chalakudy River. It is the largest waterfall in Kerala, hence nicknamed 'The Niagara of India.'

Bekal Fort:

Love is a feeling that is blind to many boundaries like gender, religion, caste, and geographical borders. Bombay is one such film that brings out the struggles of such love. The song Uyire is still instilled in our distant memories. Ever wondered where it could have been shot?

Bekal Fort, the most massive fort of Kerala, is situated in the small town of Kasargod. With three-quarters of the fort in contact with the ocean, it almost appears to emerge from the sea. It was extensively used for keeping a check on naval attacks from various kingdoms. The view of the Arabian Sea from the fort is worth your time.

Sun and Rain:

Here are two completely contrast scenes. In Thalapathi, Rajnikanth and Shobhana break up due to age-old caste issues. As Shobhana walks away from him, he looks at her with utmost grief as the sun sets in the background. The BGM aggravates the pain to such an extent that even a five-year-old understands what Surya is going through. In Guru, Sujatha finds the strength to leave her house for love. She dances to the pouring rain in pure joy. This song remains one of the favorite dance numbers for many. Both scenes were shot at the same place.

Rayagopura, Melkote Situated in the Mandya district of Karnataka, Melkote, is one of the many sacred places in the state. It is built on rocky hills and houses multiple temples and ponds. One of the temples is dedicated to Lord Narasimha. It also houses the Rayagopura, a famous incomplete entrance to the temple built by a Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana. The four unfinished pillars, with their intricate carvings, look stunning against the clear blue sky. There is folklore around this structure. The sculptor and his team were challenged to complete the construction in one night. While the team was diligently at work, the opponents rang the morning bells at 2, instead of 5 in the morning. Disheartened, the sculptor abandoned the site, and the structure stands incomplete to this day.

Maybe that's why they say, some things are better left undone.

With that said, we need to appreciate the mastermind Mani Ratnam is. This isn't just a tribute from a movie lover, but also a heartfelt gratitude post from someone who traveled places through his films. Do let us know in the comments section below, your favorite scenes/songs from his movies!

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