Five of his best films are listed below;
An adaptation of The Godfather, Nayakan told the tale of a don, Velu Nayakan, who turns into Robin Hood. Featuring Kamal Haasan in the lead role, the film was definitely a turning point in the actor’s career. The film won three National Awards for Best Actor, Best Cinematography, and Best Art Direction.
Mani Ratnam’s masterpiece is included in TIME’s ‘All-Time 100 Best Films’ and CNN-IBN’s ‘100 greatest Indian films of all time’.
A beautifully crafted piece of cinema set in the backdrop of terrorism, Roja depicted love torn between politics and terrorism. The unforgettable chemistry between the leads – Arvind Swamy and Madhoo and made it a classic. AR Rahman debuted as a music composer with the film and won several awards.
Roja bagged 3 National Awards Best Film on National integration, Music Direction, and Best Lyrics.
Another work of art from the virtuoso, Bombay was based around the riots in 1993. The second in Mani Ratnam’s love and political series, Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala play two people in love who elope to Bombay to marry each other. Bombay too earned the National Award for Best Film on national integration.
Another extraordinary classic made with the combination of Mani Ratnam’s mind and AR Rahman’s music. The story traced a love saga of a civilian and a terrorist. It was the third of Ratnam’s “Terrorism trilogy” that illustrated human relationships affected by Indian politics.
The film was counted in Time Magazine’s ‘Best of Bollywood’ list. The film got a special mention for Ratnam at the Berlin International Film Festival. It won two National Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Audiography.
Kannathil Muthamittal (2002)
Mani Ratnam roped in R. Madhavan for this musical war drama. Ratnam created history with Madhavan in his debut film, Alaipayuthey.
The film swept awards for each nomination and has won a total of 40 awards since it was released. The film got six National Film Awards including Best Feature Film in Tamil, Best Music Direction, Best Audiography, and Best Editing.
Some of the best Tamil songs were produced by Mani Ratnam and A R Rehman combo.