Mani opens up on why it took so long for him to collaborate with Kamal again - Hindustan Times

Mani Ratnam explains why it took so long for him to collaborate with Kamal Haasan again: ‘It’s tough…'

Jan 11, 2024 06:39 PM IST

After receiving an award, director Mani Ratnam was asked why he hadn’t worked with Kamal Haasan after 1987. Here’s what he had to say.

Director Mani Ratnam and actor Kamal Haasan created magic when they worked together on the 1987 film Nayakan. The film is an epic crime drama loosely based on The Godfather. The duo is working together again on a film called Thug Life. When asked at the CNN-News18 Indian Of The Year 2023 why it took them so long to collaborate again, here’s what the director had to say. (Also Read: Kamal Haasan announces Thug Life, an action film with Mani Ratnam, on birthday eve)

Kamal Haasan in a still from Thug Life
Kamal Haasan in a still from Thug Life

‘You don’t approach him just because…’

Mani stated that he did not work with Kamal in these three decades because he didn’t have a script that suited him. “It’s tough when you have an actor of that capability, someone who has done several things. So unless you have at least something halfway solid to give, you don’t go to him just because you’ve worked together before. Hopefully, we will now be able to bring a unique character on-screen in our next,” he said.

‘Stars don’t have egos with me’

Mani has worked with several stars throughout his career, including the likes of Kamal, Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Nagarjuna, Rajinikanth, Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Manisha Koirala and more. When asked how it feels to handle such big stars, he said, “I don’t think big stars have any egos when they’re working with me. If you’re clear on what you want, they’re more than happy to let you take control. I also don’t work with actors for the sake of it, I do it only if the script demands it.”

About Thug Life

Thirty-six years after Nayakan, Kamal announced Thug Life on Mani’s birthday in November 2023. He released a title announcement video which shows a lone figure standing in the middle of a barren, misty land. Covered in a cloak, he faces five men standing at a distance, holding various weapons, ready to charge at him. The camera then reveals Kamal's face with a dense moustache, beard and long locks. After eliminating all the men, he smiles at the camera, as the title is revealed. Jayam Ravi, Trisha, Dulquer Salmaan, Abhirami, and Nasser will also star in this film which will see music by AR Rahman.

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