Father-Son Relationship in Mani Ratnam’s movies

I have often wondered about the portrayal of father-son relationship in Mani Ratnam’s movies.

Characters played by Murali & Sarath Babu in Pagal Nilavu, Mohan in Mouna Raagam, Kamal in Nayagan, Mammootty in Thalapathy, Arvind Samy in Roja, Prashanth and Anand in Thiruda Thiruda, Mohanlal in Iruvar, Madhavan in Kannathil Muthamittal and Suriya & Madhavan in Aayitha Ezhuthu – Father of none of these characters are alive. In Nayagan and Aayitha Ezhuthu, it is evident from some scenes that their fathers have had a positive influence on Kamal and Suriya.

There is no mention about Raghuvaran’s parents in Anjali. I don’t remember about Geethanjali, Dil Se and Prakash Raj’s father in Iruvar. I have no idea about Idhaya Kovil, Pallavi Anupallavi and Unaru since I have not watched these movies.

Coming to the movies in which the fathers of the heroes are alive, characters played by Karthik & Prabhu in Agni Natchatiram, Arvind Samy in Bombay, Madhavan in Alaipayuthey, Madhavan in Dumm Dumm Dumm (Story & Screenplay is by Mani Ratnam for this movie), Siddharth in Aayitha Ezhuthu and Abhishek Bachchan in Guru – None of them share a great relationship with their fathers. The relationship between Arjun (Arvind Samy) & his father in Thalapathy is alone not strained.

In Agni Natchatiram, it’s only in the end that the sons make up with their father. In Bombay, it is only the father who finally comes to meet his son. In Alaipayuthey and Dumm Dumm Dumm, the sons don’t reconcile with their fathers at all. From the beginning, the relationship between Siddharth and his father in Aayitha Ezhuthu is not as bad as the above-mentioned ones and hence, theirs seems to be the one father-son relationship that really ends on a good note. In Guru, the father, though seems to do it half-heartedly, goes ahead and blesses his son despite his not being in favour of his son starting his own business. There is no mention of him in the movie after that.

Coming to the relationship between the heroes and their sons, the relationship between Raghuvaran and his son and daughters in Anjali is, of course, wonderful. In Nayagan, relationship between Kamal and his son, right from the time his son is a kid till his son’ death, is again pretty good and a moving one to watch. Relationship between Madhavan and his sons, though not given much importance in Kannathil Muthamittal, and the only scene in which he is directly interacting with his sons has him slapping one of his sons, still seems to be ok.

Still, on pondering about the father-son relationships, I wonder why in majority of Mani Ratnam’s movies, either the heroes’ fathers are no more or if their fathers are alive, they don’t share that great a relationship with them. Waiting to see if and how a father-son relationship is going to be portrayed in his next movie!

13 thoughts on “Father-Son Relationship in Mani Ratnam’s movies

  1. vidhya

    ahem ahem i cant think this much deep about anything nor i give importance why the father character was not there 😛 u got this father-son thinking after seeing varaanam aayiraam trailers??? Really a good post… No one can think like u 🙂

  2. sreekrishnanv

    good one…. something that mani’s life too has.. May be his dad didnt want him to be a filmmaker. You cant rule out personal situation.

    Heroines with cotton sarees/dresses
    Dad – Son relationship.

    let me add one more … every mani’s movie has one song more glamorous/vulgur than the actual movie it self. Mottamaadi Mottamadi was bit more for Anjali. Dont ask me whats in Kannathil – i thought Simran was hot in Sundarreee !

    btw: Father son relationship – not great ! … watched the movie First day … and got a review too …

  3. Madhusudhanan.J

    hmmmm…imressive…now I have to ponder ovwer it 🙂 Maybe something to do with his personal life!!maybe not!!:P VAARANAM AAYIRAM amazing movie!!! loved it !!! Father -son relationship is shown really good in the movie 🙂

  4. benly

    Ah! Even Mani wouldn’t have thought this much about father – son relationships in his movies :-).

    Vaaranam aayiram, though a bit dragged by two rescue acts in the second half, is a very nice movie. Its Surya all the way.

  5. Aparna

    🙂 Nope. I wanted to write this post even before VA.

    Btw, Vidhya, you mentioned about VA here & after that, every comment has something about VA 🙂

    Yup. Few of his initial movies had vulgar comedy too
    >thought Simran was hot in Sundarreee !

    Well WordPress doesn’t allow anyone other than the blog author to edit/delete comments. I did read your review of VA. I am planning to watch the movie. Just for Suriya 😉

    🙂 Yeah maybe. maybe not! God knows! Rather Mani knows 😛

    Sreekrishnan says father-son relationship is not that great and you are saying it’s really good! Contrasting opinions!


    >Its Surya all the way.
    And that’s one reason why I am going to watch the movie.

  6. Vijay Kumar

    Interesting observation. Seems to be a vital element in the auteurs’ gene code. If you have noticed in most of Spielberg’s hits (E.T, Indiana Jones, War of the worlds etc.) the father figure is usually estranged from the family or is absent altogether.
    You are on to something here.:)

  7. naane

    Good observation!. However as far as my Tamil cinema exposure goes… I could see this pattern in most of the movies. Anyway I guess there are only 3 options,
    1) No father
    2) Father with good relationship
    3) Father with strained relationship

    Mani Ratnam has to choose one of them based on the story… so whats the big deal!!!

    Is your boss on vacation ? :))

  8. Rakesh

    Nice observations 🙂
    Even in Pallavi Anu Pallavi the father – son relationship is not gud….. And u can find the reason behind that bad relationship in dat movie.
    In geetanjali father – son relationship is very gud i think(Though It has not much impact on the movie)

  9. Aparna

    Oh ok

    🙂 I have not watched Spielberg’s movies!

    >> Mani Ratnam has to choose one of them based on the story… so whats the big deal!!!

    Welcome to my blog! 🙂

    Oh. I know the story of Pallavi Anupallavi. No wonder the father-son relationship would have been bad.

  10. Rakesh

    >>Welcome to my blog! 🙂

    I read ur blog for the first time back in 2006 ….. Since then its part of my favourite links N I visit ur blog atleast once a day. Its even a wonder to me dat It took 2 long years for me to write something here(How lazy Iam 🙂 )
    Anyways from now u can see my name regularly here 🙂
    Thanks for ur excellent posts on Mani Sir N his movies…. Waiting for the next update in dat section :-w

  11. Aparna

    Oh 🙂 Then that must be a very belated welcome 😉

    >Its even a wonder to me dat It took 2 long years for me to write something here
    You commented at least now 🙂 I myself generally don’t comment in many blogs. There are many blogs in which I have not commented at all despite reading those for more than 3 years!

    Thank you. I have been trying to write one. Let’s see.


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