Time is Mani (o Il Viaggio di Raavan a Venezia)

I always wondered when I’d get around to using that line.  

It’s a phrase that  a friend exclaimed  in Tamil class one day (because we had just been told the Tamil word for time is indeed  “mani”).

But now, it all seems strangely prophetic in a way…..

If anyone ever had any doubts about whether Italians deserve all the credit they get for having exquisite taste in anything and everything related to art, design and beauty, this just goes to further prove the notion true: at the 67th Venice International Film Festival this September, Mani Ratnam will be receiving the 2010 Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award.

In previous years, the award has been given to honor other major filmmakers: Takeshi Kitano, Abbas Kiarostami, Agnes Varda, and Sylvester Stallone.   (Yes, that last one completely baffles me too, but, hey, he is a son of the soil after all”¦)

Here’s how Venice Film Festival Director Marco Mueller explains the selection of Mani Sir for the award:

“Mani Ratnam used to make movies only in his native tongue, Tamil, but has been one of a handful of filmmakers to successfully handle the transition to the All-India market.   One of the great innovators in contemporary Indian cinema, he helped introduce the auteur concept to contemporary Bollywood.   His movies display precision and poise, and have always been removed from the bombast and bluster of mass-produced regional cinema. The lavish musical numbers in his films, some of the best-tailored in Mumbai and Madras in recent years, have influenced the style of many others (as well as the design of commercials and music videos). Ratnam’s most celebrated films have become part of the cinematic imagination of the sub-continent.”

Not very happy  about  Signore Mueller’s rather dismissive reference to the “…bombast and bluster of mass-produced regional cinema…” especially after just having seen the superhero story Singam a few hours ago, but let’s  keep it focused on Mani for the moment…

To coincide with the award to Mani Ratnam, the Mostra will host the festival premiere of Ravaan, with Mani Sir, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Vikram, and A.R. Rahman all present for the occasion.   It will be presented at the 2010 Mostra in both the Hindi and Tamil versions.

Raavan is produced in association with Reliance Big Pictures and distributed internationally by Reliance Big Pictures and IM Global.

In addition to the award, Mani Ratnam will receive   a Reverso Jaeger-LeCoultre watch, with a commemorative engraving.

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