Mani Ratnam’s Nawab (2018) Movie Review
Star Cast: Arvind Swami, STR, Arun Vijay, Vijay Sethupathi, Jayasudha, Jyotika, Aishwarya Rajesh, Aditi Rao Hydari, Thiagarajan, Prakash Raj, and Dayana Erappa.
Music Composed by A R Rahman
Cinematography by Santosh Sivan
Directed by Mani Ratnam
When you watch a movie, what do you want to take away from it with you? Nice songs? Great Performances? Hilarious comedy? Overall experience? Or a simple feel-good factor that makes you forget your sorrows? Your necessity might be anyone, but a filmmaker becomes the decider of what he wants you to take home with you. 90% of them are not interested in your word appreciation as they money bills to register more. So, you get what you deem to regularly accept in proportion to make believe that you watched something new or got entertained for that minute. Rest of them, need your attention, need your time and need your knowledge too. They want to tell you something and Mani Ratnam is headmaster of that college.
Now, what is his new movie all about? What did he really want to say? He wanted you to watch how power corrupts. He wanted you to witness what if selfishness becomes a greater ideology rather than togetherness and unity. If your parents don’t encourage you to be united and become symbols of “idealistic” social people, then you become enemies of society that needs to be eradicated. They have no concern or emotion towards each other or ailing parents. All they care about is themselves and a small disruption in the balance that they live can cause for a huge chaos.
In this chaos, sometimes society can become the shrewd policeman who twists every opportunity in his favour to take a revenge against for being crooked and bad. For not being the idealistic person but being a ridiculous outlaw who wants to rule them from a transparent window of secrecy. This film is not about Vardhan, Thyagu or Ethi/Rudra. It is about them being the lawbreakers who either needed to be eradicated when the time is right or caged. They can’t be caged as they are too powerful and criminally talented for that, hence eradicating is the only option.
Crimson Red Sky, resembles Dawn or Dusk during a day. If it is Dusk in one part then Dawn in some other area. Similarly, the Dusk of a great empire of a mafia don results in the Dawn of a clean city. It might not remain the same for long but for that moment the crisis created by that one person to ascend to power can be ended with no collateral damage, at least. Here crisis is created by Senapathi/Bhoopathi to become the Lion of the pack and rule everyone under his iron fist like a King. He triggered his own end too like a powerful clan of Yadavas – War within. He is so selfish in his ascend that he even left scars in his relationship with his wife and their family.
He sows seeds for his own destruction like a King who marries many women and ill-treats one or two of them, for their sons to then wage a war among themselves and weaken the kingdom they built. Not every such story has an Ashoka or Chandragupta Maurya or Sri Krishna Devaraya. Some stories have Aurangzeb and many others have an outsider breaking everything into pieces with ease. This is about that situation which needs to be seen with disdain but not connect with it emotionally. Still, even they are humans and they have a story too.
Drutharastra couldn’t control his sons but if they were no Panduraju and hid sons Pandavas, the end of Duryodhana could have come in the hands of morally twisted Karna. This story is all about that. Mani Ratnam masterfully used AR Rahman‘s music, Santhosh Sivan‘s visuals to make us notice how coward heroic acts lead to bigger self-destruction and resentment from people whom we trust the most. There are flaws like the story starting from the middle rather from the start but the beauty of this commercial abstract lies in its abstractness than the complete picture. Here the moral compass is society using the cowardly powerful to become really powerful.
With any other filmmaker, this story would have been about betrayal but this is about power hungry people who don’t have any kind of empathy. So, Mani brings Orange and blues to the scenes to make us believe in Coldness of the atmosphere that the story happens. The past is all hinted in dialogues as that makes them too human. They are inhuman and anti-society. He doesn’t want them to be our heroes hence they don’t have qualities that you desire like Nayagan’s Kamal Hassan. These people want World to believe that they don’t have any secrets while they actually are cowards hoping to be ready to beat their enemy down and identify. Look how Jayasudha identifies enemies through the glass knowing that she herself raised them like Mother Earth feeling bad to have created a life that ultimately is leading to her death. No one in the movie is happy or relaxed, they do things as they wish and when they wish. They have no emotions and hence, the person with more emotion is Vijay Sethupathi. (Watch his reaction to Simbu thing his family members). Mani Ratnam laced the movie with such nuances all over for us to pick up and run. Even if you don’t you get your “Cool” movie with stunning visuals.