IR the genius

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Re: IR the genius

Post  jaiganesh on Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:05 pm

crimson king wrote:Actually, I had used Zimmer's name to show that IR could be favourably compared to top notch Hollywood composers whereas the same cannot really be said if one compares MR to top Holly directors.  Of course, IR is beyond any of these directors  -BR, MR, KB - and he did what he wanted to irrespective of whom he was working with.  You are preaching to the choir.  Smile
indeed. 
first sign of genius is the "internalisation" of the process.
What they strived for and learnt - becomes so internalised that they are unable to separate it as 
a "thinking" process - it is more like habit and it becomes involuntary. For Raaja music is one such stuff..
I dont think apart from Ramanujan we have seen anyone with that gift/trait.. have we?

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Re: IR the genius

Post  crimson king on Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:22 pm

Certainly a trait that only a small and select group of people seem to possess through the history of time.  I wouldn't personally want to venture to enumerate all the ones who have possessed it but I am more than a little skeptical that either Mani or BR were like that.  They had some originality and some amount of vision.  Those are very commendable qualities but don't amount to genius.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  kiru on Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:40 pm

groucho070 wrote:
kiru wrote:To some extent I think I have a taste for good movies .. Mani Ratnam is a over-hyped director. He stands out because he is a smart individual like you and me and not like the bunch of idiots or school/college drop outs who think they have creative skills when they cannot memorize some ramayanam or silappathikaaram in school or college, but start directing/making movies (thanks to some equally dumb investors as well Smile )
A few days backs I tried to watch Raavan  and could not get past the pretentious direction/camera work and silly dialogues and closeups of Aishwariya Rai .. however beautiful she may look ..
In a way MR and Rahman are similar .. as they get older they want to produce more high quality work but they did not cultivate their creativity or improve their fundamentals..MR directed good stuff earlier (not great stuff) but now he is trying to over-achieve and he is falling flat.
Point-u. MR burnt out, I think (hope he makes a glorious comeback). ARR, still got mileage, that what makes composers live longer fame-wise than film directors. IR started with BR, got fame and all, but when on on his own he continued to rule. I hope ARR could do the same, do some silly experimenta (percussion Siva Mani ishtyle) shit he did back in 90s before getting, I believe, self-conscious and...gad, I hate this expression, Politically Correct. HE should do the good, the bad and the ugly. Alll will be forgotten and we will still be listening to him. ARR bro, don't get pretentious. Remember prog-rock in the 70s...they are all frickin' dinosaurs....ambudutheyn.


Agree about ARR having more mileage. Maybe I like music more than movies. Music, if I may hazard a guess, is more "technical" than "Movie direction".  So people can put in more effort and their knowledge/skills lasts longer. Yes, ARR should let his music intuition flow through without getting bogged down in trends/sophistication. He does have the music well in him, he just have to dig deeper.  IR is the best example of that thirukkURaL - thottanai thoorum ..


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Re: IR the genius

Post  kiru on Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:41 pm

jaiganesh wrote:
crimson king wrote:Actually, I had used Zimmer's name to show that IR could be favourably compared to top notch Hollywood composers whereas the same cannot really be said if one compares MR to top Holly directors.  Of course, IR is beyond any of these directors  -BR, MR, KB - and he did what he wanted to irrespective of whom he was working with.  You are preaching to the choir.  Smile
indeed. 
first sign of genius is the "internalisation" of the process.
What they strived for and learnt - becomes so internalised that they are unable to separate it as 
a "thinking" process
- it is more like habit and it becomes involuntary. For Raaja music is one such stuff..
I dont think apart from Ramanujan we have seen anyone with that gift/trait.. have we?

Very good definition ..well said

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Re: IR the genius

Post  counterpoint on Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:28 am

crimson king wrote:

If books are written about a particular artist, it simply indicates that he is popular.  .
Not necessarily. These are the kind of judgemental statements that Iam tired of refuting. The guy who wrote the book is a noteworthy film critic who doesnt get swayed by just popularity. If popularity was the key then he could have made somebody like say KS Ravikumar as the focus of his book as KSR still seems to be popular after 2 decades directing Rajni/Kamal films. Mani hasn't had a hit in more than a decade. So you are way off the mark here. You have a film scholar elaborating on what he thinks was unique about those films and then you have a film critic discuss/analyse his works in detail and still some of you live in denial, brushing everything aside as some work of fanboys. Amazing. I have nothing else to say. 

And talking of comparison I would never compare IR with Zimmer, nor Mani with Nihalani or Kubrick. If you want to indulgle in it, or if it makes you happy, go ahead. For me it doesnt make any sense. Different worlds, different parameters, different requirements. Even if you are talking about just scoring BGM for movies and not songs, Tamil films requirements are different. These require a bit of spoonfeeding and every MD, including IR, resort to emotional cue-dropping to lead the audience along, something you would rarely find in the best works of Hollywood. Not IR's fault entirely. Thats how this world operates. Which is why comparison gets tedious beyond a point. And thats just for music, which is more abstract. When it comes to something like film direction such comparisons get even more tedious given the different contexts. Mani can be compared,if at all, with other mainstream directors before and after him in Tamil cinema, or maybe in Hindi cinema.
And before people forget, this discussion(atleast the one Iam having here) is not about who is a genius or whether Mani was a genius or IR is a genius and all that. This is just an extension of the discussions that spawned off from the other thread following IR's statement regarding directors not working at his level and all that. That's all Iam disputing. Iam not getting into this genius business. Because most of us here, or maybe even none of us, are qualified to define or evaluate genius in music.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:19 am

...And that is yet another post where you have gone on and on about "different worlds, different requirements" and "tedious comparisons" while failing to reply to any of my or others' specific points or indeed even said anything new. Unless you go back, read Ravinat's, Munk's, CK's and my posts thoroughly and argue specifically as to why we are misguided in our definitions or evaluations of genius, your statement "Because most of us here, or maybe even none of us, are qualified to define or evaluate genius in music" has zero intellectual weight, so I am going to disregard that statement as mere reaction-mongering and move on. Just saying.



So you are way off the mark here. You have a film scholar elaborating on what he thinks was unique about those films and then you have a film critic discuss/analyse his works in detail and still some of you live in denial, brushing everything aside as some work of fanboys.

Both Munk and I have specifically said why each of those personalities is not exactly the last word in unbiased cinema critique and have enquired why you in particular consider MR so great and yet you continue to lean back on these people's opinions. Is it because like in music, you feel you are not qualified to have an opinion of your own on film direction too? If so do you at all have your own opinions and thoughts on art?




Mani can be compared,if at all, with other mainstream directors before and after him in Tamil cinema, or maybe in Hindi cinema.

And (for the nth time) Mani didn't really shatter the earth those people walked on, whereas IR was a trailblazer in many different areas. Go on. Argue and disprove that if you disagree.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  Raaga_Suresh on Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:03 pm

Slightly slow day in office so I though I will also contribute something to this thread Smile

First, yes, comparison across cultures, across different film world, different musical genres etc are futile in one sense. Yet, when you talk about greatness, there are definitely a set of parameters which cut across all these things and put the spotlight on a genius.

For example, a MS Subbulakshmi can be compared to Kesarbai Kerkar but not to Veena Sahasrabudde. A Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer can be compared to Mallikarjun Mansur but not to some second grade Hindustani artist. The reason being that each of these people compared stretched the boundaries of their art and were undoubtedly masters in their own art. That is why certain comparison across boundaries do work. You can compare what Tyagaraja did to what Mozart of Beethovan did but you cannot compare Papanasam Sivan to Mozart or Beethovan. (I am adding fuel I know but this is a valid statement according to me.) 

Once you abstract out the important features and then do the comparison we can find that it is not really unkind to do such comparison. For example, if you take originality, scope of their work, new techniques introduced, how many of their works have become part of the canon, innovation, how their work showed a new direction etc etc, then you can easily see why comparing Tyagaraja with Mozart makes complete sense even though Carnatic music is far removed from Western Classical Music.

So if you take those sort of parameters, then we will find that Raja has probably done better than Hans Zimmer. (Also going by how Hans Zimmer is rated by musicians / music critics in West vis-a-vis how Raja is rated by musicians / music critics here). In the same way, if we were to compare a Tamil film director with a Hollywood film director, then we will not find anyone here who would compare to FFC, leave alone Kubrick. Again I am talking about abstracting some of the virtues of a film director and comparing. 

We also have to understand one more thing. There are LOT of film directors from Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea, Japan etc who make movies which are seeped in their culture. Yet, they get appreciated a lot in the West whereas they laugh at our movies. Why? How is it that they are able to view Japanese / Korean movies and appreciate it and are unable to appreciate our movie. A great director like Scorcese remakes a Korean movie. Why? Questions which we don't have answers for.

If we take the case of music, Raja can easily be compared to the very best of Hollywood or any other country's film music composer and more often than not, Raja will come out trumps. That is why he is the ONLY technician from Tamil Film Industry who is world class. Others can be 'Imayams' and 'Sikarams' only in Tamilnadu.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  app_engine on Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:02 pm

counterpoint wrote: The guy who wrote the book is a noteworthy film critic who doesnt get swayed by just popularity.

ஸாரிங்க..."ராசாவை சூஃபியானா பண்ண மணி சொன்னார். ஆ. ஊ"ன்னு எழுதினப்பவே தெரியலையா அந்த ஆளு லாயக்கில்லைன்னு?

வேற ஏதாவது பேசுவோம் Smile

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Re: IR the genius

Post  ravinat on Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:54 pm

The topic somehow has turned more into a film director topic from a musical genius topic.

In my view, the only director I have a lot of respect from a musical PoV, is K.Vishwanath.  All others are simply overrated.

He is very clear about what he wants musically in his films and he is the only film director who has succeeded with a variety of MDs: KVM, Raja, Vidyasagar, Keeravani. Three of the 4 got national awards for his films.

Having said that, let's move on to Raja and his genius...

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Re: IR the genius

Post  ravinat on Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:12 pm

Though I have mentioned about this particular feature of Raja's genius in other posts, I would like to bring to the spotlight, another important aspect of Raja's genius.

Composing music for animation films is hard. As the main characters in an animation film do not have much star value, the heavy lifting falls on story telling, characterization, technology and background score.  I have followed the world of animation films and music for a while, and the most qualified composer in this space from India is Raja. He is able to write music to visuals that are regular films or animation. It is a special faculty that few composers possess. JW is the only Western composer who can do both well. While I like Michael Giachchino's work in 'Up', I did not find his Mission Impossible 3 work stellar. Even JW did Tin Tin only recently. Raja's work for Pandavas is stellar and he has done it using all the three approaches - 1) traditional strings, horns, percussion 2) synthesized strings and 3) EMT for special effects.

There are some fantastic war based BGM in this film - the quality of animation truly sucks.

Forget the technical aspect of the components of a musical score. Imagine a person, who learns various forms of music so late in life, and masters the art of scoring music for Indian melodrama based movies. Anyone else would have been content with the success and hung up their shoes. When presented a completely different visual medium, he is hardly challenged as his brain is wired to respond to visuals - photographed or animated. Inimael Naangathan and Paandavas are living examples of what Raja is capable when you present good visuals to him. To him, this is no different from writing a grim score for OAK.

That is the true artiste. He does not need any stupid props of commercial cinema. He happens to be in it! As he said once, he meditates on Mint street  Very Happy

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Re: IR the genius

Post  crimson king on Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:03 am

"The guy who wrote the book is a noteworthy film critic"


Precisely.  A noteworthy film critic puts his money where the mouth is.  Do you think that if suppose BR really decided to write a book highlighting the fantastic musicians who worked with Ilayaraja, like Napoleon or Prabhakar, a publisher would want to take it up?  MR is a very successful filmmaker whose name has a buzz in the market so BR's love for MR's movies will not go unrequited from readers.  By definition, any artist whose work is thought to be worthy of writing a book for mass publishing tends to be a popular one otherwise the business case collapses.  By the by, last I checked, Guru was a hit in the box office, so don't exaggerate by saying Mani hasn't had a hit in more than a decade.  The other author may be a film scholar but his article was full of blatant revisionism and pretentious (as well as tenuous) links to India's socio-cultural evolution during those years so I am afraid I am unable to take it seriously.  What you seem to be saying is just because you have that article and that BR book, one is supposed to blindly accept that Mani is a genius.  It obviously doesn't work that way and that's not on account of denial.  I have my own opinion on MR, independent of the work he did with IR, and I am going to stand my own ground until a convincing argument is put forth as to why Mani is a genius.  You linked one pretentious article (which also didn't go all the way to make that claim, by the way) and mentioned one book without any quotes from it.  That doesn't do justice to your argument.


"Even if you are talking about just scoring BGM for movies and not songs, Tamil films requirements are different. These require a bit of spoonfeeding and every MD, including IR, resort to emotional cue-dropping to lead the audience along, something you would rarely find in the best works of Hollywood."



Maybe so (I don't completely go along with that) but is Lion King really among the best works of Holly? Dark Knight/Dark Knight Rises?  Nolan fanboi a?  If you want to say the BGM in these movies do not drop emotional cues to manipulate the audience, you should do a rethink over who exactly is in denial here.  By the way, even that brilliant, timeless murder scene in Psycho uses emotional cues via the strident, staccato violins to strike fear in the hearts of the audience.  When theme music is used to accompany visuals, it often is, and especially in the more dramatic, over the top moments of which many abound in Hollywood, manipulative because that is the purpose it serves.  This is why I mentioned specifically that Zimmer too has done a lot of commercial work like IR.  But you seem to be more interested in making vague generalisations than in addressing the specifics.


I notice by the way that you have conveniently skipped responding to the next part of my post where I compared IR line by line with the other TFM MDs of the 80s and likewise MR with his contemporaries in TFM.  Why so?  Mounam acknowledgment-a?  Razz  


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Re: IR the genius

Post  kiru on Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:42 am

ravinat wrote:Though I have mentioned about this particular feature of Raja's genius in other posts, I would like to bring to the spotlight, another important aspect of Raja's genius.

Composing music for animation films is hard. As the main characters in an animation film do not have much star value, the heavy lifting falls on story telling, characterization, technology and background score.  I have followed the world of animation films and music for a while, and the most qualified composer in this space from India is Raja. He is able to write music to visuals that are regular films or animation. It is a special faculty that few composers possess. JW is the only Western composer who can do both well. While I like Michael Giachchino's work in 'Up', I did not find his Mission Impossible 3 work stellar. Even JW did Tin Tin only recently. Raja's work for Pandavas is stellar and he has done it using all the three approaches - 1) traditional strings, horns, percussion 2) synthesized strings and 3) EMT for special effects.

There are some fantastic war based BGM in this film - the quality of animation truly sucks.

Forget the technical aspect of the components of a musical score. Imagine a person, who learns various forms of music so late in life, and masters the art of scoring music for Indian melodrama based movies. Anyone else would have been content with the success and hung up their shoes. When presented a completely different visual medium, he is hardly challenged as his brain is wired to respond to visuals - photographed or animated. Inimael Naangathan and Paandavas are living examples of what Raja is capable when you present good visuals to him. To him, this is no different from writing a grim score for OAK.

That is the true artiste. He does not need any stupid props of commercial cinema. He happens to be in it! As he said once, he meditates on Mint street  Very Happy

Interesting point. Also add, camera work/simulated camera work to - story telling, characterization, technology and background score
When I first saw a animation move - critically - beauty and the beast - I was impressed by the 'realistic' feel. The trolley shot, panning, out-of-focus background in closeup etc were things that made it look like a 'shot film' I thought.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  counterpoint on Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:09 am

crimson king wrote:  What you seem to be saying is just because you have that article and that BR book, one is supposed to blindly accept that Mani is a genius.  It obviously doesn't work that way and that's not on account of denial.  I have my own opinion on MR, independent of the work he did with IR, and I am going to stand my own ground until a convincing argument is put forth as to why Mani is a genius.  You linked one pretentious article (which also didn't go all the way to make that claim, by the way) and mentioned one book without any quotes from it.  That doesn't do justice to your argument.


I notice by the way that you have conveniently skipped responding to the next part of my post where I compared IR line by line with the other TFM MDs of the 80s and likewise MR with his contemporaries in TFM.  Why so?  Mounam acknowledgment-a?  Razz  

No, thats not what I meant. You have serious comprehension problems. Show me one post where I argued or said that Mani is a genius. Like I have said very clearly Iam not into this genius business at all. Because none of us here are qualified to evaluate genius either in music or film direction. My arguments were all about whether IR was right in making an offhand comment that no director extracted great work from him or rose to his level(the last time I checked IR was a musician who can evaluate "genius" in maybe musicmaking and not film direction which involves a dozen crafts or more, of which music is only one aspect. So somebody like KB or Mani who have had success with other MDs too besides IR can turn around and say the same thing if they wanted to.). And the merit of such a comment. The funny thing here is, IR himself on several other occasions has praised some of these directors for extracting the kind of music that they did from him by virtue of their fresh storylines/narrative style/unique situations. He had even singled out BM and Mani before. So there was no need for such a comment.

Iam not a flag bearer for Mani's camp. And here is a fact-Mani hasnt had a big hit or blockbuster in the last 10-15 years in Tamil. Guru was a moderate hit in Hindi ,maybe. He is certainly not as popular in Tamil right now as he was in the mid-90s. So stop twisting facts to suit your arguments. The critics in question dont stand to gain a whole lot by writing about him. They could have easily written about Shankar or somebody else who has delivered blockbusters recently. Or even AR Murugadoss who seems to do well both in Hindi and Tamil and is popular with actorsd like Aamir Khan. That they didnt clearly shows that they see a lot of merit in Mani's entire body of work which you refuse to acknowledge. Thats all I pointed out. 

Those comparisons of MR with his contemporararies, those are your own opinions. My opinions are different and have stated them clearly. I have even pointed out a couple of references where film scholars/critics have discussed his works in depth to point out the merit in his films, because they can put across certain aspects of his filmmaking more eloquently. If all that doesnt convince you, nothing I say further is going to convince you. Which is why I had decided to put a full stop to this.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  crimson king on Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:01 pm

If you say you are not into this genius business at all, what prompted you to say we are deluded just because we didn't go along with that Hariharan article?  Admit that our criticism of Mani affects you, whatever may be the reason for that.  Your reactions to what we say about Mani are far too sharp for me to assume that you are indifferent to that.  

"Because none of us here are qualified to evaluate genius either in music or film direction. My arguments were all about whether IR was right in making an offhand comment that no director extracted great work from him or rose to his level"


Ok, two things:


1.  You are putting words in IR's mouth.  He did say no director rose to his level but didn't say they could not extract great work from him.  He said, "There hasn't been a director who has risen to my level and extracted work from me.".  That is,  Ilayaraja did not have to push his limits to meet a director's requirements.  I THINK that is a judgment of HIS work and he is well qualified to say that.


2.  Secondly, keeping that aside, since according to you none of us (presumably including yourself) are qualified to evaluate genius, you ought to be more indifferent to what IR opines.  Or do you presume to put yourself on the same pedestal as someone who has worked for over 40 years in the film industry and the insights into the way the industry works that such a person would possess?  Just because IR is not a filmmaker does not mean he is only as qualified as you or me to opine on how different directors compare.  


And Guru was more than a moderate hit in Hindi.  If you want to talk only about his Tamil work, you should specify that.  Because if you want to be so pedantic in your arguments on what Ilayaraja said, you have to be a little pedantic about your own words too.  You just made a bald statement that Mani hasn't had a hit in more than a decade which is simply not true.  


"My opinions are different and have stated them clearly. "  What and where are those opinions?  Where have you argued so far that Mani was far superior to Balachander or Balu Mahendra?  Don't weasel out.  My point was simply that the gap between IR and other music directors in Tamil in the 80s was much greater than the gap, if any, between Mani and other Tamil directors in the 80s.  Do you agree with that or no?  Yes or no?  Straight answer to a straight question.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:15 am

counterpoint wrote:Because none of us here are qualified to evaluate genius either in music or film direction.

Repeat a statement thousand times and it becomes the truth eh? If you don't tire of this and despite my many patient attempts to persuade you to address our arguments, continue to indulge in this pointless hit and run , why should anything stop me from calling you out on your pig-headedness and frankly disrespectful and wanton provocation in every post of yours. Now don't turn it around and accuse me of name-calling. I am merely characterising your style of argumentation and am at a loss to find a better word to describe it

counterpoint wrote:Iam not a flag bearer for Mani's camp. 

Ya right, and this is a place for discussing UFO sightings. What are we all doing here?


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Re: IR the genius

Post  jaiganesh on Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:02 am

Even money ratnam will laugh from his backside if some chamcha tells him that he is an 'Ilaiyaraaja' in film making..

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Re: IR the genius

Post  counterpoint on Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:29 am

fring151 wrote:
counterpoint wrote:Because none of us here are qualified to evaluate genius either in music or film direction.

Repeat a statement thousand times and it becomes the truth eh? If you don't tire of this and despite my many patient attempts to persuade you to address our arguments, continue to indulge in this pointless hit and run , why should anything stop me from calling you out on your pig-headedness and frankly disrespectful and wanton provocation in every post of yours. Now don't turn it around and accuse me of name-calling. I am merely characterising your style of argumentation and am at a loss to find a better word to describe it



It doesnt have to become the truth. It is truth lready. Iam merely reminding it because some posters here seem to believe that they can easily pass off labels like "genius" and so on when they themselves, with a little help, can realize that this genius branding business is beyond them. How am I being disrespectful when Iam including myself along with everybody else?  I didnt indulge in name-calling or anything like that. You seem to be the over-sensitive one here. In fact not only in this forum, but even elsewhere I will be hardpressed to find somebody who can claim something absurd as IR is a bigger genius at his craft than Mani is and back it up with solid informed scholarly takes. Direct comparison like that across two forms results in absurd conclusions. Because the comparison itself is absurd. It is like saying Wagner was better at composing than Nabaokov was at writing. And somebody who is even daring to make a comparison like that and willing to explore the "genius" should be well-versed in both artforms and then some. Good luck.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  jaiganesh on Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:32 am

counterpoint wrote:
fring151 wrote:
counterpoint wrote:Because none of us here are qualified to evaluate genius either in music or film direction.

Repeat a statement thousand times and it becomes the truth eh? If you don't tire of this and despite my many patient attempts to persuade you to address our arguments, continue to indulge in this pointless hit and run , why should anything stop me from calling you out on your pig-headedness and frankly disrespectful and wanton provocation in every post of yours. Now don't turn it around and accuse me of name-calling. I am merely characterising your style of argumentation and am at a loss to find a better word to describe it



It doesnt have to become the truth. It is truth lready. Iam merely reminding it because some posters here seem to believe that they can easily pass off labels like "genius" and so on when they themselves, with a little help, can realize that this genius branding business is beyond them. How am I being disrespectful when Iam including myself along with everybody else?  I didnt indulge in name-calling or anything like that. You seem to be the over-sensitive one here. In fact not only in this forum, but even elsewhere I will be hardpressed to find somebody who can claim something absurd as IR is a bigger genius at his craft than Mani is and back it up with solid informed scholarly takes. Direct comparison like that across two forms results in absurd conclusions. Because the comparison itself is absurd. It is like saying Wagner was better at composing than Nabaokov was at writing. And somebody who is even daring to make a comparison like that and willing to explore the "genius" should be well-versed in both artforms and then some. Good luck.
So lets recalibrate. Mani isnt a genius in directing like Raaja is in music. An equivalent genius in the field of direction would be either Satyajit Ray or MartinScorcese. Happy?

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Re: IR the genius

Post  counterpoint on Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:43 am

crimson king wrote:If you say you are not into this genius business at all, what prompted you to say we are deluded just because we didn't go along with that Hariharan article?  Admit that our criticism of Mani affects you, whatever may be the reason for that.  Your reactions to what we say about Mani are far too sharp for me to assume that you are indifferent to that.  


Criticism of Mani doesnt affect me. I have'nt been a big fan of his recent films anyways. But even if it does affect me, how does it bother you? How does it change this argument? Like I said, point to a post of mine where I have even hinted at Mani being a genius in his craft. Good luck. On the other hand, when it comes to IR that moniker has been bandied about here a lot and it seems any criticism of what IR even says to the press(leave alone what he composes) seems to affect you much more.And Iam not sure when this discussion turned into a Mani vs IR thing. That was not my intention at all. In fact I had also mentioned KB and Balu Mahendra in my earlier posts. But that got lost in the din and you have clung to just Mani. Mani is but a solitary example for my points, he isnt the only one.
And if I were to look at Mani based on just his work with IR(i.e before 1992) I personally wouldnt put him in the same pedestal as KB.

When I pointed not one but two references where noteworthy film scholars/critics have analyzed his works you guys choose to dimiss both as fanboyish eulogies, when the critics in question are anything but. Their works over the years have been respected a lot.
So, naturally, I could also dismiss your defense of IR's comments as extremely fanboyish too, when especially no one here(including myself) has anywhere near the pedigree that those two guys have to critique work in their field. 

"Secondly, keeping that aside, since according to you none of us (presumably including yourself) are qualified to evaluate genius, you ought to be more indifferent to what IR opines."

why should I? This is a free world.  Nobody can dictate how the other one should behave. IR has a right to say whatever he wants. And you have a right to defend that here. And I have the right to differ with some of you as well.If I or anyone else here were to always adopt this "indifferent" attitude and keep quiet about these comments made to press then this forum could end up being silent on most days. If you want to call IR a "genius" or a much bigger genius than Mani, please go ahead. Nobody is stopping you. Did I tell the mods here to ban somebody? No. After all this is an IR forum. But I can always differ. Thats what forums are for.
Even the statement that I made that "nobody here is qualified to evaluate genius" is only my opinion. People can differ with that as well, rather than getting all sensitive and offended.


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Re: IR the genius

Post  counterpoint on Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:48 am

So lets recalibrate. Mani isnt a genius in directing like Raaja is in music. An equivalent genius in the field of direction would be either Satyajit Ray or MartinScorcese. Happy?

Again, your opinion, right? Backed up by..? what is your pedigree when it comes to critiquing film direction and music? These are two vastly different artforms and each one is an ocean in itself.

And IR did not say "Iam a bigger genius than any film director in Tamil". So Iam not sure where this genius business came from all off a sudden. He didnt bring any of his non-TFM works as proof of his composing prowess. All he is talking about is, within the constraints of commercial cinema. And my opinion here, within the commercial cinema constraints(which IR willingly operated under) there were atleast a  couple of directors if not more who pushed the medium with their narrative style/ideas and managed to push IR as well, liberating him from working with the likes of P. Vasu or Ameer Jaan or Ramarajan in 30 films every year. IR himself has acknowledged that in the past. He said if KB hadnt come up with situations like that in Sindhubhairavi it would not have been possible for him to come up with experimental stuff like Kalaivaaniye or Mari mari ninne in films. So in a way he acknowledged that KB pushed him.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  crimson king on Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:27 pm

"When I pointed not one but two references where noteworthy film scholars/critics have analyzed his works you guys choose to dimiss both as fanboyish eulogies, when the critics in question are anything but."


Well, I can't help it if claims like Mani inspired Ilayaraja to incorporate jazz in his music are made, which are either blatantly fanboyish or thoroughly misinformed.  So the reason I said Mani-criticism seems to affect you is you even refused to take these specific criticisms of the Hariharan article on board.  There is ample proof that Ilayaraja was exploring jazz among many other Western genres long before Mani, so to cling onto the validity of that statement just because a scholar said it is childish. To then say we are deluded for not accepting such nonsense blindly is petulant even.  As for the BR book, it is well known that his Kadal review attracted a lot of flak with some questioning the detachment of his judgment given he was authoring a book on Mani.  And I will have you know that at times in his comments space, BR has been more than a tad dismissive of criticism of Mani and sought to impose his own views, not, that is, very much different from you in that regard, if I may.  But be that as it may, you have not reproduced any specific quotes from that book to argue your case.  In fact, that seems to be your style throughout.  You are extremely reluctant to share your own insights on the topic and instead want to take shelter under opinions of people whose opinion you obviously attach a lot of importance to. The mere fact that THEY said something good about Mani itself, rather than what is that they said and why it makes sense.  That is what most of us have objected to.


"This is a free world.  Nobody can dictate how the other one should behave. IR has a right to say whatever he wants. And you have a right to defend that here."



So in that case, please allow us to do so rather than presuming to judge who is or isn't qualified to comment on whether a person can be called a genius.  That, my dear sir, is none of your bloody business so you should cease forthwith from trying to impose your views on us and allow us the freedom to disagree with you without resorting to calling us things like deluded or blinded or fanboys, blah blah blah.  If we do not see anything particularly remiss in what IR said in that interview, it is our prerogative and none of yours to make a holier-than-thou attempt to 'educate' us.  You don't have some special rights to freedom on account of your Mani-fandom.  We have that right to the same extent as you so don't you dare impinge on it. 


 As for my supposedly being sensitive to IR-criticism, I will have you know that I have in the past got into lengthy and rather unpleasant arguments on this forum on IR's usage of Bhava in his songs.  I don't want to revisit that territory again but I am certainly not as sensitive to criticism of IR as you are to criticism of Hariharan's terribly pretentious writing in that article.  If anything, it is you who seem to be rather obsessed with the topic of what should be made of that one statement of IR, as if judgment of said statement is about to move heaven and earth.  

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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:58 pm

counterpoint wrote:
fring151 wrote:
counterpoint wrote:Because none of us here are qualified to evaluate genius either in music or film direction.

Repeat a statement thousand times and it becomes the truth eh? If you don't tire of this and despite my many patient attempts to persuade you to address our arguments, continue to indulge in this pointless hit and run , why should anything stop me from calling you out on your pig-headedness and frankly disrespectful and wanton provocation in every post of yours. Now don't turn it around and accuse me of name-calling. I am merely characterising your style of argumentation and am at a loss to find a better word to describe it



It doesnt have to become the truth. It is truth lready. Iam merely reminding it because some posters here seem to believe that they can easily pass off labels like "genius" and so on when they themselves, with a little help, can realize that this genius branding business is beyond them. How am I being disrespectful when Iam including myself along with everybody else?  I didnt indulge in name-calling or anything like that. You seem to be the over-sensitive one here. In fact not only in this forum, but even elsewhere I will be hardpressed to find somebody who can claim something absurd as IR is a bigger genius at his craft than Mani is and back it up with solid informed scholarly takes. Direct comparison like that across two forms results in absurd conclusions. Because the comparison itself is absurd. It is like saying Wagner was better at composing than Nabaokov was at writing. And somebody who is even daring to make a comparison like that and willing to explore the "genius" should be well-versed in both artforms and then some. Good luck.

Look, mister. I know you are not going to be convinced, but I am going to try one last time.  After that I am done with this. I am going to be precise in what I say and I expect you to be likewise in your response (IF). 


Genius is just a word. An adjective or a noun depending on usage. Here are soem definitions:

Genius is expressed in a variety of forms (e.g., mathematical, literary, performance). Genius may show itself in early childhood, as a prodigy with particular gifts (e.g., understanding), or later in life. Geniuses are often deemed as such after demonstrating great originality. They tend to have strong intuitions about their domains, and they build on these insights with tremendous energy.



a person who is exceptionally intelligent or creative, either generally or in some particular respect.



genius is a person who displays exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of an unprecedented leap of insight. This may refer to a particular aspect of an individual, or the individual in his or her entirety; to a scholar in many subjectsThere is no scientifically precise definition of genius, and the question of whether the notion itself has any real meaning has long been a subject of debate.



Ok? To anyone reasonably well acquainted with both IR's and Mani's works as most of us here are, it is plainly obvious that IR satisfies all the above definitions for genius and Mani Ratnam, none. Ravinat has written a painstakingly long series of posts delineating every aspect of IR's composing and presenting a coherent set of arguments on why he thinks he is a genius. Raaga_Suresh has written another long post saying how and on what basis you compare across fields. You have evidently chosen to gloss over those posts as if they don't exist and chosen instead to repeatedly peddle your "No one is qualified to define or evaluate genius here", so that indicates strongly that you are not interested in a real discussion and are content with passing off your own opinions as facts ("It doesnt have to become the truth. It is truth lready.")

So genius is just an English word (with a Latin root). A word like any other superlative which doesn't have a scientifically precise definition. If you are so uncomfortable with it, we might as well ban all superlatives like brilliant, great, masterful, masterpiece, or  etc etc. And when something doesn't have a scientifically precise definition, there are no hard and fast rules on how they can be used and anyone presenting cogent arguments (like Ravinat) for labeling IR a genius deserves to be given a proper hearing and if you disagree, you should refute his points precisely and not indulge in indirect, vague dismissals like you do. That is just poor etiquette.


And note we also have enough musically accomplished people backing up our views on IR (Balamuralikrishna, SPB, KJY, Chitra, Semmangudi, etc etc), Yu don't need to be a genius to recognise one as such and no one here is randomly jumping around making the claim that IR is a genius without giving justifications. My opinion is based on a sensitive awareness of how and in what manner IR enriched the field, managed to repeatedly reach the heights of earthy folk, sophisticated wcm and ccm within the constraints of film music, how he composes, his encyclopaedic knowledge of so many different musical forms and jaw dropping rhythmic innovations beyond anything I have heard anywhere, We have facts to support our claims and they are too numerous for me to list here again (you need to read Ravinat's posts).


Finally, 



 I will be hardpressed to find somebody who can claim something absurd as IR is a bigger genius at his craft than Mani is and back it up with solid informed scholarly takes.

Let's leave aside scholarly takes and look at the definition.


They tend to have strong intuitions about their domains - IR composes music without as much as humming the notes, writes dowwn a composition from his head to paper within a half hour (acccording to several testimonies) and doesn't make any corrections to his completed compositions. He doesn't make any corrections. Do you even realise the sheer level of razor sharp intuition, mastery, memory and concentration at play here? Look at the number of typos you or I make in one post here). Now give an equivalent example of intuition demonstrated by Mani in his craft. Be precise.



genius is a person who displays exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of an unprecedented leap of insight.- To give just one example IR has used triple counterpoint with Hamsanandhi in Vedham anuvilum oru naadham. Give an equivalent unprecedented insight of Mani. Be precise

 They build on these insights with tremendous energy - We all know who has been more energetic in tirelessly pursuing their intuitions and convictions. The quality and quantity says all. IR has created an entire paradigm for blending counterpoint with carnatic raagams and Tamil folk music, even reinventing it and pushing its boundaries in the process. I specifically say counterpoint and not harmony because I know you will probably argue MSV-TKR also incorporated harmony and nice chord work in many songs (though not nearly to the same level as IR, and they also didn't experiment with folk music as much, which I hope you won't deny). List similar pioneering, path-breaking contributions of KB or Mani or who have you. Be precise. And please don't guide me to BR or HH's writings again. As CK asked long back and to which you still haven't replied, what is that one major contribution, the single biggest gift of Mani (or KB) without which the world of film-making would be poorer? For IR, you can see my answer above in this same para.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  crimson king on Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:29 am

Let's hear it from the horse's mouth.  Mani said this, ironically, at the launch of Conversations with Mani Ratnam by you-know-who.

Ilayaraja is a genius. I am nothing when I stood before him for the first time, asking him to compose music for my film. From that time, he gave life to my movies with his music"


There is another quote where he mentioned how Ilayaraja could obtain perfection in one go, spontaneously, which was not his approach.  Can't find the exact verbatim quote just now.

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Re: IR the genius

Post  fring151 on Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:33 am

But, but,..Mani Ratnam is also not qualified to decide who a genius is. #Verytrickybusiness

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Re: IR the genius

Post  Drunkenmunk on Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:14 am

fring151 wrote:But, but,..Mani Ratnam is also not qualified to decide who a genius is. #Verytrickybusiness

Dhavasi Vadivelu to Vijayakanth: Perumaalaukku ponne illainga!

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