"It was an accident. I was interested in cinema only as a viewer. I never thought I'd take it up as a career. I never thought I would sit and write and actually direct films," the director says in a new book "Conversations with Mani Ratnam".
The book, based on the filmmaker's freewheeling interactions with film critic Baradwaj Rangan, published by Penguin, reveals how the reticent man who went on to deliver gems in Hindi and Tamil films switched over to cinema. During the seventies, Ratnam was so fed up of watching sub-standard Tamil films that he decided to push the bar himself. The acclaimed filmmaker, favoured both by critics and the Box Office, says, "Even now I feel that if enough good Tamil films were made, I wouldn't become a filmmaker."
Besides those by Balachander and Mahendran, he says, "The rest of the films, predominantly, were not good. Tamil cinema had stagnated. The films were so ordinary and without any flair that you felt you could do better even if you didn't know anything about cinema."