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Wednesday, June 12, 2013


That is Nandan Mani Ratnam in a nutshell. He is the only son of the talented celebrity couple Suhasini and Mani Ratnam. His parents need no introduction to most Indians around the world. For those that don't know them yet, a brief introduction is a must. Suhasini, who turned 50 recently, is a national award winning South Indian actress well known for her debut film Nenjatthai KiLLaathe and box office hit Sindhu Bhairavi. Her life partner Mani Ratnam is the scion of Venus Studios Late Sri Ratnam Iyer and a world famous director who shot to instant fame through Roja, a cult film in its own right. This was followed by a spate of blockbusters like Nayagan with Kamalhassan, Thalapathi with Rajinikanth and recently Ravan with Chiyaan Vikram. He is reputed to have introduced the Oscar winning composer A.R. Rahman. A reticent man of sparingly few words, Mani usually plays low-key and is the guiding benefactor of the NAAM foundation. Readers may liberally contribute to the cause of empowering the underprivileged women through NAAM website or in person.

So who is Nandan and why do we care? You would, if I told you he wrote a booklet on communism at the age of 15. His 27-page pamphlet on Leninism titled Contours of Leninism was released with a lot of fanfare with many communist party heavyweights participating. He was then a Red Volunteer at the 19th All India Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) held at Coimbatore. Nandan says that his interest in reading has attracted him to Marx and his principles. According to him, Marxism is the most cogent, comprehensive and highly developed complex of theory and practice. I am not sure that is entirely true given the failure of the Soviet Union and the eastern block. But as they say, it is strange if you are 20 and not yet a communist, stranger still if you are 40 and continue to be one.

His doting grandpa Charuhasan, leading lawyer and award winning thespian, once mentioned in an interview on Coffee with Anu (hosted by his niece Anu Hassan) that he is concerned about Nandu's ideological leanings. Instead, I would like to consider this bright, young, handsome lad who reminds me of my own independent-minded 16 year old, as a promising liberal with egalitarian views that seems to belie his  elite family background. It is good that an youngster has fire in his belly. Reminds me of how, even while pushing close to 50, I continue to uphold the dream of a Utopian world with the same unquenchable passion I had when I was barely 12.

Of course, it is also worth mentioning in the passing that his grand uncles are Ulaga Naayagan Kamalhassan and Sri. Chandrahassan (Anu's dad). I am sure this young Nanda Kumar will bind the redoubtable Kamal to accede to his real age, some day. So Nandu, as he is fondly called by his family and friends is Articulate, Brainy, Charming, Daring/Dashing, Cool Dude, Sociable but with a Socialistic bent. This bright star of the multi-talented family of Hassans is a graduate of Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. What promises are in store for this young cub raring to make it big, only time can weave that magical story. Will he become an accomplished and successful actor like Kamal, a trend-setting writer/producer/director like his dad or simply turn to politics? Even he may not be so sure. For now he is quietly contented,  basking in the limelight that is already gifted to him. His dad is Mani Ratnam, and his mom Suhasini. PuligaLukku piranthathu Poonaiyaagumaa?

Is revolutionary thinking a maternal family inheritance? You decide:


Arun, The DEXTER said...

Let him chase his curiosity/passion to inspire the society like his family members. Promising Indian...

Arun, The DEXTER said...

A promising indian with fire in his belly. Hope he will inspire the nation for his social responibility like his family members.After his studies i like him to choose any challenging village, which has similar ideological belief and also facing strong opposition. To get his hand dirt, from there he have to rise like a phoenix by solving issues he studied by putting in practical to become a legend.