Vienna: Indian filmmaker Mani Ratnam`s ‘Raavanan’ is now part of the permanent collection at the Austrian Film Museum, which has so far only 15 Indian films in its list.
Alexander Horwath, director of the museum, was trying to get a copy of ‘Raavanan’ ever since he saw it at the Venice Film Festival where Ratnam received the Glory to the Filmmaker Award in 2010.
"It was a glorious evening and `Raavanan` was screened after the award ceremony," Horwath said.
Starring Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan and southern star Vikram, the bilingual was released in 2010 -- the Hindi version was titled "Raavan" and Tamil one was called ‘Raavanan’.
"Raavanan" is one of the 25,500 films already in the collection of the museum that is also home to a library with more than 20,000 books and over 200 magazine titles covering a broad range of film related topics. Horwath, however, regrets out of the thousands of films in his collection only about 15 are from India, including three works of Satyajit Ray and ‘Veer Zaara’.
But he was so enchanted with the film that he saw the Hindi version and remains overawed at Ratnam`s scope of engagement with both the literary and mythological aspects of his culture.
"While reading more about the project, I was struck by Ratnam`s approach of shifting around the traditional role of a hero and antagonist in the service of a commentary on present day India," adds Horwath.
The museum has been following Ratnam`s work since 2003 when a season of popular Indian cinema organised here had included ‘Dil Se’. Horwath has been in touch with Ratnam ever since and is grateful for having received a personal print of ‘Dil Se’ from the director.
Horwath has watched ‘Najakan’ and ‘Bombay’ the other films by Ratnam and finds him a unique figure in Indian cinema for combining a strong interest in current social and political constellations with a spectacular talent for action and musical mise-en-scene and genre filmmaking in general.
He is trying to acquire his favourite director Ritwik Ghatak`s films. A full retrospective of Ghatak`s films was held here in 2002.