[Click on thumbnails for HUGE pictures - pictures from official site.]
This is Mani Ratnam. I know, I know. You must be thinking, "How can this be, Mani-saab? You at the release of not one but two of your films and you have the time to spare to write to a lowly film watcher such as myself!" but believe me, I'm not as busy as people would have you believe.
And anyway, let me be honest here for a second - at the end of the day, I made this film with you in mind.
I know it sounds unbelievable, but it's entirely true and not just something you made up while thinking of a way to intelligently fangirl the hell out of the Tamil Raavan pictures that you just saw online. No, that isn't what this is at all. You wouldn't be talking to yourself, that would just be crazy. See, I know how you feel about my films. I read your ambivalent review on Guru (2007) and I realize that film didn't work for some people. Still, I know you appreciated Iruvar and were down with Bombay and Alai Payuthe and that Dil Se played an important part in your early Bollywood watching career. I know you really appreciated the Tamil cast of Ayitha Ezhuthu, or as you like to call it "Tamil Yuva" for short.
So when it came to casting my latest film(s), I again looked at what you, dear Veracious, might enjoy. And so I went with this guy:
Of course, it didn't hurt that he'd done some quite impressive work in the Tamil industry before.
And of course I knew of that time you watched Kannukondain Kannukondain and imagined Abbas as Vikram (who Abbas was voiced by) and what his chemistry would be like with Aishwarya. And then I just made it all the more interesting by being my awesome self, throwing in some Ramayana and a little jungle and more than a touch of visually interesting stuff (Santosh Sivan helped, of course).
And of course it is a given that you can barely stand Aishwarya in most of her movies but can enjoy her in the direction of somebody good - hate to toot my own horn but Iruvar, Guru, one would be insane not to name these some of her best performances. So I put her in this, both versions, and I know you won't mind one bit.
And as a cherry on top, just so you can't really get grumpy about Vikram doing so few movies per year (or years, should I say), I put him in both versions, in different roles. And in the Hindi version, there is also Abhishek, so you've basically got no room to complain about my casting choices.
So yes, I hope you and many others enjoy it - whichever version, or both. I hope you don't gnaw your fingers off in anticipation. I'm sure there'll be other stuff to keep you busy while waiting for this movie. I hear Housefull's going to be quite good - ha ha ha.
Anyway, I must go now as I am a real film maker with busy schedules but I hope you read this entirely real, not at all fake letter and post it on your blog. It'll be good promotion for the movie and a way for you to describe your enthusiasm without resulting in keymashing and repeated exclamation marks after the name Vikram. Yes, I did this all just so you wouldn't have to type "omg" and "phwoarr" and "eeee" and "Aishwarya & Vikram eee omg!" over and over again. I care for your dignity.
Yours truly and genuinely and not in the least bit fakely,
PS. I too severely hate Saif's bandanna. What was he thinking?!