A film convention of the biggest distinction and eminence, the Galatta Indian Cinema Conclave celebrating ace Tamil filmmaker Mani Ratnam's Nayakan on the occasion of its 35th anniversary, was held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium on May 8, 2022. The event hosted by Baradwaj Rangan, National Award-winning film critic and Editor-in-Chief of Galatta Plus, with acclaimed filmmakers Gautham Menon gracing the grand event and Vetri Maaran as well making his presence felt, turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fans and aspiring filmmakers to learn from the master himself about he how ended up making Nayakan starring Kamal Haasan, an iconic Tamil film in Indian cinema history.

At the Galatta Indian Cinema Conclave, Mani Ratnam had shared several interesting details about the process of developing the Nayakan script, including his meeting with the powerful mob boss Varadarajan Mudaliar back in the day in Mumbai (then Bombay). The six-time National Award-winning filmmaker revealed that he had written the climax for Nayakan after meeting Varadarajan Mudaliar. Mani Ratnam said, "First, we went to Dharavi in Bombay and his men helped us with the location scouting and I met his son there. At the time, the script had fully not developed. It was still growing. When I came to Chennai (then Madras), I got a call from Varadarajan Mudaliar as he was in Santhome then. He asked me if we could meet and I went over. It was this conversation that helped me with the climax of Nayakan. He was instrumental in finding an end for my film."

Upon being asked by Gautham Menon about whether the famous 'Nallavara, Kettavara' dialogue had been developed from that meeting, Mani Ratnam revealed, "Varadarajan Mudaliar was underground at the time. Not in Bombay, but in Chennai. And, nobody knew where he was. He called me and I went. He made me seated and asked what I would like to eat. Despite my hesitation, he insisted and brought me dosa, and began asking questions. He stated that I and others would only portray him as a villain in films and cited acclaimed Bollywood screenwriting duo Salim-Javed doing the same at one point. He then told me to do as I wished. In the first half an hour of our meeting, there was a lot of resistance. He was speaking while telling me to eat the dosa. He was telling us a lot of things saying that we would have a certain perception of him. He said, 'Even now, you will be thinking that I'm underground because of fear. But, that's not how it is. I came here for a reason. I can go and face the cases filed against me.' " 

Mani Ratnam continued and said, "Varadarajan Mudaliar was very knowledgeable and knew the law. He could quote sections of the law and he knew exactly what he was doing. He said, 'I can go back and definitely win the cases lodged against me, but they are not calling me back for that purpose. They want me to come over for these cases and create problems using the crowd before I enter the court. They will not let me get into the courtroom.' Mani Ratnam declared, 'So, that became the climax of Nayakan.' "

Watch Mani Ratnam share more intriguing details about how Nayakan came to be at the Galatta Indian Cinema Conclave in the video below: