Roja (Rose) is a milestone movie in more ways than one. It is one of Mani Ratnam’s best movies. It is a Tamil movie dubbed in Telugu and Hindi. Both were successes at the box office, in spite of being dubbed. It has won many awards including the National Award for the best music, best lyrics and best film on national integration.

And the most important of all claims to its fame is the bursting of the musical genius A R Rahman onto the Indian music scene.

The songs are just outstanding. It was during the time when the music in movies had become stale and repetitive that Rahman came and he came with a bang! His music was new, the sounds, the treatment and the instrumentation, everything was new and wonderful. Roja was his first movie. It catapulted him to national fame, and now he is internationally known. Here is an absolute gem from the movie.

Roja was released in the year 1992. During this time, I was a student doing my PG. We were a gang of 5 girls. We decided to bunk classes and go for this movie for an afternoon show. Accordingly, we left after the first lecture and bam! we ran into our teacher for the next lecture hour. Naturally, she asked us where we were off to and we, quite cheerfully told her we were off to see the latest movie to hit the screens! She was quite a sport, so she laughed off and we trooped away!

We went off to see the Tamil version of the movie. Mani Ratnam made the movie in Tamil and it was dubbed into other languages later. Mind you, none of us were tamilians. Among the five of us, it was only me, who knew a smattering of Tamil. So I took it upon myself to translate the movie to my friends in the theatre itself as the movie unfolded. I sat in the centre with two of them on each side. I kept translating to each side all the dialogues that I understood. I did not get all the dialogues too, but what I knew was more than what they knew apparently! 😀 Anyway we had a great time.

It is a touching love story set in the turbulent Kashmir of the 90s. A security expert (Aravind swamy) marries a village girl (Madhoo) and they settle down in the city. The expert is sent to Kashmir for some government work. He takes his wife along to make it into a working honeymoon. But the idyll is cut short as the extremists kidnap him for release of their jailed counterparts. Our girl moves heaven and earth to secure his release. The main extremist is played by Pankaj Kapoor. I did find it rather funny that our terrorist spoke flawless Tamil in Kashmir! 🙂 Cinematic liberties!

This movie is a part of Mani Ratham’s movies set in turbulent times. Roja is in Kashmir, Bombay is set during the Mumbai bomb blasts, and Dil Se is set in Assam. Roja was the first of these three. It catapulted Mani Ratnam into the national scene.

The picturesque locales are depicted beautifully. Catch up on it if you haven’t yet watched. The soundtrack by A R Rahman is listed as the top 10 best soundtracks by the TIME magazine.


The A2Z challenge 2019 is going to be all the movies that have left an impact on me someway or the other. Some have made me think. Some that I like a lot, some that I really hated. But all of them have left a memory behind which makes the movie more special than the rest. They may not be all classics or iconic but they are close to my heart.

A is for Andhadhun. B is for Bazaar. C is for Conan, the Barbarian. D is for Dushman. E is for Enter the Dragon. F is for Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them.G is for Galimathu.H is for Hidden Figures. I is for Ishq.J is for Jaane bhi do yaaron.K is for Kshana Kshanam.L is for La La Land.M is for Mirch Masala. N is for Newton.O is for Once More. P is for Preminchukundam Ra.Q is for Qurbani.

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