Is the “Mani Ratnam Romance” still alive?


What is “Mani Ratnam Romance” ?

The latest movie directed by Mani Ratnam was “Kaatru Veliyidai”. Although this movie released in 2017, this was based in late 1990s. So technically his last movie on modern relationships was “OK Kanmani” back in 2015. It is a known thing that Mani Ratnam brings out the best on-screen romance in Indian Movies. Gautam Vasudev Menon comes next.

So what is “Mani Ratnam Romance” exactly?

Although every movie looks different, his bottom-line remains the same. The woman is quite strong, calm, patient, educated, introvert, ambitious. The woman has also gone through deep emotional trauma during her childhood or early adulthood. The Man is sweetly childish, chirpy, extrovert, pampered and at times moody and emotionally vulnerable. When such personalities meet there is a lot of energy transferred between these two. It is covered extensively in his movies.

Right from the first meeting, which is usually a silly blunder or an act of charity from the Man, to which the Woman reacts in a strong way (mostly because she misunderstands him). This sort of reaction from the Woman makes quite an impression on the Man and he becomes even more chirpy and mischievous in his quest for the Woman. What follows this pursuit is a string of intensely romantic situations covered extensively through duets and everyday life scenes. One specialty of Mani Ratnam is that he does not base his songs in some honeymoon locations. He keeps it as real as possible. This has a resonating effect in our daily life.

Whenever we (men) end up waiting for a special someone we are reminded of the Man in Mani Ratnam movies. Whenever we (men) see a special someone being mentally strong and looking naturally beautiful we are reminded of the Woman in Mani Ratnam movies. Whenever we (men) have to meet the parents of someone special we are reminded of the epic scenes from Mani Ratnam movies. Even when we are laying aimlessly in front of our special someone during a casual meeting we thank Mani Ratnam (in our minds) for teaching us how to be a natural romantic!

Is the “Mani Ratnam Romance” still alive?


Well, there are many reasons.

#1 reason – WhatsApp / Social media.

Half the romance is transferred on to the 5 inch screen on the top of our palm. On social media there is no silly blunder because it would be considered stalking if you bump into someone unknowingly. On social media there is no real gauge of mental strength because we all project our best face forward through hashtags and proverbs as taglines for our selfies. Expression of intense romance gets diminished to kiss smileys and heart Gifs.

#2 reason – Nobody has time

In this mad rat race for money and fame, we end up doing many things that we actually don’t want or don’t like. So there is no quality time left with anyone these days. Even if one does have time it gets lost in traffic!

#3 reason – Ample choices

We live in a fast food world now. There are ample choices for us. Right from the smartphones to hospitals to movie theaters to friends to girlfriend/boyfriends, we have a lot of options and a lot of supply. We live in an era where we are never spoilt for choices. In such a generation its very difficult to expect loyalty. Even a casual fight may result in deep separation. Having too much choice is a bane sometimes. Of course its a boon when we get dumped for a stronger/ deeper reason.

Food for thought maybe? Dump the social media chats, meet your special someone directly, take them out on a date. Feel like a Mani Ratnam Movie Man (or) Woman in 2017 again!

–Varun Mannava






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My chats with “Pavithra”

By Varun Mannava (Pub Reviewer & the Author of the *Bestseller book “Polite Pickup Lines in Indian Pubs” buy now on Amazon — CLICK HERE )

Who is Pavithra?

Why document my chats with her?

Why is it so important for the millennials to know?

Simple! Pavithra is every woman who has an honest opinion about the tectonic plates that are changing in the sphere of “Relationship”!

Why does it matter? It does at least to me! If I am in this sphere of pickup lines, dating and relationships, I need to be updated with what’s the latest in the scene.

I am going to throw a lot of jargons at you. You gotta tell me how many do you know already.

#1 Ghosting :

During the good old days of dating and relationships, according to Pavithra, “Men at least had the balls to call off a relationship. They would call you out for a special dinner, make you feel comfortable and then break it to you that it’s not working anymore.”

Pavithra is completely fine with this, at least she gets a decent closure. Then technology became quite advanced. Pavithra says “Whatsapp became the dumping ground for a lot of men! They would say, hey look, I don’t think we go along this way.” Still better!

Fast forward to 2016 – 17, Pavithra finds herself in unknown territory called “Ghosting”! This means men are no longer informing their girlfriends about their current status. They make believe women that that they are so deep in love with them and that they cannot live without them. 3 or 4 months into the relationship, they just disappear without any prior warnings or dumping dates! “How can they chicken out like that?” quizzes Pavithra!

Pavithra throws more jargons for Ghosting! “Gas Lighing, Love Bombing! They are all the same.” She seems to like the good old days of dating that eventually converted to engagement and then MARRIAGE.

You might be wondering why I mentioned the word MARRIAGE in all upper case?

Apparently Pavithra has more gyan on engagement and marriage too.

#2 Open Marriage:

“These days engagement is a joke. They put a ring on it! And then all hell breaks loose. Men start panicking and call off the engagement. So many of my friends have told me stories of engagements being called off” says Pavithra.

And talking about marriage, she asks me, “Have you heard about Open Marriages?” I am like nope. She then explains “Open marriage is something where the husband and wife really like each other and they live together, yet they can go see other men or women. Its an open relationship.”

Then I asked her ” Oh is it like the ‘House of Cards’ couple?”

“Exactly!!!!” she exclaims.

Then I get one level deeper to find out why men think how they think now. I say “We have been brought up in a culture where just B.A. or B.Sc. is not enough. Everyone wants to be in the top college. After they get into the best colleges, they want the best pay grades and not just any salary. Its the same thinking that has invaded the relationship space.”

Pavithra agrees “Yes, maybe you are right. Men are not just content with one girl. They think they have achieved one target. Hangout with that girl for a month and then move on to achieve a newer higher target just like they did in their career.”

So what’s the solution to this? Pavithra is clueless for now. Maybe she will come up with a solution the next time she chats up with me. Maybe she won’t.

We need to wait and watch. Till then ciao!


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Conversation Starters for online dating apps

By Varun Mannava (Pub Reviewer & the Author of the *Bestseller book “Polite Pickup Lines in Indian Pubs” buy now on Amazon — CLICK HERE )

Let’s be honest. We are in India. I wrote a book named “Polite Pickup Lines in Indian Pubs” and I got judged every time I informed that to a curious listener (except say 1% of them). So I am not going to spoil the scope and reach of this article by calling it pickup lines for online dating apps.

Just google “Conversation starters for Tinder” and you will see a million blogs on this topic. So how am I adding value to the already existing Gyan (knowledge) about how to impress the opposite sex?

I am going to give you just 2 basic tips on how to say whatever you truly feel like saying and still evoke a response. Yes! Oh, the bonus is, this works offline too!

Invoke the Universe! And how ?

When I mean universe, I assume you all know about the law of attraction! “Good thoughts attract good actions and results. Bad thoughts attract bad actions and results”. This is what the “Secret” says. However Buddha said the same thing 2500 years ago. But, the “Secret” is a lot cooler so the millennials follow that. Whatever your source may be, just follow the Universe and understand how it works.

Here’s how it works : You see a person on the online dating app and you really feel this person is the right one for you. After you have done some required research of course. I don’t care and I am not interested in how you are going to verify if everything written about the profile and the picture is 100% genuine or not. That’s your problem. Let’s proceed right on to my area of expertise. Invoking the Universe.

So once you have figured out that the person in the profile is the right match for you, take a few seconds to invoke some positive thoughts about your actions and consequences. One simple approach would be to say whatever you are going to say without any expectation of response in return. Even if it may or may not work in evoking a response, what it does for sure is not build anxiety in your “Mind” (Buddhists consider mind as the combination of Brain and Heart)! Why is it so necessary to keep your mind away from anxiety? Because you will be building castles of future and the more you build these castles, the more you are likely to be disappointed when there is a negative or no response from the person.

Wait patiently and the response will come. Ping!

Go the Cleopatra route

If you are not a believer in the Universe, which is 100% fine, I would suggest you take the Cleopatra route. Show off in a genuine way. That means don’t use someone else’s car / bike to pose for your profile pic. Show off with what you have. And combine this with a not too submissive approach while chatting. I am not asking you to hurt or ignore the person you are chatting with completely. But I am saying don’t give too much attention either! You don’t have to rush off chatting the same day. You will get more days to chat.

Obviously don’t compliment on the obvious features. The person would have heard it a thousand times. “Oh, you are so beautiful!” ; “Oh you have a great body” ; ya ya ya!! Rather construct a sentence around the compliment that engages a reply.  For example :

“Hey, you look great, but looks are not the only thing I am looking for!” sort of sentences…….

Read the profile and engage in the hobby talk if you like the person’s hobby but then again, don’t praise too much or let the person know you are head over heels with them too soon. Online chats (just like relationships) flourish when there is a constant feed of challenge. When challenge dies, the chat is no longer engaging.

Always keep a hook on to your conversations. Don’t overdo it but keep a healthy hook. That means you don’t ask questions where the only answer could be a “Yes” or a “No”!

Let me know how these 2 scenarios worked for you. Mail me at!


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The “Macha” culture at Indian workplaces

By Varun Mannava (Pub Reviewer & the Author of the *Bestseller book “Polite Pickup Lines in Indian Pubs” buy now on Amazon — CLICK HERE )

There is a silent revolution of efficiency at Indian workplaces these days. Its not happening because the managers are becoming smarter or sterner. Its happening because the employees/ team members are realizing how to approach a fellow employee to get work done. Faster and better.

We all work in a company where more than half your workforce is in their early thirties or lesser. These people are realizing their careers. They are working hard for their living. They are not satisfied with mediocrity. They want more salaries. They want better work profiles. They want bigger cars. They want to party harder on weekends.

All this is fine. But have you observed how they work. How they get work done?

Lets take two employees interacting

Pluto : Ssup bro! Hows it going. |  Mars: Going on great macha, you say. How was your weekend?

Pluto: Nasty bro. woke up with a heavy hangover. This new place opened up. Crazy crowded. You should try it out. | Mars: Oh really? Where is it? Sure I would try it out next weekend.

Pluto: You did anything this weekend? | Mars: Nah just the usual. Lazed around in my room.

Pluto: Listen what do you know about this new process coming up? Need some heads-up so that I won’t be all bonkers when the launch meeting happens. | Mars: Hey man, looks like this process is going to land on your doorstep. Sure, I’ll walk you through over tea today evening.

Accordingly Mars brings Pluto upto speed on what the new process is about and obviously they get a good rapport even before the new area of work starts.

This is the Macha culture / bro culture or however you want to call it. This is gender neutral obviously.

This works majorly because you are not intimidating the other person with your formal approach. The more formal approach, the more doubt or insecurity or fear you create in the person you are approaching. The more informal your approach is, the person is less likely to feel threatened.

This bro culture need not necessarily be used with the persons who you already know. This works equally the same with someone who you speak for the first time, peer or senior. But you would keep it mild initially till you become tighter bros of course.

Mercury: Hey Gupiter, heard you are a veteran in this company. Also heard your a big cricket fan. Who’s your favorite player. | Gupiter: Haha, 4 years and you become a veteran in these times. Thanks Mercury. Nice meeting you too. X is my favorite player. What do you do.

See what I am talking about?

So have you tried the “Macha” culture yet at your workplace?



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The Dark Knight of Tennis

By Varun Mannava (Pub Reviewer & the Author of the *Bestseller book “Polite Pickup Lines in Indian Pubs” buy now on Amazon — CLICK HERE )

As the dream becomes a reality for Roger Federer and his millions of fans worldwide, I cannot stop but compare the return and rise of this great champion to Christopher Nolan’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne.

“Batman Begins”:

Bruce Wayne waits decades for justice to be delivered for his parents killings, however the convict who turns approver is set free midway through life sentence.

Roger Federer:

Reaches 2014 and 2015 Wimbledon finals, however he cannot get past Djokovic. The 8th Wimbledon title still eludes him.

“Batman Begins”:

Bruce Wayne comes prepared for this result. He carries a tiny revolver in his coat pocket. He cannot bear the fact that his parents’ killer is being set free. However before he shoots, the convict turned approver is shot by someone else.

Roger Federer:

He comes prepared for 2016, raises from a close quarter final match against Cilic after losing first 2 sets. However he needs to win 2 more matches for glory.

“Batman Begins”:

Bruce Wayne is happy, but he does not realize he had fallen. Rachel makes him realize how low he had fallen. He immediately leaves Gotham City and starts re-discovering true crime and true solutions to crime.

Roger Federer:

He is happy over the quarter final win but he literally slips and falls in the semi finals. He immediately leaves his current tennis tour and decides to take re-discovering and re-inventing tennis trip.

“Batman Begins”:

While the media indulged in all kinds of doubts and rumors about the disappearance of the billionaire, Bruce Wayne gets enlightened like the Buddha. He knows exactly how to fight crime and when. He gets back to Gotham City with a bang. He is a Vigilante!

Roger Federer:

While the media indulged in all kinds of doubts and rumors about the disappearance of the legendary tennis player, Federer gets enlightened like the Buddha. He knows exactly how to fight opponents and when. He gets back to  the Tennis tour with a bang. He is GOAT (Greatest Of All Time)!


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Modern Cab Tales : Season 1 Episode 3

(Quick rewind till now – We witnessed 3 passengers (Anaida, Akanksha and Anand) discussed a terror threat article in a share cab but forget a bag in the cab. The bag which belonged to Anand contained explosive but Anaida and Akanksha end up getting hurt. While driving to the hospital, the cab driver gets a call on his mobile and the voice sounded familiar, “Did the two women survive the blast?”)

[Few hours ago…]

“Tipsy where are you. Come on its time for your everyday stroll, else you will end up doing potty at home” says Anand. By now Tipsy would come running wagging his tail all excited to go out. But there was no sign of Tipsy.

“Ma, have you seen Tipsy?” Anand asks his mom. “Check under dad’s bed or under the sofa.” his mom replies casually. Anand first checks under his dad’s bed, still no sign. So he gets to the living room. He sees two well grown men with back packs and face masks sitting in the sofa along with Tipsy.

At first Anand thinks this is some prank but he quickly realizes the situation. And before he could move, the man squeezes tipsy’s face and turns it away. Within split seconds Tipsy falls to the ground. Anand has no time to react.

“We had to do this so that you won’t take our words lightly. We want you to listen to us very carefully.” said a man wearing a black face mask. The other one was wearing a yellow face mask. They were carrying big bags like the ones Amazon or Flipkart delivery boys would wear. So the apartment security would have thought they were delivering courier. Or they might have entered the premises by jumping over the compound wall from the east side where its lonely most of the time.

Anand is listening to them with fear and caution. The time struck 5 pm and he could see that his pet who was alive and vibrant for the last 8 years is lying motionless in his living room.

“We had to do this otherwise you will not understand our intensity and its after all a dog.” said the man wearing yellow mask. “Now tell us, are you expecting any further guests at this time? Who else stays with you in this house?” he further asked.

Anand gathered his voice and said “No we are not expecting anyone else. Just me, mom and dad.”

“Good. Now listen to us carefully. We want you to leave right now, take this small bag (he removed a small bag from one of his bigger bags) and reach Inorbit Mall before 7 pm. No tricks, no cops. Else we will first kill your parents and then will go on a killing rampage in the apartment. The metal detectors will not work today. Once you get through security, you will reach the food court, drop the bag there and come out. This way it will ensure there are maximum casualties. We will be watching the news. If the bomb does not go off in Inorbit Mall, we will kill your parents. Get back home once you are done.” said the man in the black mask.

Anand ensured his parents that he will return safely. He books a share cab. He is completely shocked. He is trying to think a way out of this situation. He cant go to Inorbit mall. He changes his destination to film-nagar. He thinks he will meet his friend there and discuss a solution out of this trap.

Immediately there is another booking for the cab. 2 women (Anaida and Akanksha) enter the cab. They keep talking for around 20 minutes and finally they inadvertently reveal that they are going to Inorbit mall. Almost like a chain reaction, Anand starts talking to them and tries to befriend them. What if the bag explodes before he enters the food court? He did not want to risk his life. He wants to give over the bag to the two women. So he comes up with a fake excuse.  Although this may sound selfish on his part, he was acting out of panic. He wanted to save his life first.

[Back to current time…]

I reply to Anand’s question “Yes they both are alive, I wont let them die!”

“But mark my words, even if these two women forgive you, I will never forgive nor will I forget your face!”

To be continued…….


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Fat Pigeon : Many Pubs inside a single Pub

By Varun Mannava (Pub Reviewer & the Author of the *Bestseller book “Polite Pickup Lines in Indian Pubs” buy now on Amazon — )

I see a menu card has a picture of an animated pigeon and the tagline said “Fat bird found with tons of booze”. And it did have a lot of scope to give away those tons of booze too. 3 bars within 2 floors and hundreds of ‘Awesome people who deserve Awesome booze’.

Getting entry is a big challenge, that too on a Saturday night. There will be at least 50 people standing near the entry gate. Half of them waiting for their friends to join and the remaining half are undecided because they just got to know from the concierge that there are no tables available. 20 mins pass by and its almost 11 pm. The gate is partially closed. Reason ? “Sir, the club is jam packed. Sorry you may not even get place to stand.”

We still took our chances and reached the 4th floor.

The walkway from the lift to the main pub has a lot of ‘selfie clicking’ accessories. One of them interestingly looked like a standalone car door.

Before we enter the main pub on the 4th floor, to the left of the walkway, there is a mini hangout area with a bar and a few tables. Its for people who want to occasionally chat because they cant hear themselves inside the pub where dj is playing. Or for those who want to look at the mad crowd from a distance.

Turn right from the walkway and you enter the main pub where the dj is playing. The dj console is located on far end one floor above the bar. Its an exclusive DJ console with no crowd to disturb him, yet he can look at the crowd like a bird’s eye view.

The bartenders in the main bar are dressed up in causal t-shirt and jeans along with a black & white checked shirt. They look like friendly college going students. They are quite quick and helpful too. There is a huge bar in the middle of this main pub and these bartenders are inside the bar, of course. Outside the bar however are the awesome jam packed Hyderabad pub goers. We could also see some single women partying on their own, which is a rarity in this town.

From the main bar there is a door which leads to a cozy balcony area in the same floor and we see a few couples relishing their private time.

Come out of the main pub, turn left and you go back to the elevators and can go home. But wait there is something else on the right side. Climb a few steps and you would see a mini open air auditorium. There are a few tables here but people can also sit on the steps in this mini auditorium. Wait, are we still in a pub? Yes of course. They were screening Kung Fu Panda using a screen and a projector.

Now comes the biggest surprise of all. Far from the loud and madding crowd, the terrace has “live music” and a relaxing ambience. Unless you get caught in the rain, it’s quite serene under the open sky, having a good time with your loved ones and friends. This section has waiters and service. The terrace also has two big tables in the middle and the seating for these two tables alone is a bit different to the rest of the seats on terrace. Those two tables have a few cool huge-ass swings as seats! Ha.

We made new friends, spoke to absolute strangers and got to know their passions, future plans, work challenges and yet gulped a few bottles of beer, took groupies, exchanged numbers, bid goodbyes, transferred booze into plastic takeaway glasses and finally hit the road (booked cabs of course, remember no drink and drive!).

Even while coming down in the elevator, I met a “Spine Surgeon” and his wife who were looking curiously towards my t-shirt which has a bar like design and reads “Polite Pickup Lines in Indian Pubs”. I told them its the name of my book and that its about conversation starters. They said it sounds very interesting and that they will buy it ! That made my day!

To be honest, I have never seen such vibrant crowd in Hyderabad at least till now. My take is that these awesome people had always existed in Hyderabad but Fat Pigeon has achieved the “Himalayan” task of gathering all these (awesome people) under one roof!

Happy Pubbing Hyderabad !




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