In Mani Ratnam’s latest movie Kaatru Veliyidai, the hero and heroine meet in a hospital. Varun (Karthi) has been badly injured in an accident, and he is tended to by Leela (Aditi Rao Hydari). The first person he sees when he opens his eyes is Leela. Her image is reflected in one of his eyes, and she stays there and in his heart through the rest of the narrative.
Ratnam is a firm believer in love at first sight. Whatever the genre – romance, drama, political thriller – his movies have the moment when the man and woman first set their eyes on each and are smitten for life. A single glance suffices, even when there is a fair warning that the relationship will run into hurdles (for instance, Bombay). No words are exchanged, no questions asked and no background checks conducted as the lovers rush towards peril, only to live happily ever after by the end (we are discounting the odd tragedy, such as Dil Se). Screen love has become considerably more complicated in recent years, but at least in Mani Ratnam’s universe, one look is still all it takes.