I have always considered Mani Ratnam to be a safe filmmaker who knew how to present his craft well. Of course, when it comes to love he had very few parallels in the industry. The depth that he gives to that beautiful emotion makes us overlook all the flaws.
But if u ask me one character or sequence that makes me go wow it is Basheer from Bombay. He hides the entire crux of the film in that beautiful exchange between Basheer and Narayanan Pillal.
The switching of faith between Nasser and Kitu was the bread crumb needed to decode the essence of the whole plot. Narayanan asks “What did you tell them Basheer” with fear gripping his whole being.
It is the tone of Basheer’s answer that fascinates me even today a tone of re-assurance to dismiss the chaos that surrounds them. “I told them you are my brother”.
That answer and the way ARR lends depth to the whole proceedings are surreal. It breaks down all the layers of religious fanatism and empathizes on tolerance, brotherhood and love. That sequence and that character sketch of Basheer stands tall even today.