Ever since its publication, the adaptation of Kalki Krishnamurthy’s novel had been explored by several Tamil filmmakers, including an attempt by M. G. Ramachandran in the late 1950s. However nothing materialised mainly due to financial constraints. Decades later Mani Ratnam tried to adapt Ponniyin Selvan in the mid-1990s and early-2010s; these efforts were also unsuccessful. Stating it as his “dream project”, Ratnam revived the adaptation in January 2019, with Lyca Productions on board to fund the project. After several changes in the cast and crew, production began in December 2019 and was ended in September 2021, having been halted twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film was shot in various places across India, with a few sequences being filmed in Thailand. Ponniyin Selvan was originally intended to be a single film but it was split into two parts.
The film was released in theatres worldwide on 30 September 2022 in standard and IMAX formats. It received positive reviews from film critics, journalists and audiences.
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Ponniyin Selvan Film Facts
|Directed by||Mani Ratnam|
|Screenplay by||Mani Ratnam|
|Dialogues by||B. Jeyamohan|
|Based on||Ponniyin Selvan|
by Kalki Krishnamurthy
|Produced by||Mani Ratnam|
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
|Edited by||A. Sreekar Prasad|
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Distributed by||Red Giant Movies (Tamil Nadu)|
Sri Venkateswara Creations (Andhra Pradesh & Telangana)
Sree Gokulam Movies (Kerala)
Pen India Limited (North India)
Lyca Productions in association with Tentkotta (Overseas)
|Running time||167 minutes|
Ponnyin Selvan Reviews
Ranging across continents and generations, the characters of Ponniyin Selvan are in galore and their long-standing feud for the throne constitute the soul of Kalki’s eponymous novel Ponniyin Selvan. For decades the novel couldn’t find its master filmmaker and then after being patient and passionate for 40 years ace director Mani Ratnam finally made his dream come true. Ponniyin Selvan is indeed a Magnum opus extravaganza that adapts the source material’s essence in the most breathtaking way.
I would like to put Ponniyin Selvan under the genre of drama rather than describing it as a war/historical film. Unlike other period films we’ve seen the route here’s more grounded and rooted to reality where characters show absolute vulnerability and weaknesses. They are meticulosly constructed with layers and shades with more to open in the second part. Though they appear larger than life at parts Mani Ratnam’s counters it with a strong emotional arc that makes it more balanced. Ponniyin Selvan is an ambitious, visually sumptuous tale where the grandeur doesn’t end just with the visuals; the nuances in writing and staging of prime events are so marvellous that it keeps the flow alive despite its slow energy in pace. The characters are innumerable where each has its own conflicts to deal with. The subplots are tad confusing and one might lose focus in tracking those events; however, the staggering setting keeps those missing pieces less noticeable. Ponniyin Selvan takes its time to enter into the major crux and it sets the base for a bigger conflict with this first part.
Thus expecting highs and goosebumps inducing sequence here might backfire. Mani Ratnam’s vision never makes any intention to be a commercial potboiler with cinematic makeovers yet has all the qualities of a big budget drama. But there are few shortcomings where the film hit serious bumps starting with the shoddy vfx. Despite an eloquent world building the vfx doesn’t match up to its quality especially when it has to be at its best. The first half is slightly sluggish mostly due to the realistic route; severe trimming to those portions might’ve made more wonders.. Even though the less cinematic inclusions adds a fine layer of novelty the film deserved a slight tuning of high points .
What worked big-time for the film is its stellar cast that made this gigantic film a success in the first place. Karthi brings occasional laughter and lighter moments who shoulders this multi starrer in his style. He is flirtatious, comic and shows great elan while in action scenes..The ease in which he performs makes us root for Vallavaraiyan Vandiyadevan. It was Jayam Ravi who surprised me with a commendable performance as Arunmozhi Varman. He is a subtle, calm, fierce prince and the actor nails all those traits without over exaggeration. Chiyaan Vikram within less screen hour is fine but the effects of Ravanan still haunts the star. In a world dominated by males Nandhini and Kundavai played by Aishwarya Rai and Trisha respectively made a strenuous impact with their dominant presence. Aishwarya looks cunning as Nandhini who’s sharp and shrewd in a beguiling avatar. Trisha aces the role with her enchanting makeover and one-liners. She looks ethereal and simply stole the show during several peak moments. Aishwarya Lekshmi, Sarathkumar, Sobhita, Rahman, Parthibhan in supporting roles do ample support to this wonder tale. Jayaram as Nambi totally owned the role and his sync with Karthi was unmatchable.
Ponniyin Selvan is a result of sheer hard work and passion supported by outstanding technical equations. AR Rahman pulsates each event with his spectacular soundtrack along with Ravi Varman’s sensational visuals. Ponniyin Selvan is a film that requires immense richness in its visuals and Ravi Varman’s lens captures those emotions in the right metre making it more captivating. The political conspiracies, betrayal, hunger for power is the driving source for this magnanimous tale and limiting it in 2 parts is a daunting task. Still Mani Ratnam made this dream project nothing less than brilliant.
— This Review Appeared on Cinema Paradiso FB Group by Rahul Babu