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03 Jun, 2023
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Ponniyin Selvan: The Magnum Opus Is Not Mani Ratnam’s Idea But…

The trailer for the most awaited Tamil film Ponniyin Selvan I is out now on Tips Officials’ YouTube channel. 

The movie is an epic period drama film directed by Mani Ratnam, who produced it along with Allirajah Subaskaran and Suhasini Maniratnam. Based on the Tamil novel Ponniyin Selvan, the film features Chiyaan Vikram, Karthi, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Trisha Krishnan, and Jayaram Ravi.

Ponniyin Selvan part 1 is based on Kalki Krishnamurthy’s hugely popular Tamil novel Ponniyin Selvan. This novel was serialized between 1950 and 1954 in the Tamil weekly magazine Kalki and was published in 1955 as a book. 

The film depicts a fictional work drawn from actual historical events and characters. So, let’s find it out what is actually there in the book that inspired the Mani Ratnam directorial. 

The Best-Selling Tamil Novel – Ponniyin Selvan

The narrative, as mentioned in Kalki Krishnamurthy’s 1955 work, unfolds events from the Chola dynasty, which dates back to the 10th century. 

The original novel features adventure, romance, and a power tussle in the Chola dynasty. Although the novel is available in a single volume, Ratnam’s adaptation will come in 2 parts. Of these, the 1st part- Ponniyin Selvan I – will hit the big screens on September 30 in 5 languages including Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, and Malayalam.

The novel presents Vandiyathevan, a courier, as the main character instead of the king or queen of the dynasty. Vandiyathevan was sent by the heir apparent, Aditya Karikalan, to deliver a message to the king about his rightful claim to the throne. Following the messenger’s visit, the real tussle starts between Aditya’s siblings Arulmozhi- his brother and Kundavai- Aditya’s sister.

The lust for power among siblings creates a Game of Thrones-like scenario in the Chola kingdom. In this power game, Nandhini plays a significant role from the outside. 

Nandhini is the wife of chancellor Periya Pazhvetturayar but she was once in love with Aditya. However, she later turned against him and wished to get the entire Chola dynasty. To turn her aspirations into a reality, she starts conspiring against the dynasty.

In Ponniyin Selvan I, Karthi is seen as Vandiyathevan, Tamil actor Vikram as Aditya Karikalan, Jayaram Ravi as Arulmozhi, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Nandhini, and Trisha Krishnan as Kundavai.

Is There Any Difference Between The Novel And The Film? 

While the trailer for Mani Ratnam’s film features palace intrigue and violent battles on land and sea, the original novel stays away from bloodshed. The reason is quite clear as Kalki was a strong follower of Gandhian ideology, so he avoided adding unnecessary wars and bloodshed in his work. 

In the actual novel, war is mentioned only in a flashback format focusing on the lead characters, their adventures, and their relationships with each other. 

One aspect that makes the PS I movie a must-watch is the nature of the book, which is full of dialogues. It would be interesting to see how Mani Ratnam handles the dialogue part since he is popular for using minimal dialogues in his films.

Ponniyin Selvan 1: Will It Be Able To Do Justice To The Tamil Novel? 

Ponniyin Selvan 1 is one of the most awaited films of Mani Ratnam because the particular subject has been on the radar for a long time now. 

If you thought Mani Ratnam is the first director to have thought about making a film on Kalki Krishnamurthy’s novel, well, you are wrong! Many leading producers and directors have tried to work on this masterpiece but failed every time. The very first time was when M G Ramachandran failed to produce it in late 1950’s. 

In fact, this is not the first attempt of director Mani Ratnam. He took this task earlier and tried in mid-1990’s and early 2010’s. However, Mani Ratnam didn’t give up to his failures and again took this task and started to work on the present magnum opus in January 2019.

Despite Covid-19 pandemic challenges, the director completed his work within September 2021. The film has been shot in various places across India, and few of its shots have also been taken in Thailand.  

Watch Ponniyin Selvan trailer here: 

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