Ponniyin Selvan 1 movie review: Mani Ratnam’s largely faithful and brilliant adaptation has no dull moments

The hardest facet of adapting Ponniyin Selvan into a movie is how you can condense a magnum opus spanning 2000 pages right into a 2.5 hour film. It’s a tricky selection — what to make use of and what to discard. Right here’s the place Mani Ratnam wins. He cuts by means of the faff (actually, there’s lots within the textual content) and takes solely issues that transfer the story ahead. Protecting about two-and-a-half books of the five-part sequence, Ponniyin Selvan 1 tells the story that takes place in a number of locations. With Sundara Cholan’s (performed by Prakash Raj) failing well being, a coup is staged to stop prince Aditha Karikalan (Vikram) from changing into the following king. The younger prince, who’s away from the capital, sends his good friend Vallavarayan Vanthiyathevan (Karthi), a spy and a messenger from Kanchi, to seek out the traitors. This is only one piece of the jigsaw, with different plotlines involving Arulmozhi Varman (Jayam Ravi) in Sri Lanka and Kundhavai (Trisha) in Pazhayarai. Whereas it’s robust to even write a pithy synopsis of the 5-part novel, Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan finds time and area to incorporate the very best of the unique and add two immersive battle sequences.

The battle sequences, nevertheless, make PS 1 probably the most industrial movie of Mani Ratnam’s profession. The apparent objective of the 2 sequences is to pander to the rising thirst of audiences for larger-than-life battle moments on display post-Baahubali. Ratnam, nevertheless, refuses to take the simple means out — the battle sequences look actual and genuine as an alternative of simply being the introduction scenes of the heroes. The filmmaker consciously takes this path regardless of having a narrative that may simply be exploited for “fireplace and water” moments.

Mani Ratnam makes the drama extra engrossing than the sword fights. The assembly of Nandini (Aishwarya Rai) and Kundhavai (Trisha) is glowing, Aditha Karikalan’s monologue about Nandini is memorable, and Vallavarayan Vanthiyathevan’s hopeless pick-up strains are extra pleasant than sinking ships and burning forts. Take the scene the place Pazhuvettaraiyar brothers (Sarathkumar and Parthiban) meet Sundara Cholan. The king is aware of the 2, who’ve been trustworthy associates of the dominion, are plotting towards him. How do you present this ache with out dialogue? Right here’s how: the king is present process acupuncture therapy and the docs are piercing his ‘again’ with needles as he speaks to the traitors. It’s an evident symbolism, however refined and efficient. Equally, we’ve fairly on a regular basis dialogues sans the standard Mani Ratnam contact. The director has stated earlier he was frightened concerning the dialogues as he needed them to be pure Tamil however not dramatic and archaic. Tamil author Jeyamohan turned out to be the proper man for the job. The strains seldom sound odd to the viewer who doesn’t communicate that outdated Tamil anymore.

Aishwarya Rai as Nandini in Ponniyin Selvan

One other factor that’s majorly in favour of the movie is the efficient performances. Like within the novel, Vallavarayan Vanthiyathevan steals the present effortlessly. Karthi lives as much as all of the expectations — he’s effortlessly charming as a glib flirt and on the identical time, you see him as a courageous warrior. I don’t know if anybody aside from Mani Ratnam may have achieved justice to all of the hype Kalki created about Nandini Devi. Sure, it’s performed by Aishwarya Rai, however her scenes are a research in completely presenting a personality — the seductive music and mushy focus are as sensuous because the actor herself. Mani Ratnam has certainly created Kalki’s ‘Maya Mohini’ on display.

Alternatively, Jayam Ravi and Trisha shock you as Ponniyin Selvan and Kundhavai, respectively. What have been perceived as odd decisions transform the proper ones. Ravi radiates the affable vitality of a level-headed prince, who’s in command of issues. Personally, I felt probably the most heroic moments went to Trisha as Kundhavai, and never for a second she fails to stay upto them.

One other hero of the movie has stood behind the digital camera. It might be a cliche to say ‘each body of cinematographer Ravi Varam appears like a portray’, however what are you able to do when it’s the fact? From Nandini stress-free in her palace earlier than assembly Vanthiyathevan to the acute lengthy shot of Poongkuzhali’s boat within the huge ocean to the entry of Aditha Karikalan on his horse, many such frames in PS1 are worthy sufficient to be hung as work. It’s one factor to make photographs scream ‘grand’ and one other to shoot the innate grandness of issues. Ravi Varman’s work clearly belongs to the second class.

The distinction between Mani Ratnam’s model of business movies and the remaining turns into evident with Ponniyin Selvan. He doesn’t make demi-gods out of his heroes, they’re simply kings. Additionally, the filmmaker respects the viewers. When Kundhavai sends Vanthiyathevan to Sri Lanka, the movie takes an enormous leap. The following time after we see Karthi, he’s in a ship within the ocean. He trusts viewers intelligence to fill within the gaps and that’s why PS 1 is rewarding. He additionally understands that Ponniyin Selvan is itself a mainstream page-turner that panders to the viewers. Therefore, he neither dumbs it down nor intellectualizes it. As an alternative, he retains the flavour of the widely-enjoyed e book on this totally pleasant movie.

Ponniyin Selvan film forged: Karthi, Jayam Ravi, Vikram, Aishwarya Rai, Trisha, Jayaram
Ponniyin Selvan film director: Mani Ratnam
Ponniyin Selvan film ranking: 4 stars

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