Ponniyin Selvan Review
Mani Ratnam skillfully brings Kalki's " Ponniyin Selvan:1 " characters to life on screen with the help of a talented ensemble cast delivering outstanding performances.
One issue with Mani Ratnam's latest multi-starrer, Ponniyin Selvan: 1, is that it is often compared to other works. Fans of Kalki's acclaimed Tamil literary masterpiece will likely feel firmly attached to their favorite characters and eagerly await the arrival of beloved scenes. The novel's frequent war passages may evoke similarities to the contemporary film RRR for those unfamiliar with the story.
It is commendable that the director can satisfy both ends of the spectrum. Mani Ratnam's latest historical drama revolves around a power struggle within the Chola kingdom. Emperor Sundara Chola's (Prakash Raj) health is declining, and a successor is needed. Aditha Karikalan (Vikram) is the frontrunner, but Sundara Chola also has a daughter named Kundavai (Trisha) and a son named Arunmozhi Varman (Jayam Ravi) who are also contenders.
Sarath Kumar, also known as Periya Pazhuvettariyar, is the second most influential person in the empire. He and his group of advisers are backing a different candidate for the royal position, making selecting the right person to sit on the throne more challenging. What happens next?
The story can be told differently, but author Kalki and director Mani Ratnam decided to narrate it from the perspective of Vanthiyathevan, played by Karthi. Despite having no significant connection to the plot aside from being Aditha Karikalan's companion, Vanthiyathevan is the film's primary viewpoint. His eyes widen in amazement whenever he discovers something new, much like us. He embarks on a profound journey to spread important messages but also knows how to have fun. Essentially, Vanthiyathevan represents us, the audience, as we observe a film that explores themes of courage, greed, honesty, and betrayal.
About Ponniyin Selvan
"Ponniyin Selvan 1" is a movie directed by Mani Ratnam. The cast includes Jayam Ravi, Karthi, Trisha, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Prakash Raj. The film is 2 hours and 47 minutes long. It explores a succession conflict in the Chola kingdom, leaving the question of who will emerge victorious.
Mani Ratnam brings a cinematic feel to his films by skillfully portraying various characters who experience various emotions. His films benefit from a talented cast, including Karthi, who impresses with his energetic acting and slick talking. Vikram delivers an outstanding performance, moving viewers with his emotional portrayal of a character haunted by his past. Jayam Ravi embodies his character with a respectful, laid-back demeanor, befitting royalty.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Trisha do a good job of capturing the Tamil accents of Nandini and Kundavi, however, the confrontation sequence between them required more drama. Aishwarya Rai looks stunning and performs brilliantly in the rare parts that hint at the villainy of her character, but there is still much need for improvement. We'll hold off till the following chapter.
One issue with this epic is that aside from the main characters, little attention is given to others, such as Poonguzhali (played by Aishwarya Lekshmi) and other characters who only have brief appearances. It leaves the viewer questioning their relationship to the main story. However, Jayaram's portrayal of Azhawarkadiyan Nambi stands out due to his personality and outspoken behavior. Another challenge is the presence of many significant characters and the use of outdated Tamil speech, which can make it hard for the average viewer to follow.
Its main draw is the movie's ability to transport viewers to a bygone era. Ponniyin Selvan: 1 immerses you in the kingdom's grandeur and the excitement of battle scenes, but some may find the ocean scenes in the second half needing improvement. The production design by Thota Tharani is remarkable, and Ravi Varman's camera work follows the actors seamlessly. The horseback scenes shot in fast-motion are just as stunning as those bathed in sunlight. AR Rahman's music has been a signature of Mani Ratnam's films since Roja, and it continues to elevate the battle scenes and drive the plot forward with strategically placed songs.
Mani Ratnam accomplished something impressive by bringing to life the film topics MGR and Kamal Haasan envisioned. But who is Mani Ratnam at his core? Is he skilled at creating vibrant and romantic characters, such as Karthik (Alaipayuthe) or Amarkant (Dil Se), that evoke feelings of love? Or is he more comparable to characters like Surya (Thalapathi) or Velu Naicker (Nayakan), who must make important decisions? In short, is he good or bad at what he does?
In Ponniyin Selvan, the protagonist balances kindness and cunning in dealing with characters like Arunmozhi Varman and Nandini. Aditha Karikalan and Vandhiyathevan also showcase moments of humor and sincerity. The movie is a powerful storytelling experience, lasting 167 minutes and featuring stunning visuals.