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Ponniyin Selvan – Real to Reel

MA Journalism and Mass Communication students of PSG College of Arts & Science, Coimbatore initiate their writing skills by analysing the script and scenes of Ponniyin Selvan (2022), a Block buster made by Maniratnam based on Kalki Krishnamurthy’s novel about the Chola Dynasty in India.

21 thoughts on “Ponniyin Selvan – Real to Reel

  1. The much awaited film of the year, Ponniyin Selvan by Director Mani Ratnam is an exquisite movie to be never missed. Amazing BGM by A.R.Rahman takes us into the Chola dynasty. Lead actors of PS -1 have lived as the characters, especially the intense depiction of Nandhini and Oomai Raani has got me chills. I would say each and every lead actor was aptly selected for their roles. Well-articulated script. Hats off to the whole team of Ponniyin Selvan and I would definitely watch the second part with the same excitement level that I had while watching the first part.
    Decent adaption of such a complex, intrinsic, energetic novel.

  2. Ponniyin selvan is an outstanding movie by director Maniratnam. Audience who don’t know the PS1 story enjoyed Ponniyin Selvan movie and Audience who knew the story are not satisfied with PS1. Vikram , Karthi and Jayam Ravi outstanding performance throughout the movie. The introduction to small characters w nere not given properly so it makes a confusion among audience. All the songs of PS 1 were excellent and energetic. Last 30 minutes was slow. PS 1 was made commercially, so they added a lot of other spices to the stories. Overall it was an excellent entertaining movie and not a history.

  3. Great movie with slow screenplay, all actors were performing well, apart from acting, art directions and costume and vfx were touching top notch level. Once again the Director of the movie, Mani Rathnam proved his capability and his skills. I hope this movie will make our kollywood pride.

  4. The successful collaboration of A.R. Rahman and Mani Ratnam continues…

    Ponniyin Selvan: 1 (PS:1) was released in theatres on 30th September 2022 in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Kannada, and Malayalam Languages, casting Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Karthi, Trisha Krishnan, Jayam Ravi, Shobita Dulipala, Aiswarya Lekshmi, Prabhu, Vikram Prabhu, Sarathkumar, Prakash Raj, Nassar.

    The movie has a Box Office collection of Rs 100 crore only in Tamil Nadu & Rs 250 crore worldwide after the business of the first 4 days.

    Ponniyin Selvan : 1 marks director Mani Ratnam’s comeback after 4 years. He believes in giving the best cinematic experience and we have seen that earlier too in movies like Roja, Dil Se, Yuva, Guru, and Raavan. Though the period drama Ponniyin Selvan : 1 was more challenging than his earlier projects, especially in the technical aspect and he didn’t let the audience’s expectations down.

    Like most of his previous movies, the way he has combined art and commercial elements in Ponniyin Selvan : 1 deserves a lot of appreciation. The successful collaboration of A.R. Rahman and Mani Ratnam continues from Roja to Ponniyin Selvan : 1. The songs and background score by A.R. Rahman were pleasant and Ravi Varman’s camerawork also deserves a mention.

    Karthi as Vandhiyathevan delivered an outstanding performance. He had a good screen presence in the first half and he left a great impact. His dialogue delivery and comic timings were nearly perfect.

    Jayam Ravi appeared after the interval but left a lasting impression with his performance. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Trisha both were looking gorgeous and provided convincing performances with their respective characters.

    Only Vikram looked a bit underutilized, he had very less screen time and his character development also didn’t look good. Shobita Dulipala, Aiswarya Lekshmi, Nassar, Sarathkumar, and Prakash Raj provided ably support with their respective characters.

    We didn’t receive many details about a few characters which we may get in Ponniyin Selvan: 2 which is scheduled to be released in 2023.

    Overall speaking Ponniyin Selvan : 1 is a blockbuster period drama movie that has been adapted from the novel, Ponniyin Selvan and has almost every element from Mani Ratnam’s brilliant storytelling to A.R. Rahman’s pleasant music to keep you hooked to your seats.

  5. Ponniyin Selvan

    I have read all the five parts of Ponni Selvan
    written by Amarar Kalki. Here I would like to share my opinion about the book. Kalki has written very interestingly with a grand plot and diverse characters. Until the final part is read, it appears that there are major historical errors in all the following sections. He has made some changes in the final part to correct these errors. Although the names of historical kings are included in this novel, this novel is entirely Kalki’s imagination only. The basis of this story is the question of who killed Aditha Karikalan. But by the time Kalki started writing this novel, inscriptional evidence of who killed Adittha Karikalan was available. But Kalki does not mention it in this novel.

    I have also seen Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan.
    As I had already read the novel I was able to spot various flaws in the film. If the novel has to be filmed, some parts of the novel may be omitted due to the length of the film, but they have changed some parts according to their convenience. Also I will say that the importance given to Nandini’s character is not given to other characters. Similarly I am not satisfied with the dialogues, sometimes speaking in ancient language and sometimes in modern language is not appropriate. The music of this film was not satisfying to me compared to the historical fiction film Kochadaiyaan composed by A.R.Rahman. Visualization does not set any scenes to justify Thanjavur, the location of the story. The story seems to take place in North India. I am not satisfied with the film.

    Because Kalki did not tell, Mani Ratnam also not going to tell who killed Aditha Karikalan.

    Readers of this novel and viewers of this film should consider it only as fiction and not as a history.

    Kalki has written a grand novel and Mani Ratnam has made it a grand film, but no one can deny the truth of the ‘Udayarkudi Inscription’.

    If you want to know the true history of the Cholas, read the books of archaeologist Kudavayil Balasubramanian.

  6. Technically, Ponniyin Selvan is top-notch movie I ‘ve ever seen. Be it Ravi Varman’s brilliant cinematography and AR Rahman’s excellent bgm, the film sucks us into the world that Mani Ratnam has created with so much detailing.The actors and their acting were just awesome. Must Watch movie. The Greatness of Hindu Kings and their kingdoms.

  7. I had watched PS 1 on first day. This shows my curiosity about that film. And yes Mani RATNAM hasn’t made me to disappoint though. I literally enjoyed every scene of the movie. I have read Ponniyin Selvan, so I could relate it to the scenes easily. It was not full and full historical. There was some imaginations too. The screen play was really good. I had goosebumps for every scene. In second half, the war sequence made to realise the worth of Kollywood. The visuals had literally taken me to the Chola’s era.

  8. Going back round thousand years the chola Kingdom is on a spree of expansion and is on its way to reaching the Pinnacle of its Glory. It was not only the kings and the vanquished royals but also a beautiful young Queen who can’t wait for the kingdom to fall. With Vanthiyathevan galloping on his horse the entire audience travel through the story alongside it is a herculean task for all the casting, subtitle, imagery cinematography etc.

    Priyanka D
    1st MJMC

  9. A well-made historical film with a classical feel. I didn’t read Ponniyin Selvan’s novel, but I thoroughly loved the film. Every character’s images, sound effects, and performance did honour to their roles. Hats off to Actor Karthi who was absolute cracker in the first half and the adventurous guy got all the fun and screen time as well. as Vikram’s interval scene was Mind Blowing. Unexpectedly,Trisha scored beyond expectation. Some parts have saggy conversations and are unappealing, but it’s not sure whether the tale would be as effective without them. This film is a jewel of Indian cinema and history that should be seen. Hoping for great PS2, hopefully better than PS1.

  10. Being a admirer of Mani Rathanam sir movies,the expectations was high. As expected it was a super good movie with a great screenplay. I watched in Tamil. As it is a historical based movie the language could have been better. Expect that the language it was up to my expectations. Music of AR Rahman took the movie to the next level. Actors has done the best. Eagerly waiting for Ponniyin Selvan 2.

    Darsini V J
    Ist MJMC

  11. A movie that has been a dream of Tamil cinema for the past few decades,Mani Ratnam’s art fulfilled that.Tamil history which was modified for the better for the screens was perfectly portrayed.Aishwarya Rai Bachan (Nandhini) stole the show with her impressive screen presence.Trisha (Kunthavai Piratiyar) was the perfect example of ‘Beauty with Brains’.The whole crew fitted their roles perfectly.Having not read the novel yet,with unsureness of how the story will be,the movie was a great treat.The movie also got me into the plan of reading the novel.Cant wait for reading the novel and the second part of the movie


  12. I didn’t read the book from which the movie was made, but i really liked the movie. It is quite challenging to convey history since viewers can find the movie slow. The splendour and might of the Chola dynasty as well as Tamil culture, have been beautifully portrayed. Being a fan of Mani Ratnam films i couldn’t wait to see this movie. the cast is perfect, and the film is well-made. Mani Ratnam and Ravi Varman consistently excels at providing the best frames, and this time was no exception. A.R. Rahman’s background score and Soundtrack elevated the movie to a next level. Consequently, anticipating for PS-2 to get a complete idea of the story.

    I read the five parts of the book and clarified somethings in podcasts too. It was such a majestic story with great language used by the great writer kalki. As i said before it was a great story not an history. The beautiful thing is most of the important characters are entirely fictional like Nandhini,Poonguzhali,Nambi and Mandakini Devi.
    Come the film Ponniyin Selvan ,it is really a big thing done by the director Mani Ratnam. He covered the maximum scenes in the first part .Even though he directed the great scenes as well as he missed to deliver the real essence of the characters dialogue delivery. I think it may be to the understanding of everyone ,but as a reader of that book i felt i am not able to get the essence that i got while reading.
    This film contains many pros and cons some of the pros are the attire and characters selection .Especially the character for actor Vikram is so perfect. Likewise the cons are they portray Vandhiya devan as a playboy character is right only but he is the great friend of the character Poonguzhali but they never deliver it as what exactly kalki said.
    Actually in this story, kalki never reveal the exact killers but we can get the real answers through the next phase of Chola’s story the so called Udayar .In this we get the idea of middle age period of the king Raja raja cholan.

  14. A Great adaptation of the epic novel. The director has done extraordinary work with his screenplay and brings out the best in the actors. Special mention to Aishwarya Rai and Trisha. Rahman’s background score and the songs sound good. Ravi Varma’s magical visual and the art director’s stunning work strengthens the movie. Master Maniratnam proves not only an adrenaline rush is a cinematic experience. Big applause to the team Ponniyin selva. Mani Ratnam – Rahman duo never fail to capture our hearts. Don’t fail to cherish the moment on the big screen.

  15. Ponniyin Selvan movie really impressed me. AR Rahman’s music and Ravi Varman’s visuals were very charming. The actors and actresses have played their characters very well. Actor Karthi who acted as Vandhiyathevan attracted me a lot.
    I must say that Ponniyin Selvan, directed by Mani Ratnam, attracted me the most. I am completely satisfied with the movie. I am eagerly waiting for the second part.

  16. An art of exceptional screenplay, no doubt this will remain as one of a masterpiece in Indian cinema.

    People other than tamil may not connect to the movie mainly because of the new names and this version of history was never spoken before.

    Chances are if people start exploring the chola and Pandya history and then they may connect better in the PS-2 .

    As a movie it is more logic in every frame.In Bahubali movie the character is portrayed as a super hero who can do unrealistic thing’s, but In PS-1 the story is the superhero.

  17. NOTE (For those of you who are absolutely alien to Ponniyin Selvan) : You will lose track of many things if you dare to attend a call or reply to a message while watching this film.

    Firstly, Kudos to the whole team, I really enjoyed it, right from the beginning of the film to till the end. Yes, it did have its drawbacks here and there but still, we got to agree to the fact that the story, songs & background scores, cinematography, performances of the actors, and costumes didn’t fail to keep the audience engaged throughout the movie.

    I didn’t want to miss watching this movie in the theatre because, I’ve always been a huge fan of Director Mani Ratnam and Music Composer AR Rahman’s works (always a huge fan of this duo) and Yes, I did watch the film on the second day of its release. I should say this, I was literally blown away by the performances of literally, “all the actors” in the movie, the music, cinematography, costumes and more.

    As we all know, the plot of PS 1 revolves around the Chola dynasty. Sundara Cholan is the current king, and his sons Aditha Karikalan and Arulmozhi Varman are warriors. Both of them are fighting wars and expanding the kingdom. While all this is happening, there is unrest within the empire over power, and conspiracies are happening to grab power after Sundara Cholan’s rule. The conspiracy, the counteraction against it, and the real reason behind all that is what we see in Ponniyin Selvan 1.

    Ponniyin Selvan was absolutely alien to me as I haven’t read the book before watching the film. Though, I haven’t read the book and though I do not know the whole story, what I personally feel is that , Ponniyin Selvan (as a film) is definitely one of the best movies of Tamil Cinema and it did deliver what it promised to.

    When you backtrack Ponniyin Selvan 1, it manages to make you connect the dots and understand characters in a better way. And the whole power politics you see in the film somewhere stays with you. Also, the climax definitely leaves you curious and the
    revenge that drives the plot brings an exciting dimension.

    What I liked the most about the film?
    It is definitely the “Devaralan Aattam” song, the moment this song started playing in the theatre, I was in awe and completely dumbstruck even after it was over. I hope those who haven’t watched the movie yet, should get to experience this song in the theatres. Trust me, it was thrilling, especially with the visuals. And definitely the stunning
    performance of all the actors, be it Vikram, Aishwarya Rai, Karthi, Jayam Ravi, Trisha and all the others did a really great job. I should admit that I already can’t wait to watch PS 2. On the whole, Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan is worth the watch. Don’t miss it!

  18. Ponniyin Selvan 1 is a historical film. It consists of many top actors and actresses in Tamil film industry.

    Acting of all the characters in the novel suites to all the actors.

  19. I saw the movie .it was amazing…just loved every inch of it scenery set jewels music, screenplay everything was sooo good…I never felt lagging to all ..idk why people feel that way ,I feel like there soo biased

  20. Ponniyin Selvan

    ★Form VS Content – Man VS Man
    The film is entirely about who will become the next successor, the rightful heir to the throne with two major family lines fighting over what they believe is right.

    ★Film Pattern
    The film is in chronological order for the present taking place with Vallavaraiyan Vandiyadevan following his friend and soon-to-be king, Aditya Karikalan with at times flashbacks which put the storyline as well as audience understanding in place.

    ★Form and Emotion
    There are many emotions carried out in the film. The unique nature of the story has adopted each character holding their own significant emotion and the reason which led to such emotion has been marvelously woven with each scene in the film.

    ★Referential meaning
    The film has been adapted from the best-selling novel, which has already created an enormous amount of impact on people about the ancient Tamil civilization and Tamil culture. It portrays the historic times with fictional characters and their fictional life.

    ★ Mise-en-scene

    a) Setting – There are multiple settings in the film which establish the historic time frame and royalties as well as the casualties lifestyles. It also showcases the close-woven, bond between nature and the human race.

    b) Lighting – The majority of the film has low-key lighting with pecks of high-key lighting. The film has been maintained in natural lighting throughout every time of the day and night. This natural lighting establishes the audience with the narrative on one side but on the other side, the lack of proper lighting has failed to exhibit the majestic architectural settings (The palace of different kingdoms or family lines can’t be distinguished, it is more of a dark pall than historic structure), Costumes and make-up (There is merely a hand full of times where costumes like the royal saree along with jewelry of princesses and prince which can be noticed). None of the above can be caught a glimpse of nor appreciated due to under-exposure.

    c) Costumes and Make-up – The Costumes have been designed lavishly for each sector of the characters in the film. With the costume along with make-up, any character can be marked with a broad classification of which group of people they belong to such as royalties, warriors, monks, soldiers, priests, public, etc. Even with underexposure if the framing or angles with appropriate focus on the accessory/elements were made, maybe then all the effort put into them as well as the story would have been a pleasure to the eyes. The color of Nandini, Periya Paluvettaraiyar and Chinna Pazhuvil showed in dark shades (Black) as the story progresses for Aishwarya and other males are in dark shades from the beginning, maybe to indicate the nature of their character, that these characters serve a dark purpose to the story. But according to the cultural and regional background ‘Black’ has always been a giant “No, No”, which could have been followed since this takes place during historic times. So, isn’t it necessary to follow and establish what should have been rather.

    d) Properties/Props – The properties have been designed and placed aesthetically. The swords of the soldiers and each royal character, it has been designed for every particular character that stands out. The designs of each kingdom’s flag and their swords, armor, boats, etc have been designed with the theme of their animal.


    Framing – The framing used were very basic, the simplicity of the framing resulted in lack of knowing the dynamic of the environment where the plot takes place.

    Angles & Shot sizes- There weren’t any major angle shifts which could have brought out the chase and fast rythm of the climax. And the shots were close-up , mid-shot and a hand full of other shots. The one scene which wooed the audience into thearter was the tense rivarlry between Kundavai and Nandini, the close-up, panning and ariel shots had done wonders, which only raises the question on why, similar techiques weren’t implemented in the film. When this particular scene screamed block-buster, yet rest of the film felt like stuck in the 80’s Television Sit-Com, where dynamic cinimatography cannot be exiquited due to the entire Sit-Com taking place in a shoe book. However it is not the case here, the setting, the place has so much to offer and still wasn’t able to see the characters a little bit out of basic farming.

    Nevertheless, like the lyrics from High School Musicals screams from ‘Start of something new’ song, Let’s hope that “This could be the start of something new”.

  21. An art of exceptional screenplay. No doubt this will remain as one of a masterpiece in Indian cinema.
    People other than Tamilians may not connect to the movie mainly because of the new names and this version of history was never spoken before.
    Chances are if people start exploring the chola and Pandya history and then they may connect better in the PS-2.

    As a movie it is more logical in ever frame.

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