PonniyanSelvan PS1 Review; A spectacular cinematic journey into the world of the Chola dynasty
- REVIEW BY ARUNJYOTHI R
•Duration: 02 Hours 47 Minutes.
•Genre: Periodical Action Drama.
5: PERFORMANCE OF ACTORS
7:MUSIC AND BACKGROUND SCORE
6: PRODUCTION DESIGN
1: DURATION OF THE FILM
•ONE WORD: A spectacular cinematic journey into the world of the Chola dynasty.
The film starts with Aditya Karikalan (Vikram) winning a war against Rashtrakutas. After the war, he will come to know that some conspiracy is happening inside the kingdom. So he will seek the help of his army commander Vallavarayan Vanthiyadevudu (Karthi) and ask him to find out the truth. Soon Vallavarayan Vanthiyadevudu will start his long journey and during the journey, he will meet Nandhini (Aishwarya Rai), Kundavi (Trisha), and Thirumalaiappan (Jayaram). His meeting with them will make him closer to knowing the conspiracy. What’s the connection of Ponniyin Selvan Arunmozhi (Jayam Ravi), brother of Aditya in the story? Can Vallavarayan Vanthiyadevudu (Karthi) find the conspiracy and who all are going to get involved in this conspiracy?
•ANALYSIS OF THE DIRECTION, STORY, SCREENPLAY AND DIALOGUES:
Ponniyin Selvan: Part 1 is directed by the veteran filmmaker and written by Mani Ratnam. Elango Kumaravel also joined with Mani Ratnam for writing the screenplay and B. Jeyamohan had written the dialogues for the film. The film is based on the famous novel Ponniyin Selvan by Kalki Krishnamurthy. The movie is produced by Mani Ratnam and Subaskaran Allirajah under Madras Talkies and Lyca Productions. In Tamil Nadu the film is distributed by Red Giant Movies, in Kerala by Sree Gokulam Movies. Sri Venkateswara Creations distributes the film in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and Pen India Limited does the distribution in the rest of the states in India. Lyca Productions in association with Tentkotta does the overseas distribution. With a U/A censor certificate, the film is now running in theatres for 166 minutes duration.
A classical masterpiece and that’s how I will describe Ponniyin Selvan: Part 1. It’s a brilliantly executed movie with the winning formulas and touch of Mani Ratnam. The presentation and the way of making by Mani Ratnam for this Ponniyin Selvan: Part 1 is massive. I’m sure that everyone will be shocked by seeing the quality of this film. The movie is based on the great novel ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ by Kalki Krishnamurthy and it’s a large-scale novel. So converting it into a feature film is a big task but here Mani Ratnam had successfully done an unbelievable job. He splits the movie into two parts and has efficiently made this movie with a flawless direction. To be more precise Mani Ratnam has crafted this film unimaginably without losing the greatness of the novel. Those who have read the original novel will understand how much justice the movie has done, hats off to the efforts of Mani Ratnam.
The movie follows a classic making style and has not concentrated on bringing out commercial elements. So one should not expect the full-fledged periodical action stuff, here the story and screenplay are focused deeply on the characters and their history. The Chola dynasty, their ruling and their kingdom are pictured and explored more in this film so Mani Ratnam and the makers of this film are taking us to their history and culture. What I liked most was I was able to feel the period shown in the film, that much depth and clarity was given by Mani Ratnam. Those who are not familiar with the Chola dynasty and their history won’t have to fear, everything from their ruling to their history is well portrayed by Mani Ratnam. It’s a long story with numerous characters and many unexpected situations and the way Mani Ratnam directed and presented has detailed explanations and proper connection. So like I said those who don’t know the history won’t face any problems, the making and script won’t let you be confused.
Basically, the storyline of this film is interesting, it has got more than enough components to entertain us. The script is filled with numerous dramas and those dramas are crammed with many shocking and unexpected twists and turns. So the incidents in the film will surprise us, and the various situations have a dominating power to engage us. The film is lengthy and in between the film one may feel lag, but the movie doesn’t make us bored. It’s mainly because the direction of Mani Ratnam won’t let us feel bored, the continuity and the flow of the movie are steady and it constantly follows the right track. The script was magnificently written, explanations are crystal clear and the screenplay is energetic to hold and grab our minds and attention. The making style and the manner of the script are slow, and that slow-paced journey is one of the main attractive factors of this movie. The
The script is extraordinary, both the story and the screenplay lustrously gleamed to make an impact. The characters are cleverly written, and their strength and their different character shades are flawlessly implemented into the screenplay by Mani Ratnam and Elango Kumaravel. The first half deeply explores the journey of Karthi’s character and his journey has the elements of humour, actions and adventure. Several important characters in the film are introduced in the first half and those characters have given me the right amount of curiosity. Their aim, their secrets and their backstory were raising the movie forward and the character of Aishwarya Rai is unforgettable. My most favourite character in the film is Nandhini played by Aishwarya Rai because that particular character was entirely different from others. It was too intense, the emotions of her character were conveyed beautifully and her beauty. Also, the questions and mystery surrounding the character of Aishwarya Rai has surprised and amused me. The first half ended on a promising note and I was expecting a big second half. The second half was more interesting than the first half, the entry of Jayam Ravi’s character was unexpected. After his entry the movie was steady, and the slow-paced style started to balance. The villains like Sri Lankans, Pandyas and the enemies who are after Ponniyin Selvan were making the movie thrilling. How the characters of Karthi and Jayam Ravi meet each other and their combination of fight scenes and actions in the climax gives more beauty to the second half. The tale ending for the second part was shocking and unexpected, and now I am eagerly waiting for the second part.
Mani Ratnam had taken enough time to establish the characters and it worked out genuinely in the first half. Therefore, the detailed explanations made the characters memorable, the intention and aim of every single character are deeply written and presented convincingly by Mani Ratnam. The Tamil language used in the film is the old traditional style and it’s entirely different from the present Tamil speaking style. So we have to concentrate more on the dialogues or else confusion may appear. Dubbed versions and subtitles will help you more if you have them nearby. The excellent dialogue by B. Jeyamohan is another highlight, the old Tamil speaking style has corresponded to the film elegantly. The dialogues in the emotional scene were exceptional because the sorrow scenes had given the right mood of sorrow and sentiments. When looking into the negatives the action sequences were average, a punch and an impact was missing in the fight sequences. Also, the VFX and graphics lacked clarity in the climax. That climax scene demanded a good VFX but the result was disappointing. The sword fights and battle scenes also looked ordinary, I couldn’t get a wow element.
•PERFORMANCE OF ACTORS:
The performances of the actors were fine, everyone did their part well. There were many characters in the film, and each character was placed with the right actors. The casting was perfect and every actor in the film had given genuine acting. The film has got a huge star cast and among them, I loved the performance of Karthi very much. His screen presence throughout the film was spectacular and he carried the movie forward with his energetic acting. From the beginning to the end his stellar show had given me an engaging experience. The way he portrayed the character Vallavaraiyan Vanthiyathevan was fabulous because the character has a sarcastic personality and he handled that sarcastic quality accurately. Also how Karthi maintained it throughout the film and how he presented it deserves mention. His action sequences were good, and the adventurous journey of his character was fun and thrilling. The humour touch on that character was also easily done by Karthi, and the dialogue delivery never went wrong. Vikram as Aditha Karikalan also did a nice job, his acting and facial expressions were brilliant. The scene in which he expresses his childhood memory was so beautiful. In that scene, we can see his clean natural way of acting, and the emotions of love and sorrow deeply. The screen presence of Vikram was limited but whenever he comes some solid crucial scenes will uplift the film. Vikram clearly understood the attitude of his character and he maintained the personality of his character meaningfully. The intro fight sequences of Vikram and his facial expression in the crucial scenes were awesome. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was gorgeously seen all over the film, it’s hard to believe that she is forty-eight years old. Her expressions were priceless, the intense look she expressed and the way she undertook the character was outstanding. Her character was very important in the film and she had given her best to give an impact. I am sure that in the upcoming part 2, her character and acting will blow everyone’s mind. The dialogue delivery of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was flawless, the intense acting with the sharp dialogue and her beauty proves that she is the best.
Jayam Ravi as Arulmozhi Varman (Ponniyin Selvan) did a satisfying performance, he appears from the second half of the film. After his appearance the movie was engaging, his screen presence and the action sequences had given a gripping feel. His dialogue delivery was fair and the acting was also good. Jayam Ravi’s combination of scenes with Karthi and the climax action sequences looked nice. Trisha was brilliant, her character Kundavi was very crucial and she had given a neat performance. Her outlook was charming and she looked stunning and her beauty is very hard to explain. The dialogue delivery and the expression according to the various situations were perfectly acted out by Trisha. Aishwarya Lekshmi as Poonguzhali did a notable performance, her look was lovely and her smile was so good. The performance of Aishwarya Lekshmi was fine and the boat woman character suited her well. Sobhita Dhulipala as Vaanathi also scored well, her dance and acting are noteworthy. R. Sarathkumar as Periya Pazhuvettaraiyar, Rahman as Madurantaka Chola and R. Parthiban as Chinna Pazhuvettaraiyar had negative characters and three of them did a matching performances to portray the villain shades. Jayaram as Azhwarkadiyan Nambi did a great performance, his humour scenes were good. The combination scenes of Jayaram with Karthi were fun and their investigative way of finding the facts was giving a good time. Lal as Tirukoilur Malaiyaman, Ashwin Kakumanu as Senthan Amudhan, Vikram Prabhu as Parthibendra Pallavan and Prabhu as Periya Vellar Boothi Vikramakesari did total justice to their respected supportive roles.
•MUSIC, BACKGROUND SCORE:
The musical work for the film and the background score is composed by A.R Rahman. The soundtrack of this film consists of six songs and the songs were impressive. Among the songs, I loved the track “Ponni Nadhi” very much and I would rate the Ponniyin Selvan: I (soundtrack) with four out of five. The song “Ponni Nadhi” was extremely powerful to showcase the journey of Vallavaraiyan Vanthiyathevan. The beauty of nature had given more appeal for the song and the dance steps of Karthi and others also matched the song. The female chorus in the song was so delightful to hear. The singing style of A.R Rahman was matching for the song and his various modulation and high pitch notes were terrific. Sivamani’s drum playing was superb, the sound of the drums was beautifully synched and those sounds had given an additional vibrancy to the song. The sounds of violin and flute in the song felt different, the flute sound was different to hear. The lyrics by Ilango Krishnan had the right words to impress my ears and the vocals of Rahman and the chorus singing made the song mesmerizing. The second song called “Chola Chola” was nice, the chorus singing made it special and the song strongly gives the hint of war, love, fights and treachery. How Rahman had arranged the chorus singing and the use of various musical instruments gave the feeling to hear the song again.The next song “Alaikadal” was melodious, with the smooth flow of the song and the vocals of Antara Nandy toned to give a pleasing mind relaxing feel. All the violin notes in the song were stunning to hear and the sounds of crickets’ insects had given an extra depth to the song. The lyrics of Siva Ananth made the song lighthearted and I’m sure Antara Nandy’s fascinating voice will melt our hearts. Another song “Ratchasa Maamaney” was visually stunning because of the wonderful set design. The dance of Sobhita Dhulipala had gorgeously synched for the song. The vocals of Shreya Ghosal were sweet and matched the scenario. The portions of Palakkad Sreeram made the song enter another sphere, his portions were unexpected and his powerful voice gave a new kind of energetic feel. The ending portion of the song was mind-blowing, the ending areas completely shocked me. The lyrics of Kabilan and the arrangement of the song were greatly done by A.R Rahman and the visual beauty of the song was appealing on the big screen. The next song “Devaralan Attam” followed the chorus style, with the traditional culture. I liked the vibe of the song, dark and energetic. The chorus singing was strong to dominate our attention and the voice of Yogi Sekar in the song will bring the cultural traditional mood. The arrangement was nicely done and the energy which the song gives was extraordinary. The song “Sol” is the one that I didn’t like that much among the six songs. The voice of Rakshita Suresh was fine and the female chorus singing was also ok but the tunes and the modulation of the song didn’t impress my eyes and ears. The background score in the film was top-notch, and the impact which the background score created was huge. The background scores were replenished with the appropriate tunes to give the desired feel. The background score will make us feel and inherit the emotions of the important scene. The emotional scenes were enriched with the melting tunes and it raised the sentimental feeling. Also, the background score played a crucial role to lift the mood and intensity of the film and without any doubt, I will say that it’s the recent best of A.R Rahman.
The technical quality of the film is outstanding, the movie guarantees a spectacular visual treat for our eyes. The artwork and the production design were eye-catchy. The massive sets the makers had constructed will blow our minds. The traditional culture of the Chola dynasty was effectively brought by the makers. Their culture, the way they lived and their tradition was adequately brought into the screen. Whoever is behind the set design and production design deserves huge applause because the arrangements and the way they constructed the sets are precise. As viewers, we will be able to connect with the premise of this film, the tradition of the Chola empire will make us understand their heritage and heredity.
The cinematography by Ravi Varman was magnificent, all the visuals in the film are top class. The time period of the tenth century was beautifully captured through the camera and the chosen locations were perfectly taken. There are many beautiful frames in the film, the indoor visuals of the palace and the premise of it was nicely captured. The close up frames were excellent, the emotions of the central character were adequately shot and it brilliantly exhibited their natural acting skills. The song “Alaikadal” was crammed with gorgeous visuals, the sea and its atmosphere was so overwhelming to watch. Aishwarya Lekshmi looked lovely through the song and her facial expressions were elegantly captured by Ravi Varman. The ravishing beauty of Aishwarya Rai and Trisha looked stunning and Ravi Varman had seized their frames amazingly. The fight sequences were thrilling, and the sword fight scenes and battle scenes were striking with great camera movements.
The duration of the film was lengthy. I wish the editor A. Sreekar Prasad should have trimmed some parts for a neat duration. The colour grading was satisfying and the transition of scenes from one to another didn’t give mismatches. The work of the costume department deserves special mention, the dresses of every single character in the film looked according to the period. The costumes of Aishwarya Rai, Vikram and Jayam Ravi were awesome, the costumes had the looks to match their personality. The graphics and VFX in the climax action sequence were average and should have been done better.
So Ponniyin Selvan: Part 1 had given me an unforgettable cinematic experience because of the outstanding direction and script. The movie offers a visual treat and the quality and production design of the film are supreme. The dominating performance of actors and the history which the movie tells us is something that we should not miss from theatres. Therefore I strongly recommend Ponniyin Selvan: Part 1 for every audience and don’t miss this Mani Ratnam magic.
REVIEW BY ARUNJYOTHI R