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Maria Juarez
Maria Juarez

Ponniyin Selvan: Part I [PATCHED]

Ever since its publication, a film adaptation of Ponniyin Selvan had been explored by several Tamil filmmakers, including an attempt by M. G. Ramachandran in the late 1950s; however, it never materialized due to financial constraints. Decades later, Ratnam attempted to adapt the novel in the late-1980s and early-2010s but was unsuccessful. Calling it his "dream project", Ratnam revived the effort in January 2019, after Lyca agreed to fund the film. Following several changes in cast and crew, production of Ponniyin Selvan began in December 2019 and concluded in September 2021, halting twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film was shot in various locations across India, with a few sequences in Thailand. It was originally intended to be a single film but was split into two parts.

Ponniyin Selvan: Part I

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In the late 1980s, actor Kamal Haasan and Mani Ratnam worked together on adopting the novel into a film. Composer Ilaiyaraaja and cinematographer P. C. Sreeram became attached to the project, while actors including Sathyaraj and Prabhu were cast in pivotal roles.[14][15] Ratnam revealed that he worked on a first draft of the film alongside Kamal Haasan, who had bought the rights of the novel from Ramachandran, but the pair shelved their plan as the project did not make financial sense at the time.[16][13] In an interview with Filmfare in January 1994, Ratnam stated that it remained one of his "dream projects" and that he had hoped to work on during his career.[16] Kamal Haasan then attempted to make the story into a forty-part television series, and worked with writer Ra. Ki. Rangarajan on the screenplay, but the project was later stalled.[17]

In January 2019, Ratnam decided to revive Ponniyin Selvan after Lyca Productions, who earlier collaborated with him in Chekka Chivantha Vaanam (2018), agreed to fund the film.[31] While Vikram,[32] Vijay Sethupathi and Jayam Ravi decided to play the lead roles, along with Silambarasan in a crucial role,[33] Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan too assigned the project; the former playing the role of Sundara Chola in the film.[34] Composer A. R. Rahman, screenwriter Jeyamohan and editor Sreekar Prasad, were retained in the new version. In April 2019, a major change in the film's cast took place, with Sethupathi opting out of the project due to schedule conflicts,[35] thus being replaced by Karthi,[36] and Anushka Shetty was included in the film's cast,[37] working with Ratnam for the first time. Aishwarya Rai, later herself confirmed her inclusion in the project, at the Cannes Film Festival.[38][39][40] Anushka Shetty, who has been part of the film's old version, officially signed the project.[41][42] Actress Amala Paul, too confirmed being a part of the film.[43][44][45] Vikram, who is one of the principal characters in the film, too confirmed his part.[46][47][48] Veteran actors R. Parthiban and Jayaram were also reported to join the film's cast.[49][50][51] Rajinikanth wanted to portray Periya Pazhuvettaraiyar, but Ratnam refused since it would upset the actor's fans; the role went to Sarathkumar.[52]

In June 2019, Elango Kumaravel announced that he will co-write the screenplay for this version with Ratnam and Jeyamohan.[53] Ratnam decided to retain cinematographer Santhosh Sivan for this project. However, his unavailability made the director to sign on Ravi Varman. Varman, was working for Indian 2, directed by S. Shankar, before signing the film's project. But the latter's delay made Varman to quit the film, making him available for Ponniyin Selvan.[54] In September 2019, Ratnam confirmed that he will be working with the composer and lyricist duo Rahman and Vairamuthu, who were a part of Ratnam's frequent collaborations since Roja (1992). However, it received huge displeasure from netizens, as the latter was accused of sexual misconduct and harassment by several women singers and artists from the Tamil film industry.[55][56] This also resulted in Anushka Shetty opting out of the project.[57][58] Art director Thota Tharani signed the new version of the project, thus replacing Sabu Cyril, who worked in the old version.[59][60] Costume designer Eka Lakhani travelled to Thanjavur temples to study sculptures, meet weavers, and understand the heritage before starting the process of designing.[61][62]

Principal photography began on 11 December 2019 at Krabi, Kanchanaburi and other places in Thailand, where the crew planned its shooting schedule for 40 days.[94][95] After completing the first schedule in January 2020, the team planned to shoot the second schedule in Chennai,[96] but later moved to Puducherry. The second schedule of shooting took place on 3 February 2020 in Puducherry, and completed within six days.[97][98] Then the team moved to Hyderabad for the next schedule, on 10 February,[99] where the entire team planned to shoot at Ramoji Film City. The second schedule was wrapped up on 26 February 2020.[100] It was reported that, Karthi faced an accident while he was shooting in Hyderabad, where he was thrown up in the air, while riding a horse, however he faced only minor injuries.[101] As of March 2020, the makers shot the major portion of the film for 90 days before shooting being interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[102] In January 2020, it was reported that the film would be split into two parts,[103] which was confirmed by Mani Ratnam in April 2020.[104][105]

Filming resumed in July 2021 at Puducherry.[127] In August, the team went to Madhya Pradesh for location scouting, so that they can shoot the pending portions, and later resumed the shoot in Orchha and Gwalior.[128] Within late-August 2021, Jayam Ravi and Vikram had completed his portions for both the parts in the film.[129] The team later moved to Maheshwar for another schedule which majorly focuses on Karthi and Trisha.[130] On 4 September 2021, Rahman confirmed that he completed his portions.[131] The team had begun shooting in Pollachi for a song sequence, in the middle of the month.[132] The team moved to Pollachi and then to Mysore to shoot some sequences. It was reported that Karthi joined shooting in Pollachi and Ashwin Kakamanu joined shooting in Mysore. Karthi finished shooting for his portions on 16 September 2021.[133] On 18 September, Mani Ratnam confirmed that the entire shooting of the first part has been wrapped, except for few sequences in the second part.[134] However, in March 2022 Jayam Ravi, Karthi and Aishwarya Rai Bacchhan wrapped up a small patchwork left which was fully completed in 7 days.[citation needed]

Janani K of India Today rated the film 3 out of 5 stars and wrote "Technically, Ponniyin Selvan is top-notch. Be it Ravi Varman's brilliant cinematography or AR Rahman's excellent score, the film sucks us into the world that Mani Ratnam has created with so much detailing."[193] The Hans India rated the film 3 out of 5 stars and wrote "PS 1 is a fascinating drama narrating an epic historical story. Mani Ratnam brought the best of everything on screen for his dream project. The casting and AR Rahman's background score stand as the main highlights of the film. PS 1 is more about drama and less about action"[194] Lakshmi Subramanian of The Week rated the film 2.5 out of 5 stars and wrote "Kalki's book gets Mani Ratnam's royal cinematic touch but lacks powerful storytelling".[195] Haricharan Pudipeddi of Hindustan Times stated "Mani Ratnam has managed the unthinkable--adapt the literary classic with finesse and impact. All actors do their parts well but Aishwarya Rai is a revelation".[196] Likewise, Srinivasa Ramanujam of The Hindu gave the film a positive review, noting that an "epic story gets Mani Ratnam's royal treatment", while adding "Kalki's source material of PS:1 is rich with myriad characters, and Mani Ratnam gleefully picks them all up to give it a cinematic touch, thanks to some powerhouse performances from his all-star cast".[197]

Shrinking a complex five-volume novel into a two-part movie is mean feat. It takes gumption. A whole lot of it. If any director has that attribute in the requisite measure, it is Mani Ratnam. Ponniyin Selvan - Part 1, a period epic that is vast in scale and varied in visual scope, is proof.

The conspiracy, of which the finance minister's brother and the Tanjore Fort's in-charge Chinna Pazhuvettaraiyar (Radhakrishnan Parthiban) and a host of royal chieftains are a part, is aimed at overthrowing Sundar Chola and putting his nephew Madurantaka (Rahman) on the throne.

Kundavai is not only sent by her father to pacify her elder brother Aditha Karikalan, she also instructs Vandhiyethevan to travel to Sinhala kingdom with a message for her brother Arulmozhi. Two other women in the plot - Vaanathi (Sobhita Dhulipala), who dreams of marrying Arulmozhi, and boatwoman Samuthirakumari (Aishwarya Lekshmi) - do not have as much to do in this part of the magnum opus. More is probably in store for them in the sequel.

Action-packed and eventful, the first part of the drama winds up at a point of the story that leaves many questions unresolved and points to what could form the core of Ponniyin Selvan - Part 2, scheduled for release in 2023. The film inevitably packs too much into too little time but it never fails to look and sound - A.R. Rahman's songs and background score constitute the backbone of the sound design - like a meticulously conceived and executed work of cinema.

By Janani K: Director Mani Ratnam's Ponniyin Selvan: Part 1 is a raging hit at the box office. The film crossed Rs 300 crore at the box office and is still continuing its dream run at the box office. Now, all eyes are on Ponniyin Selvan: Part 2. At a recent press conference, Karthi revealed when the second part of the film would hit the screens. Ponniyin Selvan: Part 2 will release in 2023.

For the uninitiated, Ponniyin Selvan: Part 1 is a film based on the popular Tamil literary novel of the same name, written by Kalki Krishnamurthy. The first part ended on a cliffhanger revealing the identity of Oomai rani, played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The second part will show if Nandini succeeded in her plan, which Chola king will die and whether Arulmozhi Varman is alive or not. 041b061a72


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