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Ponniyin Selvan: Part 1 Tamil Review

The king of the Chola dynasty places the responsibility of ruling the kingdom on his brother Sundara Choludu (Prakash Raj) due to his ill health. After a while, Sundara Choludu transfers it to his son Aditya Karikaaludu (Vikram). Madhuranthakudu (Rehman) who is the actual heir and son of the Chola dynasty’s late king gets disappointed with this decision. He seeks the help of another king Pallavaraaya (Sarathkumar) and they plan a secret meeting in Kadambur to discuss the future plan of action.

On the other hand, Aditya Karikaaludu gets suspicious that some conspiracy is going on inside the kingdom and orders his army commander Vallavarayan Vanthiyadevudu (Karthi) to find out the actual truth. Did Vallavarayan complete his job? What is the importance of Nandhini (Aishwarya Rai) in this story? How did Ponniyin Selvan Arunmozhi((Jayam Ravi), brother of Aditya and the next king of the Chola kingdom stop this connivance? Watch the film to know all the answers.

Plus Points:

This PAN Indian project has got many characters but in the first part, Karthi gets the meaty role. He is the entertaining factor in this seriously driven period drama. His flirting scenes with women evoke decent laughs. The actor has given it all for the film and amuses the audience whenever he appears on the screen.

After Karthi, it is Jayam Ravi and Aishwarya Rai who get the key roles and more screen time. Aishwarya Rai’s character is very significant to the story and she aced it to perfection. Jayam Ravi who played the titular role is seen only in the second half but does well. His character will have more prominence in the sequel.

Trisha and Vikram are seen very briefly but their screen presence leaves a mark and raises the impact. Trisha looks beautiful and so does Aishwarya Rai. The drama at key places in both the halves is interesting and creates a few engaging moments. The fight sequence between Karthi and Jayam Ravi and the other action block in the second half is composed well and holds our attention.

Minus Points:

Though the film’s story is interesting, it is filled with more drama and this becomes way too much for a common viewer to grasp what’s going on. The first part itself has so much content that it will take up two parts in itself to showcase. The screenplay at times becomes confusing and convoluted.

Technical Aspects:

PS -1 is said to be produced on a large scale and the production values are remarkable. The production design by Thota Tharrani adds more value to this larger-than-life saga. The makers opted for more realistic locations and they made sure the frames look rich. Also, they are easy on the eye.

The costume work done by Eka Lakhani is beguiling and the female leads Aishwarya Rai and Trisha look drop dead gorgeous and highly captivating. Music by Academy award-winning AR Rahman is pleasant and in a few instances, he gave some very high-quality background score to elevate the proceedings. The camerawork by Ravi Varman is neat and he has shown the Cholas period very grandly through his lens. The editing of the film as said earlier is below par making the film a tiring watch.

Mani Ratnam is one of the great Indian directors who is known for his majestic movies. But all the sheer technical brilliance of PS-1 is let down by his middling narration. His intention and dream to bring this great story are visible but he should have been more cautious with his storytelling. The screenplay is co-written by Mani Ratnam and Elango Kumaravel but they didn’t succeed in coming up with an engaging and attention grabbing film.

Verdict:

On the whole, Ponniyin Selvan part: 1 has a good storyline but it is dull and does not have the needed high moments. The lead cast’s performance, sterling production values, and first-rate visuals are brought down by Mani Ratnam’s underwhelming presentation. The first half in particular is complicated with too many characters getting introduced. The Tamil audience will connect to the story more but the Telugu folks can give this film a shot if you love watching period dramas with a huge star cast. Just have your expectations in check.

Openmictamil : Very nice movie. Decent adaption of such a complex, intrinsic, energetic novel 🙏🏼. Appreciate the right portrayel(as kalki portrayed) of true leads – Nandini and Kundavai (smart women who runs the show ) in a patriarchal era and industry. Are there opportunities – ‘yes alot’ but this novel is impossible to be visualized thru any medium ( except readers own mind 😀) so thanks to captian மணிரத்னம் and all others for reviving interest of ponniyin selvan reading in our generation. I would request every one of who watches to read or hear the original novel thru podcast. Awaiting for the second part !!!

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