Ponniyin Selvan: I movie review: even the ravishing Aishwarya Rai Bachchan fails to stop your sleep in this Mani Ratnam’s epic lullaby
What: Ponniyin Selvan: I – grab a copy of Kalki Krishnamurthy’s cult Tamil literature of the same name, read it thoroughly and then only book tickets for this Mani Sir’s dream epic on screen. Otherwise you might keep snoozing at regular intervals. Sadly, even a ravishing Aishwarya Rai Bachchan wont be able to stop your sleep in this Mani Ratnam’s epic snooze fest.
The master Mani Ratnam is finding it hard to relax, seems unsettled and over enthusiastic (won’t say overconfident) and in the excitement has believed that the audience all over are equally overwhelmed by the great Tamil fictional period novel Ponniyin Selvan: I by Kalki Krishnamurthy.
The script by Mani Ratnam and Elango Kumaravel is all over the place.
As you are about to get a hook, a new character pops up with his own twist, it’s such a mind twister that you keep searching for Ponniyin Selvan (matlab - The Son of Ponni) younger prince of Chola kingdom, the central character - Arulmozhi (Jayam Ravi), comes during the last 45- 50 minutes.
The movie PS1 (why the short form like a video game god knows) after a brief on the Chola dynasty (minus the emotion, enthusiasm and connect received from Vikram’s breathtaking speech at Mumbai’s promotional event), it begins with Vikram who plays the elder prince Karikalan (Vikram).
Toh kahaani kuch aisi hai
10th-11th century Chola dynasty King Sundar ((Prakash Raj) two sons Aditya Kalikaran (Chhiyan Vikram) and Arulmori Varman (Jayam Ravi) are on a mission to expand the great Chola empire.
King Sundar is not well and is undergoing a Chinese treatment. The treasurer Parbateshwar (R. Sarathkumar), along with the ministers hatch a conspiracy to put Sundar's nephew on the throne. Nandini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), the beautiful young wife of the old Parbateshwar, helps in the conspiracy. King Sundar's daughter Kundavai (Trisha Krishnan) is trying her best to foil the evil plans of Parbateshwar and sends messengers to bring back the two brothers.
A soldier spy from the vaanar clan Vandiyadevan (Karthi) who has fought battles with Aditya Kalikaran is send to warn King Sundar about the conspiracy and alert him about the danger to his throne.
I may seem simpler to the readers here but the narration is so topsy-turvy that you don,t really care who takes over the Kingdom and why.
The phenomenon during the 80’s, 90’s Mani Ratnam (Mouna Ragam, Nayakan, Anjali, Thalapathi, Roja, Thiruda Thiruda, Bombay, Iruvar, Yuva, Guru) is losing touch in the art of connecting with the audience emotionally after every movie. OK Kanmani (2015) gave a glimmer of hope but…
And so is AR Rahman – the great combo of Mani Ratnam and AR Rahman has faded. Nothing humming, nothing note worthy in this AR Rahman musical.
However on the positive side, the Hindi dubbing by Divya Prakash Dubey is very good, the movie is visually captivating (excellent camera work by Ravi Varman), the combat sequences are fantastic, PS 1 is a big screen experience without doubt.
PS1 ends with announcement of its sequel coming in 2023. Will be probably called PS2 but who is bothered after this kho kho and hu tu tutu of characters in this yawn fest.