The first part of reputed Kollywood filmmaker Mani Ratnam’s ambitious project, Ponniyin Selvan has hit the silver screens today. Let’s see how it fares.
Story: Set in the period backdrop, the film prominently revolves around the Chola’s kingdom. Chola king( role played by Prakash Raj) has three children in the form of Aditya Karikaaludu ( Vikram), Kundavai ( Trisha), and Arunmozhi ( Jayam Ravi). Despite having successors for the king, outsiders try to grab the attention and capture the Chola kingdom. What will Aditya Karikaaludu do during this crucial juncture to protect his kingdom? How will Kundavai try to glorify her family’s pride? What is the role of Arunmozhi in the entire setup? How characters like Vandiyadevudu ( Karthi) and Nandini( Aishwarya Rai) play a crucial role in the proceedings, forms the main crux.
Performances: Compared to other artists, Karthi has got better screen time in the movie. The actor did his part with so much ease in acting and dialogue delivery. His Telugu dialogue delivery suits well.
Vikram is okay in his aggressive natured Yuvaraja character. His makeover is good and his physical fitness is visible on screen. Jayam Ravi is okay with his usual acting in the given key role.
While Trisha is adorable on-screen and impresses with her screen presence, Aishwarya Rai is captivating with everlasting looks. Both of them did a decent job in their purposeful roles.
Other artists such as Prakash Raj, R Sharathkumar, Jayaram, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Shobita Dhulipala, and R Parthiban are fine with acting in the given extended cameo roles.
Technicalities: The photography work by Ravi Varman lacks a spark in it. Most of the film is presented on a dull note without any proper lighting and quality frames. The editing work by A Sreekar Prasad is not up to the mark as close to twenty minutes would have been chopped off for better results.
AR Rahman’s music fails to create any magic. While his songs are just okay, the background score strictly elevates a couple of scenes in the second half. The VFX and graphics work is done poorly.
The Telugu version dialogues are decent and the dubbing work is also done nicely. While the production design is alright, the production values for this high-budget film are disappointing.
Analysis: This story driven content is inspired by ace Tamil writer Kalki Krishnamurthy’s novel, Ponniyin Selvan. Though the film has an interesting premise, it lacks emotionally high moments in it.
It is quite surprising to see this kind of filmmaking from a senior filmmaker Mani Ratnam. Despite choosing a story that has scope to explore in a better way, the direction dilutes the audience’s interest with his flat and boring narrative. Most of the time, the audience will be in confusion as there is no proper establishment or detailing about most of the characters. The conflict between Chola family members is not showcased properly due to which most of the scenes fail to create an impact.
To summarize, PS-1 is a period drama that has a soul in it but director Mani Ratnam’s screenplay and treatment come as a major drawback for the film. Except for the ending portions, the first part of Ponniyin Selvan is a tedious watch.
Verdict: Fails big-time!