Ponniyin Selvan 1 Movie Review

2.5/5

167 Mins   |   Action   |   30-09-2022


Cast - Vikram, Aishwarya Rai, Jayam Ravi, Karthi, Trisha, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Sobhita Dhulipala, Prabhu, R. Sarathkumar, Vikram Prabhu, Jayaram, Prakash Raj, Rahman, R. Parthiban

Director - Mani Ratnam

Producer - Mani Ratnam, Subaskaran Allirajah

Banner - Madras Talkies. Lyca Productions

Music - A. R. Rahman

Star filmmaker Mani Ratnam had been trying to make the movie Ponniyin Selvan for more than two decades. Finally, he could make it and release it this year. With a huge and popular star cast, Mani Ratnam made the movie in two parts. The movie is based on the book Ponniyin Selvan’ by Kalki Krishnamurthy. The first part of Ponniyin Selvan was released today. Here is the review.

What Is It About?

Adithya Karikaalan (Vikram), Arunkanimozhi aka Ponniyin Selvan (Jayam Ravi), and Kundhuvai (Trisha) are the heir of Emperor Sundara Chola (Prakash Raj) of the Chola kingdom. While the plans are in work to make Adithya Karikalan the king of the kingdom due to Sundara Chola being ill, internal conspiracies, and the ploy from Pandian rebels take the front seat to stop it. Nandhini (Aishwarya Rai), the wife of treasurer Pedda Palivettarayudu (Sarath Kumar) plays a crucial role in internal politics while Kundhuvai is intelligent enough to barricade her. How does Adhithya Karikalan’s right-hand Vallavaraya Vandiyadevudu (Karthi) help the royal siblings and how the politics lead to the unexpected, is all about PS 1.

Performances

Ponniyin Selvan has got many popular stars in it. Vikram appears in one of the very important roles, Adithya Karikaalan. He lives in the role of the Chola prince. He appears in key scenes and he does his part very well.

Karthi occupies most part of PS 1 and he did exceptionally well in the role he was given. Karthi’s character has a bit of playfulness and wit, which he carried throughout the movie. Aishwarya Rai and Trisha look stunning in the royal attires. Their performances and confrontation episodes are good to watch. Aishwarya Rai’s character has layers in itself and she handled it with ease.

Jayam Ravi, Sarath Kumar, Parthiban, Prakash Raj, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Vikram Prabhu, Prabhu, and others appear in brief roles and they did fine.

Technicalities

PS 1 has got a great story enough to make one gripping movie. It has interesting twists and political tactics, but most of them appear ordinary due to the flat narrative. The screenplay could have been better.

There are some good visuals but the movie on whole is not a visual wonder. The war sequences are typical and there is no wow factor in that too.

The graphics work could have been better and it could have made It more appealing and grand. The Background music is good. The song Ponge Nadhi is also good, but there is some unsteadiness during the songs.

Thumbs Up

Karthi, Vikram, Aishwarya Rai & Trisha
Story
BGM

Thumbs Down

Flat narration
No Highs
Visual effects

Analysis

Ponniyin Selvan is the story of the Chola kingdom that shows the conspiracies and ill-minded politics that happened for the throne, some 1000 years back. The story is very sound and it has the proper conflicts to make it more interesting.

First things first, one should have a basic idea of who’s who in the film. The voice-over, in the beginning, gives a little insight but the names and places having all the Tamil native names make it tough for the unversed to connect the dots. But being a political drama, Ponniyin Selvan should be having an interesting narrative with that much-needed fervor. The director here tells the story, but the mediocre screenplay makes it more than hard to establish the emotional connection between the characters.

With many characters and each one in different places, the story had to revolve around also showing the cunning ploys in respective episodes. The subplots in some of the episodes relating to Arulmozhi in Lanka could have been cut to simple and shorter scenes. Already with the bland narration, the prolonged scenes distance us more from the actual plot.

The twists in the tale could be more intense. Most of them were just shown while the characters speak about it, without the ‘highs’ or elevations that could have made some impact. PS 1 movie many a time reminds us of the Game Of Thrones, which also revolves around many places, kingdoms, and submerged politics. PS 1 has that potential, but the ecstasy one would feel in that series is missing here.

The audience would expect the least that Vallavaraya Vandiyadevudu (Karthi) takes the front seat and most of the story is driven from his vantage point in the first half. Nandhini’s (Aishwarya Rai) multi-faceted character raises curiosity and also hints that there is more mystery to it. Kundhuvai’s (Trisha) character also is powerful with interesting instincts, which again turn ordinary. With so many wonderful actors, PS 1 had a chance to get a proper connection of two or three main characters to the audience, which did not happen due to giving prominence to the base story alone.

Overall, PS 1 has got very strong content and a talented star cast, but the dull narrative and missing emotional connection with the characters do not make it a phenomenal watch. From names to places, history to nativity, PS 1 has fair chance to connect to the Tamil audience than to the Telugu audience. Having seen the films with large scale and grandeur, like RRR and Baahubali, Ponniyin Selvan might look normal to the Telugu audience. The openings of PS 1 are huge across the globe and it has to be seen how the movie advances at the box office.

Bottomline: Powerful Content – Sluggish Narrative

Rating: 2.5/5