PONNIYIN SELVAN is an epic period action film directed by Mani Ratnam, who co-wrote it with Elango Kumaravel and B. Jeyamohan. Produced by Ratnam and Subaskaran Allirajah under Madras Talkies and Lyca Productions, it is the first of two cinematic parts based on Kalki Krishnamurthy’s 1955 novel Ponniyin Selvan.
The story of PS is intriguing to say the least, but again it’s not an alien plot and hence what becomes of paramount importance would be the narration and the casting. PS slips here big time and also for the fact that a three part story had to be rushed into 2.5 hours makes it a tad more complex screenplay. The action is so little and the absolutely leisurely pace that the film travels with some drama interspersed makes for a flat watch overall. Until interval the introduction of characters is a tiring ordeal with several setups at different locations for a tiny duration. The second half is where the action and the intense drama actually begin. There are a few decent moments in the second half with some good VFX that makes for some dramatic sequences. The screenplay is less engaging. It is only towards the climax that the film really makes an impression and a hope for the second part to be a lot better.
Vikram has very little to do and is OK. Karthi plays himself in a meatier role. Jeyam Ravi is decent. It is Sharath kumar who stands out despite a small role. Aishwarya looks jaded and bland while Trisha gets to do a fine job. Jeyaram is good, while the rest are OK.
Ravi Varman as the cinematographer does a fantastic job. ARR’s background score is a mixed bag while the songs sound more contemporary. Sreekar Prasad’s editing is average. Dialogues are above average and direction by Maniratnam is underwhelming.
Mani Ratnam’s presents PS in his own style and unfortunately this period film challenges him as it lacks the adrenaline rush, ingenuity, plus the rendezvous and wow factor.
PONNIYIN SELVAN – POSTER !!