It is quite awful isn’t it? Even before the release of Ponniyin Selvan Part-1, here I am talking about the underwhelming aspects. But, it is always the high expectations out of Mani Ratnam films that push me to expect further. Yes, he has been my favourite film maker since the time I saw Iruvar. Every single movie from him since then did give me the experience of watching fine cinema.
In some cases, movies like Kattru Veliyidai were disappointing. Dialogue delivery and sometimes overacting in various other movies too did disappoint. Ignoring those negative aspects, I still believe he is one filmmaker who has the potential to artistically visualize the days of Cholas. Therefore, his effort in conceptualizing and executing this magnum opus by Kalki Krishnamurthy is phenomenal. This epic novel is the reason why the entire population hail Raja Raja Cholan as the king of all kings.
With the official trailer launch of Ponniyin Selvan Part-1 Mani Ratnam has set the mood and thousands expressed their eagerness to watch this period epic drama. Undoubtedly, it has all the elements that would give a tough fight to Bahubali, RRR and other period dramas that were made.
However, some aspects could pull the entire effort down. Right from additions plot tweaking to missing characters, here are some aspects I personally feel is a black mark on the movie. Moreover, an ardent reader of a period drama would always expect more.
Here are those aspects
Even though, Arulmozhi Varman is the central character of the film, the hero of the script is obviously Vallavarayan Vandhiyathevan. The entire novel is about his journey from Kanchi to Thanjavur and to Lanka. And the story revolves around him gaining the confidence of the three most powerful people in the then Chola Empire.
A scene depicts Aditha Karikalan telling Vandhiyathevan to visit Sambuvaraiyar Maligai in Kadambur. However, the actual storyline is that Vandhiyathevan goes on a road journey to Thanjavur to deliver a message to Sundara Raja Cholan and Kundavai Devi respectively. Visiting Sambuvaraiyar Maligai is out of his own interest.
Similarly, there are other aspects too, but mentioning them would be equal to giving spoilers to the entire story.
Music – A Big Let Down
Be it Bahubali, RRR or any period drama. Music has been a big letdown. While the music is good, in no way, these songs exhibit the cultural ethos of that time.
If any of you had the chance to watch Magnificent Century, a Turkish series depicting the lives of Ottoman Empire monarchs, it visibly emphasizes the culture of those times. Especially, the song sung by Kosem Sultana is so mellifluous and exhibits her innocence in her younger days.
Ironically, musicians from the land of classical music are not capable of producing authentic music exhibiting the cultural ethos of Cholas.
In a period drama, every character is of prime importance to the storyline. On that note, characters like Sendhan Amudhan, Manimegalai, Aniruddha Brahmarayar, and many others are missing. Also, the trailer does not feature Oomai Rani (a double role played by Aishwarya Rai).
These characters change the course of the story. Aniruddha Brahmarayar is a master strategist who has informers in across the length and breadth of the kingdom. Not giving a proper mention about them might kill the complete essence of the story.
In a Nutshell ….
In a nutshell, the movie is a phenomenal effort. The ensemble cast is already a significant push for the movie. But the few factors mentioned above could be a visible black mark on the overall efforts taken by the film crew. However, let us not jump to conclusions until the final product comes out. Possibly if the cinematic effort of Ponniyin Selvan is a resounding success, then it will set new standards in Indian Cinema.