By Noel Nadesan
MELBOURNE: Ponniyin’s Selvan (Son of Cauvery River) movie has been filmed by Mani Ratnam as much as possible without deviating from the story of the novel written 70 years ago by Kalki Krishnamoorthy. But many still complain the story is not history or is misrepresented history. The point here is not to argue with them.
These days, I have seen many Telugu entertainment movies, such as RRR, for example, keeping you tight in the seat till the end. In the same way, I wondered, why we hadn’t made such a movie in Tamil. Thus, my wish was fulfilled by Ponninyin’s Selvan. The fight scenes are amazing and the naval warfare mesmerising.
Writer Jayamohan’s script is catchy. The dialogues are spoken by Vandiyathevan, Kundavai-Nandini-Alvarkadiyan, according to the current trend. Writing dialogues in a different genre is an art, every writer cannot do that. Jayamohan has got that gift like the ancient poet Kalidasa. If anyone does not believe me, watch the dialogues of Tamil movies Rajaraja Cholan, Veerapandiya Kattabomman, and Karnan played by Shivaji Ganeshan They were theatrical, not cinematic.
The characters of Karthi and Jayaram on the screen correspond to the characters of the book, they act in a realistic way. The other characters’ roles are equally flawless. I can accept Trisha’s part of Konthavai, Princess Chola. If you asked me, I would recommend Nayanthara in place of Aishwarya. Nayanthara is also a good actress and is capable of handling a character like this. Aishwarya is beautiful but is also outdated.
Even though the Sri Lankan scenes were shot in Thailand, the Sinhala language dialogues are perfect. In this way, director Prasanna Vithanage’s as a consultant for the film and Sinhala actor for the Lankan king differs from the usual Tamil Nadu ethnic politics.
Kamsa’s song and dance outside the palace are unnecessary and inappropriate, and take digital cinema to the old days of street drama.
Music means a lot in a good film. But, I guess, you don’t have to sing. I told this to AR Rahman a number of years ago in Melbourne. He said, “Tamil people have two instead of one,” but my opinion has not changed. If a song like that comes, it should be in the background.
Ponniyins Selvan, is a huge collective effort of thousands and new to the Tamil film industry. This will be a big step forward for future films.
It is no easy task to adapt to the screen, faithfully from novels. This is why many people don’t film, novels in the Tamil language. If Mani Ratnam’s initiative succeeds, I think many people will take up the challenge.
A horse can’t race on a treadmill forever. Need to gallop. A lot of quality films, European, Nigerian, and Filipino, go home via Amazon and Netflix other than Hollywood. The world is open to everyone. If good films are not released in Tamil, people will soon begin to watch films from other languages and other countries, especially the younger generation.
I hope Ponniyin’s Selvan, who has come to the screen, will be an example of two things. It is inevitable the movie will be the benchmark for the future of general entertainment movies. Similarly, it cannot be closed eyes, saying that novels are difficult to film.
Name- Ponniyin Selvan
Director- Mani Ratnam
Music- A. R. Rahman
Cast- Adfitha Karikalan, Vallavaraiyan, Jayam Ravi, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Trisha Krishnan, Sobhita Dhulipala etc.
Cinematography- Ravi Varman