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Waking up to history

The movie had passed on to several hands over different periods and finally landed on Maniratnam, who has given it the well deserved larger than life screen life.

Pictures from official social media page

Yet another reason for celebration among other festive vibes across India, is the much awaited release of Ponniyin Selvan: I. The film, a dream project of Director Maniratnam, is a spectacular sensation and is set to enthral the audience all over the world. Based on a critically acclaimed and celebrated five-part novel of the legendary writer and freedom fighter Kalki Krishnamurthy, PS I is already breaking box office records - it is said that the film has grossed over 25 crores one day one in the state of Tamil Nadu acing previous records set by its predecessors.

While there are many aspects of the movie that connects to different people, let us look at the mass appeal of the plot itself. A story that is almost a household name, has survived four generations and is still eagerly sought after, Ponniyin Selvan, a cultural icon of the Tamils, is a historic romance based on real characters of the Chola dynasty. The vivid imagination and gripping narration renders powerful tales of Arulmozhi Varman’s (King Raja Raja Cholan -I) rise to power and glory, political and personal obstacles he faces, his loss and celebrations.

Writer and freedom fighter Kalki Krishnamurthy (image:

There is this beautiful thing about the stories of the soil - memory and nostalgia. When one tries to trace his / her link with these legendary stories, there is an inevitable and powerful connection to their childhood. And how reading a narrative like, Ponniyin Selvan was a very fabric of their culture. A strong sense of belonging as it is a heroic depiction of King who put Tamils in the world map. His extravagant stories of conquer, trade, penchant for arts and architecture. And about love and friendship, deceit and betrayal.

Vikram as Aditya Karikalan

People remember its flavours as it is part of the culture, bringing back  memories of their grandmothers reading from the pages of Kalki;  mothers  and aunts reading from printed volumes of the novel, or their own generation reading it on a kindle or listening to a podcast, or their children read it as a graphic novel. Thanks to Maniratnam and his team, here is the latest avatar of an on-screen production. The film will tell the story of our favourite hero and his unsung heroic journey for generations to come.

Aishwarya Lekshmi as Poonguzhali and Jayam Ravi as Arunmozhi Varman

For time and again people have tried to adapt this into a movie, it is said that post Vanjikottai Valiban, MGR had sought the copyrights to the story, but the movie never saw the light of the day. It had passed on to several hands over different periods and finally landed on the magical hands on Maniratnam, who has given it the well deserved larger than life screen life. His magnum opus, PS I has over the past three years, during its making, created a hype among the audience, a vibe that can easily surpass the fandom of GoT. The fascination with the storyline, undying sense of belonging, the appetite to watch the narrative onscreen is pretty evident through its box-office records.

Aishwarya Rai Bachan as Nandini Devi and Trishna Krishnan as Ilayapiratti Kundavai 

There is something about a movie that stands out after leaving a theatre or watching the same at home—the screenplay, dialogue, songs and their sequence, actors, direction and the uniqueness of the camera person. Seldom does one sit back and reflect on history and culture or how it was a movie that brought back the glory of ancient India; and the thrill of being a part of yester years even without being born a few centuries ago. That is the magic of Ponniyin Selvan and Maniratnam—it is easy to talk history, but challenging to walk the talk; which is what the masterpiece is all about!

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