Review of Ponniyin Selvan, Part 1: Mani Ratnam’s magnificent adaptation of Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan
Rating from critics: 3.5/5
Part 1 of “Ponniyin Selvan” A messenger must safeguard the safety of the Chola empire because the crown prince Aaditha Karikalan, his younger brother Arunmozhi Varman, and the emperor Sundara Cholar are all separated by circumstances. The Chola kingdom is threatened by both internal and external enemies. Can he complete his task, especially when Nandhini, Karikalan’s ex-girlfriend, is attempting to topple the Chola empire?
Part 1 of “Ponniyin Selvan” Review: Mani Ratnam’s stunning adaptation of Kalki’s enormous epic Ponniyin Selvan, which perfectly captures the mystery, thrills, and page-turning nature of the books, finally brings the dream of many Tamil filmmakers to life. The director and his authors, Jeyamohan and Ilango Kumaravel, rise to the occasion in this first of a two-part franchise. The way the book has been compacted is admirable, and the changes—such as Kundhavai barging into a private meeting and the inclusion of Ponniyin Selvan’s enigmatic savior—have boosted the narrative’s drive. The talks of Jeyamohan stand out in particular because he skillfully combines formal and informal language.
The movie does get off to a rocky start because the filmmaker takes his time setting up the story. The kingdom is under attack, so the crown prince Aaditha Karikalan (Vikram) asks his buddy Vandhiyathevan (Karthi) to inform his sister, princess Kunthavai (Trisha), and the emperor Sundara Cholar (Prakash Raj) of the situation. The empire’s finance minister and commander, Periya Pazhuvettarayar (Sarath Kumar), and Chinna Pazhuvettarayar (Radhakrishnan Parthiban), as well as the numerous kings who have pledged allegiance to the ruler, the survivors of the defeated Pandya king, and—most significantly—Nandhini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), a plotter who is determined to topple the entire
As we are introduced to the many participants in the plot and the history connecting them, these sections, which inevitably contain some exposition given the nature of the tale, have very jerky transitions. There are points when we feel that there are too many events happening quickly, which could make it difficult for anyone who haven’t read the books to understand the plot. The quick character introductions also mean that we move on to the next one before we completely understand the motivations of the one we just met.
However, the movie soon settles down, and by the time we get to the intermission (when Karikalan is haunted by the ghost of the previous film), we’ve become captivated in this tale of palace intrigue. The pace quickens and the movie races to its conclusion with nail-biting sequences involving the slain Pandya king’s personal guards, who land there to kill Arunmozhi. Additionally, the director sets up the sequel on a high note with a swashbuckling stunt on a ship in a stormy sea. The action then shifts to Sri Lanka, where Karikalan’s younger brother, Arunmozhi Varman (J
The casting is essentially perfect. Together with Jayaram, who plays the spy Alwarkadiyan, Karthi, who is fantastic as the jovial Vandhiyathevan, injects humour into the mostly serious proceedings. With her seductive charms, Aishwarya successfully channels the spirit of Nandhini, while Vikram, Jayam Ravi, and Trisha are strong as the royals. Unlike in the Baahubali movies, the frames here have a more subdued grandeur. A considerable portion of the film was shot on location, and cinematographer Ravi Varman dazzles us with images of imposing fort walls, immense halls with numerous pillars and high ceilings, a lone boat on a vast stretch of the ocean, and countless bodies lined up on the beach. While the narrative is mostly advanced by the songs by AR Rahman that have been cut up.
James Cameron’s praise of Alia Bhatt’s flick RRR drew a response from her. She responded on Instagram to a tweet from the movie’s official Twitter account, letting people know that an American journalist had said that the Avatar director “admires” the film. The Critics’ Choice Award for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Song for Naatu Naatu have just been given to RRR.
“Uffff what a gorgeous morning,” Alia commented on Monday morning after sharing the tweet on her Instagram Stories. James Cameron admires RRR, according to a tweet from American journalist Anne Thompson, which was answered by RRR’s Twitter account. @JimCameron, I LOVE YOU. #RRRMovie “RRR wins best foreign film at CCA – every piece of visibility helps get more people to view it,” Anne tweeted. Jim Cameron, who sits across from me at the table, and I introduced ourselves to S.S. Rajamouli.
“Congratulations to the cast and crew of @RRRMovie- winners of the #criticschoice Award for Best Foreign Language Film. #CriticsChoiceAwards,” read a tweet from the Critics Choice Award account.
RRR, directed by SS Rajamouli, received two Critics’ Choice Awards. Following last week’s Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for Naatu Naatu, this marks the movie’s second significant triumph. For the Critics’ Choice Awards, the movie was nominated for five different categories: best picture, best director, best foreign language film, best song for Naatu Naatu, and best visual effects.
The movie has already made it to the Oscars shortlist for best music (original song) and the BAFTA Feature Awards longlist for “film not in English language.” The movie had the biggest box office performance in India in 2022.
The primary actors in RRR are Ram Charan and Jr. NTR, with Ajay Devgan and Alia Bhatt playing supporting roles. Alia plays a crucial part in the plot as Ram Charan’s childhood sweetheart and friend. The fictional story RRR is based on the experiences of Alluri Seetharama Raju and Komaram Bheem, two Telugu liberation warriors.
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