Film Review  : Ponniyin Selvan: I

Ponniyin Selvan (2022, Tamil, History/Drama, Theatrical)

Audience rating summary   :4.6 

Superbly made. Great combination of storytelling and adaptation of the novel. Use of good cinematic ideas to move story forward. Focus on the important events and people, rather than try to make a movie out of the entire book. It is indeed a bit fast paced, trying to pack a lot of things in 165 minutes, but well packaged. I also felt some parts were edited out to shorten the film, maybe a director’s cut longer version can be released in future, that will help the hardcore fans of the novel.

PS1, for me, comes out as the best Indian film I have watched this year. Let us admit it is never easy to get a classic epic that is five volumes to a visual medium and that too in a condensed manner without losing the heart of the story. Very few filmmakers can do it. Not only does it require the filmmaker to have the sensibility of knowing what can be kept out and what can be honored but also the conviction on how it should be presented as Cinema. Should it go over the top? As modern Indian Cinema is off late creating and celebrating most of such films where you see characters in the movie blow out from the usual and become more significant than the Cinema. Would such an effort have done justice to PS1? A big NO, in my opinion. 
The classic is grounded, and when you read it, you don't find it far away from believing that it's a work of fiction. The hunger for power, the politics played behind doors, the lavish-looking palaces and the lead characters that dwell in them, the wars they fight, the glimpses of love interest, the faceoffs between good as well as bad, and, most notably, the significant part the women of different capabilities change the course of the narrative.
The film required performers, not just pretty faces or someone with a physique delivering lengthy dialogues. The film does not have a clear hero or a clear villain. It resembles the present political struggle we see here or in any of the countries. There is so much material that gets on to your scene after scene; Mani Rathnam has encouraged the audience to step up and understand rather than making it easy to spoon-feed things and repeating many visuals. It felt like watching a Kurosawa film where we have brilliantly etched-out characters with some of the best performers filling in life into them. Such a kind of film can only be made in Malayalam or Tamil, where we can find actors who can perform in abundance. But Mani has worked with actors across language barriers, and any good actor can give his best. PS1 is one example of a director getting the best out of the cast and crew. The faceoff between Trisha and Aish is one of my favorites. The film is geared up with complexities, and Mani has delivered beyond expected. The film, with the essence of being grounded and most if it not just seems like a fantasy, is a welcome because we have been getting an overdosage of fantasy films.
Technically what can I say? The film is best experienced when you watch it on IMAX. I love it when directors are clear about what kind of visuals they want their audience to watch and employ the methods of modern filmmaking technology. Mani has come a long way, and with PS1, he has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Though this is a period film, his modern music complements the film's tone so well. ARRs score is simply outstanding. 
As mentioned earlier, PS1 is hands down the best film of this year and is easily a film worth multiple watches. The dubbing is excellent! I watched it in Hindi to avoid watching subtitles. It is out in Kannada, too, and I expect it will be done perfectly.
We need epic stories, but we need capable directors to do it.  

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Suganya Gangadharan

3 days ago


Much awaited ponniyin selvan by Director maniratnam is an excellent movie to be never missed. Mesmerizing BGM by   A . R. Rahman  takes us  into the  Chola period.Lead Actors of PS -1 have lived as the characters.
Hats off to the whole team of Ponniyin Selvan😍
Waiting eagerly for
 Ponniyin Selvan -2 .😍