PS-I: Intense Expectations And Performances
The wait is finally over with the release of Mani Ratnam's highly awaited film Ponniyin Selvan.
Ponniyin Selvan is a historical fiction novel by the Indian author Kalki Krishnamurthy. The book follows the details of the Chola dynasty mixed with some fiction to appeal to the readers of its time. Many filmmakers and individuals have thought of making a film based on this great work, with many giving up due to the intricacies of the story and the numerous parts and pages involved. Finally, after all these years, the director, Mani Ratnam, chose to take upon this challenging task and delivered exceptionally well.
Like many movies, this had a relatively slow start and was letting me down in meeting the high expectations I originally had for it. Right as the film starts, we are introduced to two of the movie's main characters, played by the actors Karthi and Vikram. Though Vikram takes upon arguably the most crucial role in this film, it is Karthi whom the majority of the film is constantly focused on. Not having read the novel for myself prior to the film, I cannot comment on how accurate the movie's depictions were. However, it lived up to the historical vibes we as an audience should expect to experience during a film. The movie is essentially about various problems that arise in kingdoms and the following war and politics that ensues. Throughout the film, other important characters are introduced, and numerous scenarios and problems arise, creating the complex web of stories that is Ponniyin Selvan. As stated earlier, while the movie may have started slow, approaching the climax, it became exciting and fast-paced. The movie ends on a cliffhanger that serves as a good gateway into PS-Part 2, which will be released in 2023.
Star Studded Cast
The casting of PS1: Part One is what most people were excited about, with more A-list Indian actors than you can count on your fingers. Many essential actors in this film could have been cast in more prominent, more significant roles. Still, I assume this wasn't possible due to minimal roles compared to how many individuals were cast. As mentioned, most of the film focused on Karthi, which wasn't a mistake as he pretty much carried the entire film. Other notable mentions were Jayam Ravi, who had the most "clean" and refreshing role I’ve seen in a while. He came on late in the film, played his role perfectly for the little time he had. Then there was Vikram, who played his part as needed with the perfect amount of expressions and excellent dialogue delivery that we would want from the movie's leading role. Overall, each character was cast perfectly as every actor fully embodied the spirit of their role.
Expectation Vs. Reality
Most people watching this film had immense hopes for this film, with few even rooting for this movie to break Indian cinema records. I tend to avoid comparing films, but with a budget of 500+ crores, such an extensive cast, along years of built-up hype and immense audience expectations, it is hard not to set the bar at or better than absolute success. To put it simply, the movie was what it was supposed to be leaving most audiences satisfied with what they expected. If we were to rank this movie among recent Indian blockbusters, it would be above RRR but below K.G.F Chapter 2.
I am sure many people had read the novel before watching the film, similar to the well-known Harry Potter franchise. And expected, these individuals will have a deeper understanding, potentially more disappointments, and a smoother watch experience than those who haven't read the novel before viewing it. After hearing the opinions and feedback of others on this film, I could see that a few had not understood a lot of the film and left feeling confused at the end of it. The film was indeed relatively complicated, but it had to be. Condensing a 5-volume, 2000+ page book series into two movies is nearly impossible. Hence, numerous scenarios and situations were simultaneously happening, which may have confused most viewers.
All things considered, this movie is an absolute must-watch. Even with the monumental expectations put on this movie, audiences were left quite surprised and satisfied. It has become a blockbuster hit with an opening weekend of over 200 crores. Now all that’s left to do is wait for PS-2, which quite literally could change the course of South Indian cinema and establish a place in history.
Raving Rating: 8.2