Ponniyin Selvan 2 is a Tamil movie released across cinemas in the UAE. It is directed by Mani Ratnam and stars Chiyaan Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Jayam Ravi, Karthi, Trisha, Prabhu, R Sarath kumar, Vikram Prabhu, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Sobhita Dhulipala, Jayaram, Prakash Raj, Rahman, Radhakrishnan Parthiban

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Indian Movies & TV

Ponniyin Selvan 2 Review

They say time is money. And we say timelessness can be Mani. The man, who is nearing his fifth decade as a director, can still churn out a visually stunning and content-wise satisfying film. That the man has pulled this off through a timeless Tamil historical fiction is doubly apt.

When Ponniyin Selvan 1, released in September 2021, turned out to be a mass hit despite quibbles from a few corners, we were unsure what made Ponniyin Selvan tick. Those who had read the book — Ponniyin Selvan is based on the serialized novel of the same name written by Kalki Krishnamoorthy — felt that the film was not true to the original.

Ponniyin Selvan 2 Review

Those who had not read the book opined that the characters were too many, the plot byzantine, and the film seemed made for those who had read its printed version. Those looking for the grandeur of the scale that Baahubali had offered thought that Ponniyin Selvan was a bit pale in comparison. The war scenes, too, did not evoke the kind of awe that Gladiator had. 

Notwithstanding such words, most sections had a unanimous vague sense of satisfaction. The sense of satisfaction is not vague in the second part of the saga of Chola kings and chieftains. It is clear and firm. And it is all because the director Mani Ratnam has followed his clear thought and vision. It can now be said with certainty that Mani did not set out to make a movie to please those who have or haven’t read the book or those wanting a Baahubali kind of excitement. His vision was to make a movie on Ponniyin Selvan based on how he had internalized it, and this clarity of purpose shines even more in the second part.

The film takes off from where the first left. With the news filtering in from Sri Lanka that Arunmozhi Varman (Jeyam Ravi) had been killed, the focus now shifts to his brother Aditya Karikalan (Chiyan Vikram) and his backstory with Nandini (Aishwarya Rai). It is a tale of love that doesn’t quite become fruitful for multitudinous reasons. But Nandini has an axe to grind against Ponniyin Selvan 2 young Aditya Karikalan, her plot against the Cholas.

But Karikalan is furious under the belief that his brother’s killing is the handiwork of the dark forces scheming against him and his family. And he goes on the rampage. There are plenty of twists and palace intrigues that follow. The Pandavas are also trying to unseat the royal family; Madhurantakan (Rahman) is also at it with his own devious plans.

The first half is taken up by Karikalan and Nandini’s love story at their young age (Santosh Sreeram ponniyin selvan age and Sara Arjun), and its pace is slow, deliberately at that. It prepares you for the flurry of activity that follows. If the first part, understandably, approached the story from a macro point of view, the second part gets more micro. The face-off of the various characters  — Nandini and Karikalan coming face to face, Kundavai (Trisha) and Nandini meeting, the siblings coming together, Karikalan’s encounter with Parthibendran Pallavan (Vikram Prabhu), and Karikalan’s entry into the place of all intrigues, Kadambur —  provide all the excitement and exuberance. The Oomai Rani turn of events also adds heft to the events.

Regarding screen time, Vikram and Aishwarya Rai have more prominence in the second part. But in terms of acting performances, it is an extension of the first part. Karthi (Vandiyadevan), Jayaram (Azhwarkkadiyan Nambi), Sobhita Dhulipala (Vaanathi, Princess of Kodumbalur), Aishwarya Lekshmi (Poonguzhali alias Samuthirakumari) continuing their good work.

There is an interesting twist – a surprise – in the end. But revealing that would be a spoiler. The camera work of Ravi Varman is the ablest ally of Mani Ratnam in this film. It continues in the same strong vein, and the scenes carry the most needed agreeable veneer. The war sequences don’t wow you, but at the same time, they don’t disappoint as well. The songs of AR Rahman, while being a good listen, don’t add much to what is already on screen. 

But as we said, Ponniyin Selvan, both the parts, can now be classified as successes, and it is down to one man’s courage and conviction. Mani Ratnam’s belief in his ability to make a movie out of an epic that had challenged and eventually dissuaded the likes of MGR and Kamal Haasan is the real cornerstone. He deserves every plaudit coming his way. 

The man has made history with a historical.

Ponniyin Selvan 2

Director: Mani Ratnam

Date Created: 2023-04-28 10:30

Editor's Rating:
Balakumar Kuppuswamy
Balakumar Kuppuswamy

An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.

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