This movie is based on a set of books written by Kalki in the 19th century namely Ponniyin Selvan talking about the Great Chola Empire, the people of those days, the culture of Cholas, the Architecture of Chola, and the intense politics involved in the Empire by explaining the Travel of a character namely Vandhiya Thevan.
|Ponniyin Selvan Part 1|
From the first scene of the movie, with a voice-over of actor Kamal Hassan, we can get straight into the movie and its field.
The subsequent scenes of the movie take us on the floor of Chola Empire ruled by Sundara Cholan between the sky and Chola soil.
I could feel that the man Kari Kaalan ( Aditya Karikala Cholan ) has lived like a lion on war fields since from the introduction scene of him with the roaring acting of Vikram, the way how the war scene of Chola Vs Rastriya Kingdom was screened. Especially the acting of Vikram by sitting on his horse by holding his sword and going around the opponent king who is on his knees on the floor.
This movie makes us smile at the flow of the movie as it goes especially in the conversations between Vandhiya Thevan and Azhvarkadiyan in some other scenes like Kundavai talking to the Minority kings of the Chola Empire including Peria Pazhuvettaraiyar in a classic way.
All the well-designed characters by Kalki and cast by Mani Ratnam ( director of PS 1 movie ) are getting explored by the audience through the Travel of Vandhiya Thevan character.
Music and camera have given us the wonderful opportunity to see the Chola Empire and to get the feel of living there for some minutes with realistic picturization of the Novel Ponniyin Selvan.
In a scene where Azhvarkadiyar quarrels with some people near a sea shore the camera remains still on a top angle where many things are shown like, how people were making huts and selling things, how goats are herded, costumes of people who lived in those days, etc.,
In a scene when Vandhiya Thevan runs through a market there are many details like what kind of shops were there in those days in Chola Markets etc., That scene also shows that Tamil people are carrying over some good food habits like drinking buttermilk on summer days too and other similar things.
In a scene when Vandhiya thevan meets Nandini in her Palace, the camera swings around Vandhiya Thevan to show that he is in a confused state of mind as he was taken to Nandini which was not his plan but he could not move away from that place as he gets attracted totally by the beauty of Nandini.
In another scene, the camera is static facing the comet in the sky which is waiting for Blood from Chola Kingdom ( as narrated in the story ), in the same frame, the ship of Chola has Tiger face in front, which is heading to Sri Lanka for arresting Arul Mozhi Varman, comes and fills the screen. It's like representing the danger to come because of the ship heading to Sri Lanka for arresting Arul Mozhi Varman.
Also at the beginning of the scene when Vandhiya Thevan's horse ( shenba ) hits the Planguin of Nandini, the camera shows Shenba from its strong leg to its face.
In these scenes, the camera has conveyed the mood of these scenes even before the scene starts.
Songs of this movie are used to summarize many things from the book to the movie. That the song 'Ponni Nadhi' song explains the travel of Vandhiya Thevan and the beauty of Chola Empire.
The 'Chola' song explains the heroism of Karikala Cholan and his mental state that the love he has for Nandini and also the pain he holds due to his love failure with her.
Many things got summarized by the excellent acting of the actors of PS 1 and even their simple looks convey big things to the audience.
Another reason the movie has successfully taken us to the world of Chola Empire is the realistic locations in that many scenes have palaces made up of stones in the background.
In a scene, when Vandhiya Theven sits and talks with Senthan Amuthan the background has a local village house. In that everything we see is sand pots. A house with square-shaped thick windows, a stand for pit lamps made up of sand made up of single rectangular stone with good finishing, etc.,
Many things are summarized in the book by a single line of dialogue too. An example of it is, in the conversation between Poonguzhali and Karuthiruman. He says he saves money for marriage himself with Poonkuzhali. But Poonkuzhali is in deep love with a Prince. It shows some of her lifestyles that she will have to be sailing the boat daily and anyway she will have to meet Karuthiruman ofter and she has to face his embarrassing love proposals by holding her deep longing for the prince.
In another shot after Anulmozhi Cholan wins a war with Singala Kingdom in Sri Lanka, the Singala Flag floating on Sea Shore is shown. This scene makes to a fantasized imagination, what if Arulmozhi Cholan had sit on the Ruling chair of Sri Lanka, the struggles that happened in Sri Lanka for Tamils a decade might have not happened.
Casts and Crew
Director: Mani Ratnam
Producers: Subaskaran and Mani Ratnam
Production Companies: LYCA & Madras Talkies
Music - A R Rahman
Cinematography: Ravi Varman
Editor: Shree Kar Prasad
Screenplay: Mani Ratnam and Elango Kumaravel
Dialogues: Jaya Mohan
Vikram - Adiya Karaikala Cholan
Jayam Ravi - Arul Mozhi Varman
Karthi - Vallavarayan Vandhiya Thevan
Aishwarya Rai - Nandini
Trisha - Kundhavi
Jaya Ram - Azhwarkadiyan Nambi / Thirumalaiappan
Prakash Raj : Sundara Cholan / Parantaka Chola II
Sarath Kumar - Peria Pazhuvettraiyar
Parthiban - Chinna Pazhuvettaraiyar
Rahman - Madhuranthaka Chola / Uthama Chola
Kishore - Ravi Dasan
Aswin Kakumanu - Senthan Amuthan
Yog Japee - Karuthiruman
Lal - Thirukollur Malaiyaman / Miladudaiyar
Nassar - Veera Pandiyan
Nizhalkal Ravi - Kadambur Sambuvaraiyar
Prabu - Periya Vellar Boothi Vikrama Kesari
Vikram Prabu - Parthibendra Pallavan
Aishwarya Lekshmi - Poonkuzhali / Samuthira Kumari
Shobita Dhulipala - Vaanathi