Ponniyin Selvan 2 (PS2)

Today I watched the much expected and talked about Ponniyin Selvan 2.

Before watching the movie, I have read and heard a host of views about the movie; some praising, some criticizing, some going overboard, some accusing and some just felt satisfied and nothing beyond.

Basically, I feel there is a lot of difference between reading a text and watching something on the screen. When watching on screen even a few seconds will make you feel like a minute. So the comparisons are bound to be biased.

‘Ponniyin Selvan’ is not only a voluminous narrative but a highly convoluted story with innumerable characters. Some serve some purpose and many nothing. Additionally, it is a ‘period film’ and that too written in the 1950s. Though a million people keep chanting that they have revisited the novel innumerable times, I don’t want to make any such tall claim of reading more than a thousand pages several times. I have read probably a couple of times that too with breaks; nevertheless, I do remember the thread of the novel, its main characters and their roles.

To be honest, the second part almost sounded to me more like a tragic love story of Nandini and Aditya Karikalan which goes through an upheaval due to several factors and ends on a sad note. A tale of love turns into a clash of emotions, lust for power and vendetta. The massive novel ended with the death of Aditya Karikalan which is said to be a mystery even according to the history which Kalki also maintained.

No doubt a lot of effort had gone into the making of this magnum opus which had been considered and ultimately dropped by several other filmmakers.

I have read the novel and it is a fiction based on some historical characters by adding some significant groups to make it into a tale of love, power struggle and politics of certain individuals and groups to capture the throne of Chola Kingdom.

What is surprising is in Tamil Nadu, a section of people crying hoarse that Mani Ratnam and Jayamohan who had done the screenplay for the famous novel had done great injustice to the author’s writings as if the author had brought out some historical errors.  Kalki is not a historian and he is basically a fiction writer. Further, this particular voluminous novel ran to nearly a thousand pages with a lot of unwanted elements, characters and convoluted incidents which all had to be pruned to make a screenplay with clarity. That freedom had been taken by the writer and director.

For me it is, indeed, a genuine attempt with limitations and one cannot feel the same when they completed reading the novel in the form of a book. We should remember while reading that the characters and scenarios are imagined by us but here we are watching the visuals conceived and presented by the film maker.

That makes all the difference.


More by :  G Swaminathan

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