Movie: PS-1 Ponniyan Selvan
Banner: Madras Talkies, Lyca Productions
Cast: Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Jayam Ravi, Karthi, Trisha, Prabhu, R Sarathkumar, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Sobhita Dhulipala, Vikram Prabhu, Jayaram, Prakash Raj, Rahman and Radhakrishnan Parthiban
Dialogs: Tanikella Bharani
Music: AR Rahman
Director of Photography: Ravi Varman
Editor: Sreekar Prasad
Production designer: Thota Tharrani
Stock: Kecha Khampakdee & Shyam Kaushal
Producer: Mani Ratnam and Subaskaran
Realized by: Mani Ratnam
Release date: Sep 30, 2022
After the films Baahubali, RRR and KGF, Mani Ratnam’s “PS1” is the drama of a period that has caught everyone’s attention. The hype surrounding the film has been enormous. The million dollar bookings in the United States alone prove the buzz generated by the film.
Let’s see if the movie lives up to expectations.
Pallavatturyar (Sarath Kumar) and his wife Nandini (Aishwarya Rai) plot to make Madhurantakudu (Rahman) the next king in place of Aditya Karikaludu (Vikram).
On this information, Kundavi (Trisha) sends Vanthiyadevudu (Karthi), a spy, to bring his brother Arunmozhi alias Ponniyan Selvan (Jayam Ravi) from Srilanka to Tanjore.
Meanwhile, another group comes out to kill Ponniyan Selvan. The rest of the film is about Ponniyan Selvan trying to return to his hometown.
The movie has many characters but only a few are important. Among them, Karthi as Vandiyadevudu ranks first.
The film begins with her journey from place to place. The first half of the film has Karthi dominating the show. He also tries comedy.
Vikram as Aditya Karikaludu only appears in three episodes. His playing gives an impression of deja vu.
Jayam Ravi as Arunmozhi Varma aka Ponniyan gets groomed.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan plays a dual role. As Nandini, she has a tremendous screen presence. She has limited scope to show off her performance but she commands attention with her charm and grace. Trisha as Princess Kundavi is stunning. She looks much younger than her actual age.
Prakash Raj and Sarath Kumar are playing their roles well. Sobhita Dhulipala and Aishwarya Lekshmi get minor roles.
The best part of the film is the excellent production design by Thota Tarani. Sets are classes. It recreates the Chola period. Ravi Varman’s camera further improved the production design. The VFX work is impressive in some places, and not up to par in others. AR Rahman’s songs didn’t work in the film, but his background music is captivating.
The writing of the Telugu dialogue (by Tanikella Bharani) is correct.
Aishwarya Rai and Trisha
Difficult to understand the first half
No goosebumps moments
The creators proclaimed “PS1” as “the story of India’s greatest empire”. Based on a Tamil novel named “Ponniyan Selvan”, Mani Ratnam made the movie in two parts and the first part is here. Prior to release, there were comparisons between ‘PS1’ and Rajamouli’s ‘Baahubali’, but the two are entirely different, neither of them match in any way, be it war sequences or the grandeur of the visuals. .
“PS-1” is a story based on real history, and the many characters with hard-to-remember names keep coming. Getting track of the names and characters themselves is a tedious task. For those unfamiliar with the novel and the story like this reviewer, it’s hard to understand the flow and get the characters.
The film begins with Vandhiyadevudu’s journey. Karthi as Vandhiyadevudu flirts with women, dances, does comedic stunts, plays with a Brahmin (played by Jayaram), and engages in fights. Through him, we meet all the characters, first Aditya Karikaludu, then Nandini after this Kundavi, and finally Ponniyan Selvan. His long journey and his many subplots occupy the story of this first part.
However, the film is structured in such a way that much of the plot takes place in the first half, which is very difficult to understand. By the time we get the story, the movie comes at an interval. With so much attention paid to many characters and their backgrounds, we don’t get any highlights. In the entire first half, the only intriguing moment is Vikram killing someone when Aishwarya Rai begs him to forgive her.
The second half of the film shifts the drama to Sri Lanka where Ponniyan Selvan resides. The second half visuals are excellent. The action sequence on a boat is the main highlight. The film comes at its own pace in this part. But then it quickly ends with a twist, which in no way matches the twist of “Kattappa.”
The film’s greatest strength is the production design and cinematography. The pitches are another strong point. These are designed for a big screen experience. But the narrative is not strong enough to appreciate them. For the Tamil audience, the movie can work well because they know the story and the characters. For us, it’s a tedious experience.
Overall, ‘PS-1’ despite its size and high build values, is far from engaging. You need a lot of patience to watch the slow-paced drama which lasts almost 2 hours 45 minutes.
At the end of the line : Single size