Ponniyin Selvan Part 1 Review- Story
Aditha Karikalan (Vikram) entrusts his friend Vallavairayan V (Karthi) to find information about a possible Chola revolt aided by Nandini (Aishwarya Rai) and Pazhuvettaiyar (Sarathkumar). With the help of the prince Arunmozhi (Jayam Ravi) and his sister Kundavai (Trisha), how they counter this in the Chola kingdom and deal with the Pandyan king for the rest of the story.
Ponniyin Selvan Part 1 Review- Analysis
With a period film, one expects a level of panache and elevation throughout the movie as the movie unravels into the plot. Ponniyin Selvan is a slow burn that never seems to pay off the slow buildup that happens throughout and goes through the motions with very dull narration throughout that just sucks the energy out of the viewer.
The writing in Ponniyin Selvan is very flawed throughout for the sole purpose that the writing tries to balance too much without having the correct balance of dishing out characters and kingdoms in a period movie. There are so many different threads and characters that no one is properly delved out, resulting in a mess of events that are edited very poorly. Not one character is shown a proper buildup as Mani Ratnam has gone for quantity over quality in terms of how many. The one bright spot in the writing goes to Aishwarya Rai’s character, but Mani Ratnam has surprisingly shown hurry and a lack of fleshing out the story by revealing everything too quickly that has substance without tying it together.
The screenplay is another disappointment; with the editing, it’s everywhere and doesn’t have a flow to the events. Whatever events do happen aren’t developed and are all over the place without a sense of grip which is really important.
Mani Ratnam’s direction is another sense of slowness as his dull narration fills the movie with incessant lag and makes it very tough to sit through. The entire movie drones on and on setting up the story again and again and again with no payoff, and this result in a sense of bore throughout. Especially in the second half, there are no high moments in any of the proceedings as the narrative keeps going on time and again with scenes that don’t hold any weight. With the writing having no development as well, Mani Ratnam keeps the movie in an incessant bore.
Performances don’t have much to rave out about except for Karthi and Aishwarya Rai, mainly due to poor writing. Karthi is absolutely phenomenal with his energetic act, as his performance keeps the movie moving. Aishwarya Rai in a very wily and double-shaded role impresses as well. However, the other actors don’t get a chance to bring forward their talents. Vikram is wasted, Jayam Ravi doesn’t get much scope, Trisha has a small role, and everyone else doesn’t have an impact.
The technical elements are a downer too. AR Rahman’s music is a speed breaker and his BGM uninspiring, a huge disappointment. The cinematography is very uneven; some sets are very vibrant, but some sets don’t have any flair, especially in the war scenes. The editing is too poor as the movie runs too long. Dialogues are too complex but fit the target audience. Production values could have been much better; there isn’t much distinction between the various locations that can be seen on the flash. The fight scenes and war scenes are uninspiring and don’t have any substance to them. They’ve been directed poorly without any audience connection; with such a high standard to the audience, it disappoints. All said and done, Ponniyin Selvan is a huge disappointment for the poor quality of technical filmmaking brought forward. The confusing writing, the lack of a smooth screenplay, and the dull direction more than destroy the ship. We still need to wait for a Mani Ratnam comeback; hopefully with PS2.