Mani Ratnam’s magnum opus Ponniyin Selvan is set to hit the big screen on September 30th.
The teaser of Mani Ratnam’s upcoming period drama Ponniyin Selvan was unveiled at a launch ceremony held in Chennai on Friday, July 8th. Actors Karthi, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Trisha, Vikram Prabhu, Sarath Kumar and Jayam Ravi, filmmaker Mani Ratnam, music composer AR Rahman, cinematographer ManI Ratnam and writer Jeyamohan who penned the dialogues were among those present.
At the opening event, actor Karthi, who will be starring as Vandiyadevan, said that making the film was a challenge as the book has been read by thousands of people and each of them already has their own interpretation of the story. “I kept telling Ravi anna (Ravi Varman) that every day on the sets was a new experience for us. I’ve been able to watch and learn from so many of my favorite artists,” Karthi said.
Actress Trisha thanked director Mani Ratnam, saying, “This is the first time we’ve all (the cast) seen the teaser. I’m speechless. Whether newcomer or established actor, starring in a Mani Ratnam film is a dream come true for her. I’m so thankful I got to play Kundavai on his magnum opus.”
She added: “Mani Sir co-directed his first Pan-Indian film roja. At the moment, when we watch pan-Indian films, audiences across the country admire south Indian films and we have offered them blockbusters. Ponniyin Selvan is one such film that must be seen by audiences across the country. We as a team are proud to present to you Ponniyin Selvan as a Pan-Indian film.”
The film takes place in the Chola period and brings to life author Kalki’s book of the same name. The story revolves around the early life of Prince Arulmozhi Varman, later known as Raja Raja Cholan.
Actor Sarath Kumar, who portrays Periya Pazhuvettarayar, said: “At a time when many people are debating the history of the Chola and the greatness of the empire, Mani Ratnam has created an opportunity for celebration for all. As an actor, I am honored to say that I was a part of Ponniyin Selvan.” Explaining that the role was a dream come true, Sarath Kumar remarked, “As the author Jeyamohan said, sir, the generations to come will not talk about Thor or Captain America, they will talk about it Ponniyin Selvan and the Chola dynasty.”
Watch the teaser from Ponniyin Selvan here:
Aishwarya Lekshmi, who was also cast in a central role, mentioned that she was delighted to see how the film was conceived and to understand how the pieces were put together into a beautiful story.
Jayam Ravi attempting the title role as Ponniyin SelvanShe revealed how he bagged the role. “This journey began when I couldn’t do a film I was scheduled to do with Madras Talkies due to scheduling conflicts. When Mani Sir called me again, I went to the meeting thinking I would be scolded, but he revealed that I will be playing Ponniyin Selvan. I was more shocked then than when I saw the teaser. I will never forget this day. I think I’m totally committed to the project and I hope you all will see and like it.”
The cast also includes actors Vikram, Aishwarya Rai, Jayaram, Parthiban, Lal, Prabhu and Prakash Raj. Actor Vikram should also be present at the teaser launch earlier. However, after the actor was admitted to a private hospital in Chennai on July 8, his son Dhruv Vikram said he was recovering.
Director Mani Ratnam announced that the film would be shot by multiple directors and actors at different times. “Makkal Thilagam MGR sir should do the film after Naadodi Mannan. I tried to work on this project three times – in the 1980s, 2000 and 2010, but it didn’t work out,” he said, adding that he understands the responsibility that has come with the film since then Ponniyin Selvan is very popular with Tamil readers.”
Kudos to Mani Ratnam, AR Rahman, who debuted as a music composer with Mani Ratnam’s directorial debut roja and has frequently worked with the former, said: “Mani Ratnam has been my boss for 30 years. I have learned through Mani Ratnam how to achieve excellence in life, how to go beyond mediocrity and how ordinary people can do something extraordinary and bring out their talents. I don’t have to say much about this film. It’s your film, our film, India’s film. We traveled to Bali for research purposes. We went to the temples there, researched about instruments and when we came back the lockdown had been announced.”
The film, financed by Lyca Productions, is scheduled to hit theaters on September 30th. The teaser was shared by several celebrities including Mohanlal, Amitabh Bachchan, Suriya and Rakshit Shetty.