Mani Ratnam’s magnum opus ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ is slated to hit the big screens on September 30.
The teaser of Mani Ratnam’s upcoming period drama Ponniyin Selvan was unveiled at a launch ceremony that was held in Chennai on Friday, July 8. 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 has penned the dialogues, among others were present on the occasion.
Speaking at the launch event, actor Karthi, who will be seen as Vandiyadevan said that it was a challenging film to make since the book has been widely read by lakhs of people and each one 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 could observe and learn from so many of my favorite artists,” Karthi said.
Extending her gratitude to director Mani Ratnam, actor Trisha said, “This is the first time we are all (the cast) seeing the teaser. I am speechless. Be it a newcomer, or an established actor, acting in a Mani Ratnam movie is a dream come true for them. I am so thankful that I got to play Kundavai in his magnum opus.”
She added, “Mani sir made his first pan-Indian film with Roja, At the moment, if we look at pan-Indian films, audiences across the country are admiring south Indian movies, and we’ve been giving them blockbusters. Ponniyin Selvan is one such film that needs to be viewed by audiences across the country. We, as a team, are proud to present Ponniyin Selvan as a pan Indian film.”
Set in the Chola period, the film brings to life author Kalki’s book of the same title. The story revolves around the early life of prince Arulmozhi Varman who went on to be known as Raja Raja Cholan.
Actor Sarath Kumar, who essays the role of Periya Pazhuvettarayar said, “At a time when a lot of people are discussing the Chola history and the greatness of the empire, Mani Ratnam has created an opportunity for everyone to celebrate. As an actor, it is an honor to say that I was part of Ponniyin Selvan.” Stating that playing the character was a dream come true, Sarath Kumar observed, “Like writer Jeyamohan sir said, the future generations won’t be talking about Thor or Captain America, they will be talking about Ponniyin Selvan and the Chola dynasty.”
Watch the teaser of Ponniyin Selvan here:
Aishwarya Lekshmi, who has also been roped in for a pivotal role, mentioned that she was delighted to witness how the film has been conceived and understand how the pieces have come together to form a beautiful story.
Jayam Ravi, who is essaying the titular role as Ponniyin Selvan, revealed how he bagged the role. “This journey started when I couldn’t do a film that I was supposed to do with Madras Talkies due to date clashes. When Mani sir called me again, I went to the meeting thinking I was going to get scolded but he revealed that I will be playing Ponniyin Selvan, I was more shocked back then than I was when I watched the teaser. I will never forget that day. I think I have completely surrendered myself to the project and I hope you all will be able to see and like it.”
The cast also includes actors Vikram, Aishwarya Rai, Jayaram, Parthiban, Lal, Prabhu and Prakash Raj. Actor Vikram too was expected to be present at the teaser launch earlier. However, after the actor was admitted at a private hospital in Chennai on July 8, his son Dhruv Vikram informed that he is recuperating.
Director Mani Ratnam revealed that the film was planned to be made by several directors and actors at different time periods. “Makkal Thilagam MGR sir was supposed to do the film after Naadodi Mannan. I have tried working on this project thrice- in 1980s, 2000 and 2010, but it did not fall in place,” he said, while adding that he understands the responsibility that comes with the film since Ponniyin Selvan is well-liked by Tamil readers.”
Heaping praises on Mani Ratnam, AR Rahman who made his debut as a music composer with Mani Ratnam directorial Roja and has frequently collaborated with the former, said, “Mani Ratnam has been my boss for 30 years. I have learned how to achieve excellence in life, go beyond mediocrity and how normal people can do something extraordinary and bring out the talents in them through Mani Ratnam. I don’t have to say a lot about this film. It is your film, our film, India’s film. We went to Bali for research. We went to the temples there, researched about instruments and by the time we were back, lockdown had been announced.”
Bankrolled by Lyca productions, the film is set to release on September 30. The teaser was shared by several celebrities including Mohanlal, Amitabh Bachchan, Suriya and Rakshit Shetty, among others.