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Ponniyin Selvan I Review: Mani Ratnam’s Vision and the Talented Star Cast Propels the Film

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Queen Nandini steals the show with her performance in PS-I

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Khushant Runghe
Khushant Runghe
Covering the entertainment industry which includes reviewing movies, series, anime, comics and movies.

INDIA: Mani Ratnam is back with his most-awaited magnum opus, Ponniyin Selvan I. The adaptation of Kalki Krishnamurthy’s epic novel series, A. R. Rahman’s music, and especially the star cast full of talented powerhouses, emerge as the factors which are enough to witness this film theatrically.

The veteran filmmaker added his directorial vision to Ponniyin Selvan, starring Vikram as Aditha Karikalan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Nandini, Jayam Ravi as Arunmozhi Varman, Karthi as Vallavaraiyan Vanthiyathevan, and Trisha as Kundavai.

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Mani Ratnam’s PS-I elevates with A. R. Rahman’s BGM and strong performances

Ponniyin Selvan embodies a powerful aspect of a star cast brimming with oceanic talent, which is especially important in a period-action drama. The film brilliantly showers each element on the screen, whether it’s the bonding between Vikram and Karthi’s character or the powerful performances of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Trisha. Jayam Ravi gives his best performance as Arunmozhi Varman. The actor’s magnificent entrance in the second half, combined with a robust background score, creates the perfect scene in the film.

Aishwarya Rai as Queen Nandini steals the show with her performance skills and, more importantly, her eyes speak volumes in every scene. The actress has brilliantly portrayed the character with perfection and brilliance, thanks to Mani Ratnam and Elango Kumaravel’s screenplay. 

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Mani Ratnam’s vision comes to life on big screens with larger-than-life set pieces. The veteran filmmaker has brilliantly managed to bring together all of the talented star cast and his vision under one roof, adapting the renowned epic novel series. A. R. Rahman’s background score also adds highlights and catalytic factors, which proves crucial in adding tension to the plot at times. Ravi Varman’s cinematography vividly captures the world of this Mani Ratnam film, which breathes life into each persona.

What Could have been better? 

Jayam Ravi deserved more screen time. Due to a lack of screen time, the actor’s best performance fails to leave an impression. The CGI is choppy at times, which detracts from the film’s overall appearance. The most vexing aspect is that the makers set the war scenes with a high tone and then abruptly kill our excitement with shaky camera shots. The runtime is very long, which eventually tests our patience; if the length had been reduced, the story could have been fleshed out more engagingly on the screen.

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Most importantly, the film lacks the mass moments that are sorely lacking in the concept. It’s fine to make the film grounded and realistic on the premise, but if it goes too far, the audience loses interest. If we leave out a few scenes, the story lacks goosebumps-inducing moments.


Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan I brilliantly enhances the filmmaker’s vision with a strong star cast and A. R. Rahman’s epic background score, but the longer runtime and shaky camera movements during the war scenes drag our viewing experience.

Transcontinental Times rating: 3.5/5

Also Read: Ponniyin Selvan: The New Song, Ponni Nadhi, Emerges as a Musical Joyride


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