When Mani Ratnam's Ponniyin Selvan was announced, the project generated immense interest among movie lovers. People waited eagerly to watch the film which is the cinematic adaptation of Kalki Krishnamurthy's Ponniyin Selvan.The film's first part Ponniyin Selvan I when released last year, however disappointed movie lovers across the country as the character names failed to connect chords with the viewers except for the Tamil audience. Now the film's second part Ponniyin Selvan II is releasing on 28 April 2023. Though the second part is carrying a low buzz, the makers are confident, that the second part will entertain movie lovers to the core as there will be no confusion. Let us find out what Ponniyin Selvan II with the star cast of Vikram, Aishwarya Rai, Jayam Ravi, Karthi, Trisha, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Shobhita Dhulipala, offered to movie lovers. The film's OTT rights have been bagged by Amazon Prime Video and the screening will be done after the end of its theatrical run.
Ponniyin Selvan II story continues from where it ended in Ponniyin Selvan I. Following the shocking developments in Sri Lanka related to Arulmozhi Varman aka Ponniyin Selvan (Jayam Ravi), the unrest in the Chola Kingdom increases with various forces trying to take control of the capital city Tanjore. How Adithya Karikalan (Vikram), his dad Emperor Sundara Cholan alias Parantaka Chola II (Prakash Raj), sister Kundavai aka Ilaiya Piratti (Trisha), and trusted lieutenant Vallavaraiyan Vanthiyathevan (Karthi) address the problem, what are the nefarious plans of Madurantaka Uttama Chola(Rahman), Pazhuvoor queen Nandini (Aishwarya Rai), her husband, treasurer Periya Pazhuvettaraiyar (Sarath Kumar), who is Mandakini (Aishwarya Rai), and the resulting repercussions should be found on the big screen.
All the actors came up with good and captivating performances. Vikram showed good expressions and emotions and elevated the scenes making an intense impression. He got more screen presence this time compared to the first part and he did full justice to his role. Karthi who entertained with his hilarious and action scenes in the first part, this time came up with the serious performance as his character demanded. Jayam Ravi in the role of Ponniyin Selvan played his role in a graceful manner and he looked royal and cool on the screen.
Trisha as Princess Kundavai looked charming on the screen and she made an impression with her emotions and gait. Aishwarya Rai is good in her role and added glamor to the film. Others like Prakash Raj, Jayaram, Parthiban, Rahman, Shobita Dhulipala, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Sarath Kumar, Prabhu, Vikram Prabhu, and Lal performed according to their roles.
Ponniyin Selvan II's story starts off from where the first part of Ponniyin Selvan I ends. Mani Ratnam struck to the narration and the story and did not deviate too much. He narrated with clear-cut clarity with no real confusion and the narration flows smoothly. His screenplay and direction are intact and in sync with the story. He showed the developments in the aftermath of the happenings in Srilanka involving Ponniyin Selvan with the unrest increasing and chaos all over.
The way Rashtrakutas, Pandyas, and other people conspire against the Cholas and how Aditya Varman, Arulmozhi, and Kundaivai along with Vanthiyadevan try to thwart them is shown in an interesting way. The first half ends on an interesting note setting the tone for the second part. The conspiracies increase in the second half, resulting in more shocking developments with the enemies entering the Tanjore Fort. Mani Ratnam finally ended the film with Cholas conquering after the stunning setbacks.
For all his hard work, Mani Ratnam who realized his dream of turning Ponniyin Selvan by Kalki Krishnamurthy into a film Celluloid, however, failed to power it to another level with intense expressions and emotions. With a missing emotional connection despite the impactful performances from the star cast, Ponniyin Selvan II turned out to be just an average outing.
Rahman's songs are situational and melodious. All the songs are well shot in a beautiful manner highlighting the culture and tradition of Cholas in Tanjore and other regions. Rahman elevated the scenes with his intense background music. The cinematography of Ravi Varman is beautiful and gave a royal and regal look to the Chola Clan on the screen. However, the war scenes did not give the required elevations and it seemed the climax has been wrapped up in a hurry after all the slow pace. Rhew war scenes and the VFX used looked pretty ordinary and this impacted the final output.The editing of Sreekara Prasad could have been better as the narration is extremely slow and few scenes are repeated. Dialogues are ok and at times interesting. Production values of Madras Talkies, Lyca Productions are good.
Altogether, Mani Ratnam's Ponniyin Selvan II is a decent entertainer compared to Ponniyin Selvan I. Mani Ratnam should be commended and complimented for realizing his dream of showing the valor of Chola Kings of whom the entire Tamil Nadu is proud of and in the process paid rich tribute to them by turning Ponniyin Selvan novel of Kalki Krishnamurthy into a film.
While Ponniyin Selvan I confused many, especially non-Tamilians as they couldn't connect to the nativity and the names of the characters and the confusing screenplay, movie lovers do not face any such problem in Ponniyin Selvan II as they are well acquainted with the characters. Mani Ratnam made sure that the proceedings are narrated in a smooth manner without creating any confusion with his screenplay and direction.
He got the optimum from the entire cast and crew to turn the final product into a decent one. Had Mani Ratnam, included a few twists and turns and impactful dialogues, hair-raising action sequences, and elevated the scenes with his screenplay and direction using his creativity, Ponniyin Selvan would have made a stronger impact. However, the snail's pace in the proceedings ruined the cinematic experience. Considering all these elements, Cinejosh goes with a 2.5 Rating for Ponniyin Selvan 2.