Mani Ratnam promoted his upcoming film Ponniyin Selvan 1 in Mumbai on Saturday. The period drama based on a historical fiction novel by Kalki Krishnamurthy, is written in Tamil, which tells the story of early days of Arulmozhivarman, who later became the great Chola emperor Rajaraja Chola I.
During the media interaction, Mani Ratnam said the film is relevant in today’s time as the “politics and psychology of it is still relevant.”
On being asked how relevant is a film based on history in today’s time, the acclaimed director said, “You learn everything from history. I think everything comes from the past when the future comes. Especially this novel and this film, after thousand years, it will still be relevant; the politics of it is still relevant, the psychology of it is still relevant and therefore I think it is as contemporary as it can get. ”
The filmmaker was then asked if he has tweaked certain parts of the film to suit the larger audience since PS1 will be like a window to Tamil history for other parts of the country, Ratnam said, “The book is a historical fiction. There are a lot of characters which are real, which existed and which are recorded in history. There are some characters that Kalki had written which are fictional and I think the way he had blended the two is fascinating and that is what we have tried to capture in the movie.”
The ace director then revealed that Ajay Devgn has lent his voice for the Hindi version of Ponniyin Selvan 1 as a narrator of the film.
Opening up about Ajay Devgn’s involvement in the project and how he is thankful to the star for his time, he shared, “I have two more people to thank from the Hindi film industry, one is Anil Kapoor, it was his voice on the trailer and one more is Ajay Devgn, it will be his voice on the main film.”
Ratnam, here, then spoke about how directing this film was like his calling. He said, “PS (Ponniyin Selvan) has been a dream for a very long time, since the time I first read the book during my school days. I neither thought I’d ever get into films nor did I think I’d make it. But it’s always been my calling.”
“It was so spectacular, as a wish, as a story, as an adventure and several people have tried to do this before and they have not been able to because of one reason, they wanted to leave it for me, so I’m so happy, that I get to make it and get to make it at this time, when the technology has improved tremendously. So we are able to do it with lot more comfort, lot more authenticity and to be able to do it with this kind of cast and crew, who in fact are not just right for the role but also are right for the film. So, it’s very special. And thank you to each one of them, thank you to the producer who trusted us and gave us the money to go ahead and do it,” he added.
Mani Ratnam later revealed about his previous attempt in making Ponniyin Selvan more than three decades ago. He said, “This is the film that M G Ramachandran wanted to make. And I thought of making it after my film Nayakan (1987) with Kamal Haasan. We both wanted to do this film. At that time, we had not started casting. We just had Kamal as the hero and we were working on the script. And it didn’t materialize because it’s too big. We couldn’t put the whole story into a single film. Also, we couldn’t afford it.”
Ponniyin Selvan 1, starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Trisha, Vikram, Jayram Ravi among others is scheduled to release in theatres worldwide on September 30 in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi.