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Mani Ratnam recalls picking up Ponniyin Selvan novel for the first time from a lending library: ‘Absolute adventure’

Filmmaker Mani Ratnam recently spoke about reading Ponniyin Selvan while in school, and how he was hooked by the vivid details. He also opened up about why he decided to pick the novel for his dream project.

Mani RatnamMani Ratnam at media interaction for Ponniyin Selvan. (Photo: Twitter/Madrastalkies_)

On Monday, filmmaker Mani Ratnam along with his Ponniyin Selvan (PS1) cast attended a press meet in Delhi. The magnum opus drama, starring Vikram, Karthi, Jayam Ravi, Trisha and Aishwarya Rai among others, is based on Kalki Krishnamurthy’s popular Tamil novel of the same name, which was published in 1955. At the event, Ratnam opened up about what made him pick up the much-loved novel for his film, which he calls his ‘dream project’.

Ponniyin Selvan was inspired by the history of the imperial Cholas. Sharing that while there are too many things that are special in the novel, Ratnam mentioned that he would only share what “fascinated him, and drew him first into it”.

“I was probably finishing school when I first read it and I never thought I’d become a filmmaker. Like everybody else, I was reading things in this book, (which) I happened to pick up from a lending library. And from the time I started reading it, I could see it in front of me. He (Kalki Krishnamurthy) had written it so vividly that it looked like a spectacle. Later I realized that was the hook but beyond that, there were other things that were not visible for just finishing school students. That there were people and they were characters and there was intrigue and there was an absolute adventure,” he shared.

Talking about adapting the novel as a film, Mani Ratnam said that the story was “meant for the big screen”. Lauding the writer, he added, “It has all the glorious things that cinema can bring across. I think the two of them blended together, the brilliance and the spectacle along with the intelligence and characters and intrigue and honesty. And with it, he has planted so much of historic details, so much research, so much authenticity and he describes the music that was there. He describes the songs that were written at that time, describes the temples that were built and who did what, and the social and cultural revolution that they did. So, everything was there. It’s not just me, I think. Whoever has read the book, has loved it.”

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Ponniyin Selvan 1 will be released in theatres on September 30.

First published on: 26-09-2022 at 20:46 IST
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