Friday, March 1, 2024

Ponniyin Selvan: Part-2 Movie Review

Entertainment Desk :

PONNIYIN SELVAN – PART 2 [Hindi] is the story of the Chola Empire. At the end of the first part, Arunmozhi alias Ponniyin Selvan (Jayam Ravi) and Vallavaraiyan Vandiyadevan (Karthi) are presumed to be dead, leading to chaos in the Chola Empire. However, both survive as they are rescued by Mouni Rani (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), a lookalike of Nandini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan). Both somehow reach Lanka. Arunmozhi is very ill and the Buddhist priests on the island heal him while secretly housing him in their monastery. Aditya Karikalan (Vikram) is enraged on hearing about his brother’s death as he guesses that Nandini is responsible for it. Madhurantakan (Rahman), meanwhile, continues his fight to claim the throne of the Chola Empire.

Amid all this madness, the Pandyas capture Vandiyadevan. He overhears the conversation between Pandyas and Nandini. Nandini devises a plan of killing Karikalan, his father Sunder Chol (Prakash Raj) and Arunmozhi, presuming he’s alive, on the same night, in order to avenge the death of Veer Pandya (Nasser). Vandiyadevan is about to be killed but Nandini lets him go when he tells her that her lookalike saved his life. Meanwhile, news of Arunmozhi seeking refuge in the Lankan monastery spreads and the locals ask them to visit their village. Vandiyadevan, who’s aware that plans are being made to kill Arunmozhi, advises him not to go ahead. Arunmozhi, however, accepts the offer. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

PONNIYIN SELVAN – PART 2 [Hindi] is based on a novel of the same name by Kalki. Mani Ratnam, Jeyamohan and Kumaravel’s screenplay suffers from the same problem which was prevalent in the first half – it’s too confusing. If one is not aware of this chapter in the history or the background, it becomes difficult to comprehend at several places what exactly is going on. Divya Prakash Dubey’s dialogues are fair.

Mani Ratnam’s direction fails to impress the audiences on an all-India level. The length (165 minutes) is an issue. Also, he should have simplified things so that the audiences outside the home state can also get involved in the storyline. For instance, in the second half, the conflict takes place in both Tanjore and Kadambur. The palaces in both places look similar and audiences will be scratching their heads wondering which character is in which town. Even if we keep this factor aside, the storyline and also the execution is not convincing. The enemies become friends and vice versa suddenly and even randomly. They don’t have solid grounds to switch sides. The much-hyped double role element of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan isn’t as enticing as intended.

On the positive side, Mani Ratnam has mounted the film on a grand scale. Several shots are creatively executed and look visually stunning. A few scenes also stand out like Vandiyadevan’s meeting with Nandini when the former is captured, the intermission point and Karikalan meeting Nandini in the secret passage. Lastly, he has extracted fine performances from the ensemble cast.

Jayam Ravi suits the part and performs ably. Vikram is dashing and delivers a great performance. Karthi’s comic timing is limited here, as compared to the first part. Nevertheless, he does well. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan looks stunning and gives a fine performance. Special mention should also go to Sara Arjun (young Nandini). She leaves a huge mark and is aptly cast to play a younger version of Aishwarya. Trisha (Kundavai) is decent and one wishes she had more to do in the film. Prakash Raj is dependable. Rahman is good but is let down by his character’s actions. The same goes for Vikram Prabhu (Parthiban). Sobhita Dhulipala (Vaanathi) and Aishwarya Lekshmi (Samudra Kumari) are wasted this time. Kishore (Ravidas), Nasser and others are okay.

A R Rahman’s music is forgettable. ‘Mera Aasmaan Jal Gaya’ stands out due to Arijit Singh’s voice. ‘Ruaa Ruaa’, ‘Veera Raja Veera’, ‘Megha Re Megha’, ‘Shivoham’ and others don’t have a shelf life. A R Rahman’s background score, however, is top-notch.

Ravi Varman’s cinematography is spectacular. Thota Tharrani’s production design is rich. Eka Lakhani’s costumes (additional costumes by Chandrakant Sonawane) are very appealing. Kecha Khamphakdee, Sham Kaushal and Dhilip Subbarayan’s action is not over the top and it works for the film. VFX is first-rate. A Sreekar Prasad’s editing could have been sharper.

On the whole, PONNIYIN SELVAN – PART 2 [Hindi] doesn’t have much to offer to the Hindi audiences due to its confusing and unconvincing storyline. At the box office, however, it might spring a surprise, just like the first part, due to limited competition

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