Ponniyin Selvan: The Federal captures the mystique of the novel and film
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Ponniyin Selvan: The Federal captures the mystique of the novel and film


As Ponniyin Selvan 2 releases, we recall our stories centred around the masterpiece. Click the links to read The Federal‘s in-depth stories on PS 1 and 2.

How Kalki’s masterpiece lured filmmakers

Ponniyin Selvan is a historical novel close to the hearts of many people in Tamil Nadu. Just like the great sagas, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Kalki’s epic on the golden rule of the Chola dynasty, is treasured and valued by many.

Yet, to bring this acclaimed novel to life on the celluloid screen became a herculean task. Many superstars and filmmakers have made several attempts to adapt the book into a film and shelved it mid-way for various reasons. Probably, daunted by the sheer size of the project.

From MG Ramachandran, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, who wanted to direct and play Vandhiyathevan, the favourite character in the book, to Kamal Haasan, they tried to bring this grand masterpiece on screen. Finally, it was Mani Ratnam who persisted and secured the rights of the film and kept renewing it…

Read The Federal story on how Kalki’s novel lured filmmakers

Ponniyan Selvan Actor Karthi on playing Vandhiyathevan in Ponniyin Selvan

“Playing Vandhiyathevan and working with Mani sir again was surreal. I don’t want to limit the film by calling it a pan-India venture; it must travel across the globe just like how the Cholas expanded their kingdom and conquered various parts of the world,” said Karthi in an exclusive with The Federal.

This is the interview

Hype around Ponniyin Selvan spills into tourism sector

Ahead of the release of Mani Ratnam’s magnum opus ‘Ponniyin Selvan-1, Tamil Nadu was gripped in the Chola fever. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Department quickly cashed in on the renewed interest, and came up with a tour package covering the places that figure significantly in the history of the Chola kingdom.

Here’s the story in The Federal

A film star among writers: How Kalki Krishnamurthy became a cult before ‘Ponniyin Selvan’

Kalki KrishnamurthySeventy years after it was published, this 2,500-page historical saga, ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ in five volumes continues to remain a bestseller, breaking records as the single-most read Tamil work of fiction, then and now.

Kalki had become a cult figure in the Tamil realm much before ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ was published. Ahead of the release of Mani Ratnam’s period drama based on Kalki’s epic novel, The Federal looked at the life and works of the pioneer of modern Tamil literature, who fought against every kind of caste, creed and gender discrimination, and for whom the act of writing was an assertion of values.

Read the story 

Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan: How nature’s five elements act as characters

The discussions about Cholas, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world history, are never-ending in Tamil cultural sphere. Noted filmmaker Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan, based on Kalki Krishnamurthy’s 2,200-page novel by the same name, has added fuel to the fire.

The novel has five parts, titled as Pudhu Vellam (New Floods), Suzhal Kaatru (Whirlwind), Kolaivaal (Killing Sword), Manimagudam (The Crown) and Thyaga Sigaram (The Zenith of Sacrifice).

How does Kalki weave the elements into his story? Read here.

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