Ponniyin Selvan (பொன்னியின் செல்வன்; Poṉṉiyiṉ celvan) is the hot topic around the world now. Ponniyin Selvan – 1 (2022) was released worldwide on 30th September 2022 in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam. Kollywood Entertainment distributed and premiered the historical fiction feature film in the Scandinavian countries, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. As known so far, Ponniyin Selvan is the first Tamil film shown in the Icelandic cinema. The film was premiered all over Norway, such as in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, and Kristiansand, to name a few cities.
Ponniyin Selvan -1 is based on the historical fiction novel written by the historical novelist Ramaswamy Krishnamurthy in the Tamil language. He is better known by his pen name Kalki (Kalki Krishnamurthy). His text was serialised in the weekly Tamil magazine Kalki (கல்கி) from 29th October 1950 to 16th May 1954. Then in 1955, the text was compiled into a novel of 3 parts. In later times the novel was published in 5 parts.
Ponniyin Selvan is about the power struggle during the Chola rule in the 10th Century. The conspiracies and the struggle for power between the main characters and those around them form the basis of this story.
Ponniyin Selvan means son of River Ponni (now known as River Kaveri). The name was given to Arulmozhi Varman, who was later known as Raja Raja Cholan. He was the most powerful Tamil king in Tamil history, who ruled South India, other parts of India, and Southeast Asia as well as Eelam (now known as Sri Lanka). Based on meykkīrtti (மெய்க்கீர்த்தி) of Cholas´ inscriptions, the conquest of Sri Lanka is recorded as Ila-mandalam (ஈழ மணடலம்; Īḻa maṇaṭalam). Arulmozhi Varman was son of Sundara Cholan (சுந்தரச் சோழன்; Cuntarac cōḻaṉ) and younger brother of Athitha Karikalan (ஆதித்த கரிகாலன்; ātitta karikālaṉ) and Kunthavai (குந்தவை; kuntavai).
When looking at this film from an archives perspective, the story is triggered by a royal order of delivering a message to the Chola ruler; Sundara Cholan to alert a danger to the Chola Empire. The Crown Prince of the Chola dynasty, Athitha Karikalan gives the order to his loyal friend Vaanavarayan Vanthiyathevan (வானவராயன் வந்தியத்தேவன்; vāṉavarāyaṉ vantiyattēvaṉ), who becomes the loyal royal messenger with palmyra leaf document (ஓலை; Ōlai). Through that, he is also a character who moves the story of Ponniyin Selvan.
Kundavai, a strong Chola woman with wise political knowledge and fiercely loyal to her people of the Chola dynasty, sends other royal messages. She attempts to safeguard her brothers and establish political peace in the Chola Empire when she senses a conspiracy.
On the other hand, Nanthini, a former lover of Athitha Karikalan do also send other messages to create a trap as an act of revenge. With her royal position, political knowledge and manipulative talent, she manages to generate an authentic document to betray personalities in the Chola rule.
Authentic documents can be genuine, but it doesn’t necessarily contain the truth. They can, unfortunately, blindfold fiercely loyal people which can result in a major loss, setbacks and even the fall of an empire.
The movie of Ponniyin Selvan (2022) is also an example of an authentic document in form of audiovisual media. As mentioned earlier, the inscription from the Chola period document the island of Ilankai or Sri Lanka as “Īḻam» (ஈழம்), “īḻa nāṭu» (ஈழ நாடு) and “īḻa maṇṭalam» (ஈழ மண்டலம்). The historical novelist Kali used the term “īḻa nāṭu» (ஈழ நாடு) throughout his novel. However, the Tamil dialogues in the feature film mention Sri Lanka as Ilaṅkai (இலங்கை), which is a modern name for the island, and the English subtitle as Lanka. The Hindi translation referring the land as a Sinhala country.
தலைப்பு│Title: பொன்னியின் செல்வன் – 1
ஆங்கில தலைப்பு│ English title: Ponniyin Selvan – 1
இயக்குனர்│Director: Mani Ratnam
நடிகர்கள்│Cast: Vikram, Jayam Ravi, Karthi, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Trisha Krishnan, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Sarath Kumar, Vikram Prabhu, Sobhita Dhulipala, Jayaram, Prabhu, Parthiban Radhakrishnan, and Prakash Raj, Ashwin Kakumanu, Lal, Aswin Rao, Nizhalgal Ravi, Nassar, Mohan Raman, Rahman, Master Raghavan, Riyaz Khan, Sara Arjun, Jayachitra, Vijey Yesudas, Arjun Chidambaram, Babu Antony, Amzath Khan, Balaji Sakthivel, Makrand Deshpande, Kishore Kumar G, Vinay
கதை சொல்பவர்│Narrator: Kamal Haasan
ஒளிப்பதிவு│Cinematography: Ravi Varman
படத்தொகுப்பு│Editing: A. Sreekar Prasad
இசை│Music: A. R. Rahman
கலை இயக்கம் │Art Direction: Thotta Tharani
தயாரிப்பு│Production: Lyca Production
இடம்│Location: Tamil Nadu, India
ஏனைய மொழி│Other language: Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam
இலக்கியநடை│Genre: History, Fiction
பொருட்துறை│Subject: Ponniyin Selvan, Chola Dynasty, Chola Empire, Kalki, historical fiction
The feature film is based on a historical fiction novel under the same name, by Kalki Krishnamurthy. The story is set in 10th century and is about the power struggle during the Chozha rule.
வகை│Type: Feature film
Selvaseelan, K. (2022) “Ponniyin Selvan 1: A mighty triumph”. Tamil Guardian. From https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/ponniyin-selvan-1-mighty-triumph
Tamil Guardian. (2022) “‘Eela not Sinhala’ – Ponniyin Selvan mired in controversy“. From https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/eela-not-sinhala-ponniyin-selvan-mired-controversy
TamilNet. (2010). “Eezham / E’lu / He’la”. From