The veteran filmmaker recalls the time when he and Kamal had begun ideating on the film, but budget, script constraints put paid to the Ponniyin Selvan dream then.
By Mayur Lookhar
Filmmaking is a test of patience. Even the greats have to bide their time. Veteran filmmaker Mani Ratnam has waited over 30 years to see his big ambitious Ponniyn Selvan dream come alive. Produced by Lyca Productions, the epic film is set to be released on 30 September in theatres.
Ratnam and his leading cast – Vikram, Jayram Ravi, Aishwarya Rai, Trisha, Karthi held a press conference in Mumbai on 24 September. The veteran filmmaker was asked about his early attempt at adapting acclaimed Tamil writer Kalki Krishnamurthy’s epic novel  of the same name. He was particularly asked about his desired cast then. Ratnam opened up about his earlier attempt.
“This is a film that first M.G. Ramachandran wanted to make. He had a set of cast. Then later I thought of this. It was after Nayakan , which I did with Kamal Haasan,” said Ratnam.
“We both wanted to do this film. At that time, we didn’t start casting. We just had Kamal Haasan as the hero. We were working on the script but it didn’t get materialized, it was too big, we couldn’t put into a single film. We couldn’t afford it. So, we left it back. This is what the history is,” the filmmaker disclosed.
Historical films come with its challenges. There are times where historical films have been tweaked to satiate certain audience. Has Ratnam tweaked history or is the film true to the book?
“The book is a historical fiction. A lot of characters are real. There are some characters which Kalki had written that were fictional. I think the way he had blended the two was fascinating. That is what we have tried to capture in the movie,” Ratnam replied.
Based on Kalki’s book, Ponniyin Selvan: 1  takes us back in time of the Chola dynasty.