Ponniyin Selvan (1958 film)

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Ponniyin Selvan
Directed by M. G. Ramachandran
Produced by M. G. Ramachandran
Based on Ponniyin Selvan 
by Kalki Krishnamurthy
Starring M. G. Ramachandran
Vyjayanthimala
Gemini Ganesan
Release dates
Shelved (1958)
Country India
Language Tamil
English

Ponniyin Selvan (Tamil: பொன்னியின் செல்வன்; English: Son of Ponni) is a shelved 1958 Tamil Historical fiction. The movie was to be produced and directed by actor M. G. Ramachandran. The film had M. G. Ramachandran, Vyjayanthimala and Gemini Ganesan in the lead with Padmini, Savitri, Saroja Devi, M. N. Rajam, Nagesh, T. S. Balaiah, M. N. Nambiar and O. A. K. Devar forms an ensemble cast. This was one of the first film which was an adaptation from the Kalki Krishnamurthy's Ponniyin Selvan.[1]

Plot[edit]

The story revolves around Vandiyathevan, a charming,brave and a brilliant young man who sets out to the Chola land to deliver a message to the King and the Princess from the Crown Prince Aditya Karikalan. The story shuttles between Vandiyathevan's travels in Chola country and the young Prince Arulmozhivarman's travels in Sri Lanka. The narrative deals with attempts by his sister Kundavai to bring back Arulmozhi (as Raja Raja was called before his crowning) to establish political peace in a land seemingly getting besot with unrest and signs of civil war, plotted by vassals and petty chieftains.

Parantaka Chola was succeeded by his second son Gandaraditya as the first son Rajaditya had died in a battle. At the time of Gandaraditya's death, his son Maduranthaka was a child and hence Gandaraditya’s brother Arinjaya ascended the throne. After Arinjaya’s death, his son Parantaka II, Sundara Chola was coronated. He had two sons, Aditya Karikalan and daughter Kundavai and the younger son Arulmozhivarman,the later known Rajaraja.

When the story starts, the emperor Sundara Chola is ill and bedridden. Aditya Karikalan is the general of the Northern Command and lived in Kanchi and Arulmozhivarman (who would be famous later as Raja Raja Chola I) is in Sri Lanka in battle and their sister Kundavai Piratti lived in Chola royal household at Pazhayarai.

The story is set in motion, when rumor starts that there is a conspiracy against Sundara Chola and his sons. One person who gets a glimpse of the Pandya conspirators is a warrior the Vanar kula veeran Vallavarayan Vandiyathevan.

It is through Vandiyathevan that we meet most of the characters in the novel such as Arulmozhivarman, the prince whom all the people loved, and Periya Pazhavetturayar, the chancellor who married Nandhini,(the main conspirator) when he was sixty. During his youth, Aditya Karikalan had fallen in love with Nandhini, but she turned vengeful after Aditya Karikalan killed Veerapandyan (who was probably her lover.It was a confusion which revolves in the story,some says it was her father) and vowed to destroy the Chola dynasty. We also meet Kundavai Devi, who after hearing the news of the conspiracy sends Vandiyathevan to Sri Lanka to give a message to Arulmozhivarman to come back immediately.

Besides these, there are other characters like Maduranthaka Thevar(the man whom the conspirators want to crown king), the son of Gandaraditya and Aniruddha Brahmarayar,Sundara Cholar’s Prime Minister and the man who has eyes and ears everywhere. But the most wonderful character in the book is Brahmarayar’s spy Azhwarkadiyan Nambi, a who roams around the country challenging for debates. He collects information for the Prime Minister and is always around Vandiyathevan, rescuing him during trouble.

There are some lovely women too, like Vanathi,Kodumbalur princess who is in love with Arulmozhi; Poonkuzhali, the boat woman who rows the future king to Lanka(the woman who becomes the Queen in future); Mandakini, the deaf and dumb step mother of the original maduranthaka chola and Rakkammal, the wife of a boatman who supports the Pandya conspirators. Most memorable among these is Nandhini, whose beauty is said to have the power to influence any man and manimegalai, the sister of kandhamaran(the kadamboor prince)who helps nandhini without any knowledge that she herself is the conspirator and also he turns against Vandhiyathevan, his best friend.

In the meanwhile, With Poonkuzhali's help, Vandiyathevan reaches Sri Lanka, meets Arulmozhivarman, and becomes his close friend. In Lanka, Arulmozhivarman realizes that his father had spent some time in an island near Lanka and had been with a girl born deaf and dumb. He meets her and realizes from her drawing that she and his father have had two children. Who are those children and do they have the right to the throne? Later one day in Thirupurambayam forest Vandiyathevan sees Nandhini and the Pandya conspirators place a small boy on a throne and take a vow in front of him. Who is this boy and what right does he have to the throne?

While coming back from Lanka, Arulmozhivarman is caught in a cyclone and goes missing. Rumor spreads that he is dead, but he survives and stays at Choodamani Viharam, a Buddhist monastery in . Then slowly the dispersed family starts assembling. The conspirators meanwhile choose one day in which both the king and both of his sons would be assassinated.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The filming was announced by M. G. Ramachandran in 1958 that he will produce a film which inspired by the novel of the same name.[1] In additional, he paid INR10,000 towards the film rights of the novel.[1]

Casting[edit]

The casting was made by M. G. Ramachandran who wanted to retain the lead character, Vallavaraiyan Vandiyadevan.[2] For the Arulmozhi Varman role he choose Gemini Ganesan whose role in Veerapandiya Kattabomman is well received.[2] For the role of Kundavai, his choice was Vyjayanthimala who was best known for her song sequel in Vanjikottai Valiban.[2] Furthermore, actress Padmini was chosen to enact the role of Vanathi for her timing utterance of dialogues.[2] The other star cast was selected later which consist of Savitri as Poonguzhali, Saroja Devi as Manimekalai and M. N. Rajam as Nandhini.[2] The male dominant characters for the villainy were set by the inclusion of O. A. K. Devar for the character of Aditya Karikalan since he had the resounding voice modulation and fiery eye contacts.[2] The celebrated villain of that time M. N. Nambiar was pitted for the character of Chinna Pazhuvettarayar and the comedy slot was allotted to T. S. Balaiah as Azhvarkadiyan with Nagaiyah playing the disabled king Sundara Cholan.

Shelved[edit]

In 1958, when acting in a stage drama in Sirkazhi, M. G. Ramachandran met with an accident. The wound took six months to heal.[3] This made many of his films to shelve such as Malai Nattu Ilavarasan, Sirikum Silai, Silambu Kugai and Thungathae Thambi Thungathae this include Ponniyin Selvan. The movie was shelved completely later after four years of the novel's rights renewal.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d A. Srivathsan (2011-10-19). "Age hardly withers charm of Ponniyin Selvan". The Hindu. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Ponniyin Selvan Movie Attempts – is it a curse or lack of purse : MGR – Gemini Ganeshan – Vyjayanthimala Bali". 600024.com. 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  3. ^ MGR's Unfinished Movies I | 29 September 2007 | Mgrroop.blogspot.com | 14-12-2011