He rises from the ashes to destroy his rivals once and for all! The legend of the most powerful emperor of all time to have ruled Southern India, Rajaraja The Great, dates back to the 10th century. In Ponniyin Selvan Part 1 (PS-1); Prince Arulmozhi Varman of the Chola dynasty in South India, during his conquest, was presumed to have drowned as his ship sank in the stormy sea. But in this direct sequel to PS-1, titled Ponniyin Selvan Part 2 (PS-2), Arulmozhi Varman makes his return to eradicate his rival dynasty, the Pandyas, once and for all!
Ponniyin Selvan Part 2 has been adapted from Kalki Krishnamurthy’s epic historical novel Ponniyin Selvan, and has been directed by Mani Ratnam. This periodic action-adventure drama stars Jayram Ravi in the titular role of Prince Arulmozhi Varman a.k.a Ponniyin Selvan (Son of River Ponni). The film also features South India’s dynamic actor Vikram a.k.a. Kennedy John Victor as Arulmozhi Varman’s elder brother, Aditha Karikalan. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan plays the lead antagonist Nandini, the daughter of their rival Pandya ruler Veerapandiyan. In light of the threats faced by the Chola dynasty and his elder brother’s death, Prince Arulmozhi Varman overthrew all obstacles to become the most powerful emperor to have ever ruled Southern India, Rajaraja I a.k.a Rajaraja The Great.
Ponniyin Selvan – Part 2 (PS – 2) Official Trailer (Tamil):
Ponniyin Selvan – Part 2 (PS – 2) Official Trailer (Hindi):
PS-2 has hair-raising and thrilling action and battle scenes. The scenes are thrilling but not gory or gruesome. You will surely enjoy watching this action-adventure drama. The film is loaded with thrill as the story unfolds with the adventures of Prince Arulmozhi Varman a.k.a Ponniyin Selvan (played by Jayram Ravi) and his elder brother Prince Aditha Karikalan (played by actor Vikram whose real name is Kennedy John Victor). In Ponniyin Selvan Part 1, the climax scene portrayed Arulmozhi Varman’s ship sinking where he was presumed to be dead. In Part 2, he makes his return to emerge victorious in his conquests against the Pandya Dynasty. However, in this direct sequel, his elder brother commits suicide for his love, Nandini.
Action, adventure, romance, suspense, and thrill; PS-2 is loaded with all of these. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan plays the lead antagonist Nandini in this movie and her conspirational character in the film is worth the applause. Nandini has been shown to be associated with Pandya spies who were seeking vengeance from the Cholas. Although Nandini was married, Aditha Karikalan had a long-term affinity towards her. The scene was really heart-touching where Aditha Karikalan died as he purposely pierced his own heart by placing a knife on his chest and hugging her. In other words, I would say that this is a doomed romance. As Aditha Karikalan died, Arulmozhi Varman continued his quest to become the greatest ruler of the Chola Dynasty, Rajaraja I.
Jayram Ravi plays the titular character in both PS-1 and PS-2. Arulmozhi Varman, who became the invincible emperor Rajaraja I of the powerful Chola dynasty was also known as Ponniyin Selvan translated as “Son of river Ponni”, now river Cauvery. It is believed that it was the river Ponni that had saved the little prince and thus, he got this name. Vikram a.k.a Kennedy John Victor’s role as Arulmozhi Varman’s elder brother Aditha Karikalan was short in PS-1. But in PS-2, he has a very elongated role where it can be seen how he sacrificed his life for his love Nandini, even though she was his enemy. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, as glamorous and beautiful as she always is, looked fabulous in her character of the vengeful Nandini.
I also have to praise the amazing cinematography by Ravi Varman and the editing by A. Sreekar Prasad. Oh, the visuals! You will be astounded by the majestic and royal sets in PS-2. In fact, this high-budget film did involve fascinating backgrounds and sets, and the VFX visuals were just mesmerizing. After all, when you are showing the legend of the royal Chola dynasty, such high-quality cinematography, and editing are obviously needed to make the viewing experience larger than life. Besides, PS-2 is the first South Indian film to have been released worldwide in 4DX format.
The Ponniyin Selvan film series has been adapted from Kalki Krishnamurthy’s epic historical novel by the same name. However, allegations are doing the rounds that Mani Ratnam has made some major deviations from the novel in his adapted screenplay. So here, the award-winning director doesn’t remain entirely faithful to the original story. Whether this is “good” or “bad” is not the debate. The fact is that doing so did benefit him as both PS-1 and PS-2 have turned out to be mega-hits! The audiences seem to have enjoyed the spiced-up deviated story.
The Ponniyan Selvan film series is originally in Tamil language. However, the Hindi-dubbed dialogues in PS-2 call for ultimate power! Dialogues delivered by the lead cast are exceptionally powerful as they sound like the power of royalty. Ponniyin Selvan (PS) was initially decided as a single film but later was split into two parts, PS-1 and PS-2. Both parts were shot back to back. The first part (PS-1) was released on September 30, 2022, and the second part (PS-2) was released on April 28, 2023. Both parts run for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Had the filmmakers made a single film then it would have had a combined run duration of 5 hours and 30 minutes which is huge! Thank God, they decided to split it up because watching such a lengthy film in the theater hall would have been time-consuming as well as discomforting.
Vikram’s role in PS-1 as Aditha Karikalan was brief but in PS -2, he has a very prominent role; perhaps even more prominent than the lead titular character Arulmozhi Varman a.k.a Ponniyin Selvan. Jayram Ravi as Arulmozhi Varman was enduring and that’s the reason why audiences love his acting. The story of Ponniyin Selvan is immense and is loaded with twists and turns with uncountable characters at every instance. If I try to cover the entire story, then probably I will have to rewrite Kalika Krishnamurthy’s historical novel instead of a blog. Historical fiction or not, whatever you may call it, the legend of the great emperor and conqueror Arulmozhi Varman a.k.a Rajaraja I is true and he was one of the greatest Indian rulers of all time.
Ponniyin Selvan Part 2: Behind The Scenes
- Acting - 9/109/10
- Cinematography/Visual Effects - 9.5/109.5/10
- Plot/Screenplay - 9/109/10
- Setting/Theme - 9/109/10
- Watchability - 9.5/109.5/10
- Rewatchability - 8/108/10