Mani Ratnam, the maestro who is bringing his epic film ‘Ponniyin Selvan: I’ to the theatres this week, had earlier attempted to adapt Kalki Krishnamurthy’s eponymous novel into a film not once, but twice.
The first time, it was in the 1990s, and the second time, in the 2010s, but somehow neither effort materialised into a film. The filmmaker is happy that the film wasn’t made back then.
In a conversation, Ratnam said, “In a way, I am glad this film didn’t materialise back then because I feel today, we are far more equipped to handle such a subject on screen given the technological advances. This film is made for the big screen as it has an expansive set design, action, costumes, photography and pretty much everything.”
‘Ponniyin Selvan’ is “one of the earliest books” that the auteur had read even before he thought of becoming a filmmaker.
When asked what intrigued him to adapt this story for the screen and the reason behind his perseverance for this “dream project”, he noted: “The film’s story is a historical fiction and deals with the Chola period. It is told in a very adventurous way, quite in the space of Alexandre Dumas [the French author of ‘The Three Musketeers’]. Kalki’s writing in the novel is very vivid and that shaped my vision to tell this story on the big screen.”