Art critique

A Sri Lankan review of Mani Ratnam’s classic – Ponniyin Selvan

By T. Ramakrishnan (The Hindu):

Chennai, Oct 12 Ponniyin Selvan: I (PS-1), the star-studded Tamil feature film based on the novel by erstwhile Tamil writer Kalki, could have helped eliminate the “prevalent anti-Chola perception among Sinhalese sections” , according to Ayathurai Santhan, a veteran bilingual Sri Lankan Tamil writer based in Jaffna.

Emphasizing that the Pandyas and the Sinhalese were traditional and close allies, Mr. Santhan said the latter sided with the former during the wars between the Pandyas and the Cholas. It was with the aim of withdrawing the support that the Sinhalese had given to the Pandya that the Cholas invaded Sri Lanka, he said.

“Although this aspect was included in the novel and the history books, it doesn’t seem to be referenced anywhere in the film,” said the writer, recipient of the Sahitya Akademi’s Premchand Fellowship for 2017, which is given to South Asians. writers.

Further commenting, he said that a Sinhalese folk song and dance could have been added to Vallavariyan, Arunmozhi and Azhwarkadian’s travels in Sri Lanka as depicted in the film. It would have enhanced the beauty, depth and scope of the film.

As PS-2 is expected to be released in a year, there is enough room to fix the flaws, said Santhan, who has received a number of awards from the Sri Lankan government and other institutions.

Although PS-1 acknowledges the author of the novel, it would have been much better to have featured the author’s photo. Besides, there is no mention of Maniam, who did illustrations when the novel was serialized in the Tamil journal “Kalki” in the 1950s and whose research and sketches must have been very useful. to the film’s art director “At least in PS-2, a fitting tribute can be paid to them,” he added.