Film Review : Ponniyin Selvan 2

The most awaited sequel, Mani Ratnam's Ponnniyin Selvan 2 hit screens on April 28th.

The story takes you back in Time, tracing the young love of Aditha Karikalan ( Vikram) and Nandini ( Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), exploring  how things went wrong, which later led to a cascade of tragic events for the duo.

Arunmozhi Varman ( Jayam Ravi) deemed drowned, is back and must see to the palace intrigue which is putting his life and those of his siblings, in danger, thanks to Nandini plotting with other enemies of the Cholas.

Vanthiyadevan ( Karthi ) ever the loyalist of the Cholas, has several duties to perform. In the meanwhile,  princess Kundavai ( Trisha) also shows signs of reciprocating his attraction to her.  

Madurantakam ( Rahman) is plotting to get at the throne himself.  

The Pandiyas too want to eliminate the Chola royals with Nandini on their side.

With so much going on, how will the Cholas handle the intrigue? Who is trustworthy and who is not? What happens to Karikalan and Nandini? Who is the mysterious new entrant, Mandakini ( Aiahwarya Rai in a dual role)? How does Arunmozhi Varman save his family and Kingdom from harm? 

The lavish scale and grand mounting gets bigger this time.  Breathtaking visuals of DOP Ravi Varman be it of Nature, grand palaces, forts, jungles or water bodies, seem to transport you back to that era. His color palettes are muted yet rich. The stunning beauty of the leading ladies, is enhanced by his camerawork.

The showstealers  of PS 2 are clearly Chiyaan Vikram and Aishwarya Rai, especially in the epic confrontation scene, which keeps you hooked, with their gamut of emotions, from love, longing and regret to remorse and vengeance.

Vikram's expressions, and bearing (with his eyes conveying his every fleeting emotion) in this epic scene, convey more than what reams of dialogue would have done. Vikram proves yet again what a fine star -actor we have in our midst. Another scene which stands out is the one on the horse, when he taunts Periya Pazhavettairayar  (Sarath Kumar). Every inch a commanding figure, brave warrior and proud co-regent, Vikram pulls it off  yet again with an exemplary performance.

Not only does Aishwarya's exquisite beauty comes out in every frame, in PS 2 but  the actor has also given her career best performance in the film. Be it the scenes with Vikram, ( amongst her best), one in the boat or her conversation with Vandiyathevan when she hears, about her mother, Aishwarya Rai proves her excellence as a performer under Mani Ratnam's guidance.

The subdued yet sizzling chemistry between the regal Trisha and charmer Karthi stands out in in a very well written scene, which seems like a brilliant ode to romance.

Jayam Ravi looks every inch the righteous, kind yet in command prince, and conveys regality in his body language and expressions. Scenes in the monastary, on the elephant and in the climax are amongst those that stand out. 

Vikram Prabhu has a meaty role and he rises to the occasion superbly.

Scenes like the three royal siblings bonding together, stand out in memory. 

The Aga Naga song makes you wish for more and AR Rahman's bgm hits the perfect chords elevating the scenes effectively.

On the flip side, there are many characters introduced  which take some getting used to as many new names are being thrown in giving no time to let things sink in.

 The war scenes are nothing to write home about and seem perfunctory.

There are no hugely memorable full fedged songs as in the first part.  

The humorous repartee between Jayaram and Karthi is almost nil and  Aishwarya Lekshmi aka Poongkuzhali, one of the loved characters has nothing significant in this part and just comes in very fleetingly. Sobhita too, looks beautiful but only appears fleetingly.

PS 2, an epic tale of love, revenge,  greed and intrigue, with fantastic performances, rich visuals, memorable dialogues and Mani Ratnam's magic,  makes for a spectacular  big screen watch.

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