By Jyothi Venkatesh
Mani Ratnam, the maverick filmmaker of Roja fame confesses that his ambitious film Ponniyin Selvan 1 has been a dream come true and he felt that it was a spectacular and adventurous subject even when he had read the novel in a serialized form in the popular weekly Kalki since his school days 40 years ago. He added that earlier the megastar MGR had also wanted to make it as a film but could not succeed, even Kamal Haasan and Mani Ratnam had planned to make Ponniyin Selvan as a film after their Nayagan clicked in a very big way but Mani Ratnam says in jest that it was he who was destined to make the film and all had left it to him to make after technology has vastly improved to make the making of the film credible.
Yet another deterrent for him to make the film after he had made Nayagan was the fact that the material on hand was very vast and it was not at all possible for him to condense the subject and make it into a film of three hours. Mani also added that he had picked up the right cast for his film after he had deliberated over whom to cast and says that he is very thankful to producer Subaskaran for having come forward to back his film without any question asked.
Mani reiterates that it is a difficult task for him as a maker to extract performances from the various actors who are involved in his film especially since it is an extensive subject and a lot of research had gone into the making of the film but nevertheless added that it was a task which he enjoyed taking up as a director. Mani also added that one learns everything in one’s life only from history. The novel and its position, as well as psychology, were relevant and he feels that it is as contemporary as it was when it was written 70 years ago.
While Chiyan Vikram who was earlier also a part of his film Ravanan joked seriously that all the actors decided to be part of the film not for the sake of money offered but for Mani, Mani very modestly said that he always makes it a point to approach all his actors with a request to them whether he or she will be ready to play a character that he offers them but decides to cast the actors only they have the time and also they are in sync with the characters that they are required to portray.