Mani Ratnam’s larger-than-life epic recreation of Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan is concluding. Part one of the two-part movie was received with great admiration for sticking to the plot points in the book. Though I have not read the book myself, the movie as a screenplay did justice to all the characters and kept me hooked till the end. With Part 2 just a few days away from release, it is interesting to see all the characters coming back to life in the grandest manner possible. Mani Ratnam’s eye for detail must be acknowledged here, and the first movie left quite an impact on me as a cinephile and a sucker for historical fiction. It ended at a point where the film created a genuine buzz among the filmgoers about what would happen in the second installment. The wait is about to end, but before that, let us talk about the possibilities of scenarios that might happen in “Ponniyin Selvan 2.”
It is a known fact for those who watched the first movie that it ended with a big question: did Arunmozhi Varman and Vandiyadevan drown in the ship that sank? The ship was battered by a storm, and it went down as Arunmozhi risked his life to save Vandiyadevan. The news that reaches the capital is that the prince has indeed died, and there is nothing else to wait for. Adithya Karikalan is aware of who might be behind this plan to get rid of his younger brother, and he is all ready to face the woman he loves and dreads at the same time. What a dilemma the crown prince is in. Will he be able to face the woman he always loved, or will the hatred push him to the limit of getting rid of her for plotting to kill his brother? An eye for an eye, right? With multiple plots being hatched against Emperor Sundara Cholan as well, there must be another plot being hatched to get rid of the traitors who are not just planning to install a dummy emperor, but their hunger for power will surely lead to the end of the glorious empire. Who will be the kingmaker here?
The movie begins with the sad news that has engulfed the capital. With one of the crown princes out of the way, it would become easy for Nandini to maneuver her husband and push him to make Madhurantakan the next in line for the rulership of the Chola Empire. It would be interesting to see what politics would go on between Nandini and other ministers of the court. Periya Pazhuvettarayar might listen to his wife’s game plan, but why would other ministers listen to her? Nandini will find a way to gain enough influence to influence a bunch of people who are loyal to her husband. There is a chance of the emperor himself passing away during this time, maybe due to grief, and this will give Periya Pazhuvettarayar a chance to show his support to Madhurantakan and not Adithya Karikalan.
Nandini will be the brain behind all this plotting, which will make sure the Chola Dynasty is erased from history, and she can install a Pandya king to exact revenge for the killing of Veerapandyan. Kundavai will come across as the smarter of the lot and someone who would not make any decisions based on emotions, unlike what women are known for. Kundavai would travel to Lanka to find out more about her brother’s whereabouts. She might hear a rumor about him surviving, and an elderly lady might have risked her life to save him. Kundavai would discreetly reach Lanka to confirm with her own eyes that her brother and Vandiyadevan were still alive. Arunmozhi would be the first to let her know about the woman who looks like Nandini, whom he managed to rescue, but both he and Kundavai are perplexed to see her. A woman who looks just like Nandini must be her mother, and there would be no other explanation for that. It would be interesting to know who Nandini’s father is and why Nandini’s mother saved the Chola Emperor’s son. There is an inkling that the emperor might be Nandini’s father, and Nandini his illegitimate daughter. The information, which probably only Kundavai might gather, will try her level best to keep Adithyan and Nandini away, hoping that something will transpire between the two. Game of Thrones style storytelling, much? Ponniyin Selvan’s book came out way before George R.R. Martin’s book, so it would be PS by Kalki that attempted to do something different by keeping history as a backdrop. I’m so happy to know this.
Nandini is one of the best femme fatale characters written on screen in a while, and her power comes out in the form of her beauty. She uses her beauty to put her plan into motion. At some point, her husband would be made aware of her bigger plans, which would probably make him question his standing as a rule-maker. Her loyalty will make him change his stance, and he will get on Adithyan Karikalan’s side of the war. A civil war is imminent, and people from the same family will be fighting for the throne but backed by different forces. Something that transpired in the Mahabharata. Nandini will get rid of her biggest nemesis, Adithyan, whose death she has been planning for years, and Adhithyan will surely fall victim to her beauty and charm. So much for a man who always thinks logically, especially a crown prince; he would die for being too attached to the idea of Nandini being his wife and never getting to marry her.
It is a known fact that the end goal of the film is to place Arunmozhi on the throne and instate him as the emperor. With the whole process and the vicious politics to get to a major seat of power, it will be interesting to watch who will survive this Game of Thrones and, ultimately, who will have to sacrifice themselves for the greater good.