Arunmozhi Varman AKA Ponniyin Selvan In ‘PS-2,’ Explained

Now that both Ponniyin Selvan films are out, some characters can be taken apart to understand their morals and mindset when it comes to them as a person. Arunmozhi Varman, the youngest prince of the mighty Chola Emperor, is the prince no one expected to be their leader. It is always the unexpected; the person who never wanted to lead, who never wanted the power, ends up becoming the leader of the pack and doing a much better job than the person seeking power. Arunmozhi Varman turns out to be that person in the film. The prince, who was always a warrior and a diplomat of sorts, knew how to bring people to his side, making them allies of the kingdom.

Arunmozhi Varman was introduced in the second half of Ponniyin Selvan Part 1, where he is already invading Lanka’s ‘King’ and making sure to make the Buddhists of Lanka their allies. Arunmozhi is known to be quite the diplomat because he carries a stature that is considered amiable by many. The same man could become a fierce warrior on the ground because such was his upbringing in Thanjavur. Arunmozhi is the Ponniyin Selvan of this saga. The man as a young prince was saved by Mother Kaveri from drowning in the river, and thus he was given the name Ponniyin Selvan. The man is known for being not only courageous but also righteous. Ponniyin Selvan begins with him taking shelter in Lanka as instructed by his sister and father to expand the kingdom and bring in more allies. Arunmozhi comes across as a tad bit smarter than the siblings because he is aware of how to act in the presence of a potential ally. Arunmozhi Varman came into contact with Vandiyadevan, who is following the prince so that he could let him know the news from the capital, especially his sister Princess Kundavai. All she wanted was for her brother to know of bigger plots that were being hatched to dethrone their father, the current emperor.

Arunmozhi turns out to be a sensible man who understands the threat to his kingdom and realizes why it is necessary to neutralize the situation before it gets out of hand. Even though there is a threat to his life from the Pandiyans, who are seeking him as instructed by Nandini, he makes sure to face them head-on instead of staying back in the palace meant for him in Lanka. The man was brave enough to head out to learn more about the rebels and the assassins and replace himself with Vandiyadevan so that the real Arunmozhi Varman would not be detected by anyone. As Vandiyadevan is kidnapped by the Pandiyans, who think he is Ponniyin Selvan, Arunmozhi comes to rescue the man from the treacherous plot. The Pandiyans planned to kill Vandiyadevan because of his association with the Cholas after one of them recognized him not to be Arunmozhi. The prince comes to save his man, but the ship sinks in a powerful storm. Knowing Vandiyadevan is the man who was sent by Kundavai, he knows this man is an asset, and he cannot let go of him and the skills he brings. Vandiyadevan also happens to be a friend of Aditha, and that’s why it would be wrong not to save him from the assassins. As the ship goes down, many consider both of them to have sunk with it.

The news hits the capital, and they are all in deep sorrow. Ponniyin Selvan Part 2 reveals these rumors to have been false because Vandiyadevan made sure to let everyone know that Arunmozhi was indeed alive and recovering from a fever at a monastery in a border town. Arunmozhi was recovering well from his illness when he was again informed of an elaborate plan hatched by Nandini and the Pandiyans to get rid of all the mighty Chola tigers in the hope that it would send the empire into a frenzy. Arunmozhi was one of the many voices that asked his brother to avoid heading to Kadambur because he was sure there would be an attempt on his life if he planned to go there all by himself. Arunmozhi was glad to have his siblings, Aditha and Kundavai, around him after a while. It is one of the few times they get to meet discreetly, hoping no one will follow them, and get a hold of the news of Arunmozhi being alive. They would rather keep it a secret. Everyone knows Aditha would rather keep conquering and expanding the lands for his kingdom, which would make Arunmozhi the right candidate to be the next king. He knows his life is in danger all the time, and just like Kundavai, he manages to stay a few steps ahead of people who think of him as a brainless prince.

Arunmozhi is quick to know that people are being sent to the monastery itself to assassinate him. To let the monastery remain safe for himself and the monks, he lets the people of the town know of his identity. With the revelation of his identity, there is a high chance that Pandiyan infiltrators will come close to him in the hope of killing him from close quarters. The man was smart enough to understand that the assassins had walked in as monks with the intent to kill him and ruin the sanctity of a peaceful place such as a Buddhist monastery. The Buddhist monks help him get out of the monastery without getting harmed, and that’s when Vandiyadevan and Nambi learn of the mahout being the assassin. Arunmozhi understood it long before they could, and he whispered to his elephant to kill the mahout. The prince acted intelligently by walking out of the monastery unarmed because he wanted to let everyone know that he was not afraid of his subjects. The Pandiyans lost their only chance to get rid of the Chola Prince. Arunmozhi, as on reaching his palace he senses there is something off about the environment, but he is glad to be able to meet his father, the emperor. The prince killed all the assassins in the palace who attempted to kill his father. Arunmozhi was able to prove himself to be a savior as well.

With the death of his brother Aditha Kalikaran, the Rashtrakutas did not slow down and attacked the Chola Kingdom right away. Arunmozhi was the one who led the Chola army like a hero and killed the Rashtrakuta king. The same man was previously spared by Aditha. To kill the king would mean the Rashtrakutas would not harm them anymore. Arunmozhi killed one of their biggest enemies right after the Pandiyans on the day of the coronation ceremony. Arunmozhi steps away from being the king because he believes that, as far as the hierarchy goes, his father’s cousin Madhurantakan has the right to the throne. He did that because, as a member of this lineage, he did not want to see any civil war in the future. Letting his uncle take the throne allowed him to be a person his uncle could trust going forward. Madhurantakan is declared the new emperor of the kingdom, and Arunmozhi goes on to lead the naval fleet of the Chola kingdom. Arunmozhi, who was always known as Ponniyin Selvan, became years later the most revered and powerful king of the Chola dynasty, Raja Raja Chola, who was a poignant figure in ushering in a golden period of Indian history.


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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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