Mani Ratnam’s much-awaited magnum opus Ponniyin Selvan: Part One is just a few days away from its theatrical release. The promotion of the period action drama film has been going on in full swing across the country. The film has been praised for its posters, trailers and songs by the masses.
In addition to all the love, Ponniyin Selvan: Part One recently got mired in a few controversies. The Mani Ratnam directorial has been accused of historical inconsistencies, religious misrepresentations, the mixture of history and fiction and wrong spellings of the historical figures’ names. All of these allegations were mentioned in a petition that was filed against the film in the Madras High Court.
The first issue came to light when the audience regarded Ponniyin Selvan as a historical movie while Kalki Krishnamurty’s novel is historical fiction. This suggests that the characters and events in the film can be partially, but not entirely, true. Some religious groups have raised objections about the overwhelming approach to the military conquests and territorial expansionism of the Chola Kings. Some even accused Mani Ratnam of disregarding the religiosity of the Chola dynasty. According to these groups, religious symbols like Tripundra on the forehead and Rudraksha are missing on the bodies of these Shaivaite kings in the trailer.
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At the same time, some say that Kalki’s novel also focuses on the religious nature of Cholas, which is missing in the trailer and teaser of Ponniyin Selvan: Part One. They claim that the trailer portrays Cholas more as warmongers and does away with their religious characteristics. Another point of contention is the spelling of King Rajaraja 1. In the novel, his spelling is written as Arunmozhi while it is pronounced as Arulmozhi. Mani Ratnam recently shared his take on the same. The filmmaker said that he referred to ancient inscriptions and writings for the names of characters in Ponniyin Selvan.