Some time back, it was reported in these columns that ace director Maniratnam has abandoned the making of the magnum opus ‘Ponniyin Selvan’, a celluloid adaptation of the epic novel of the same name penned by the late and legendary author Kalki. Though Mani did some preparatory work including locating the ideal locations for the preliminary round of shooting, he finally decided against going ahead with the making of the film.
The film, which was to star Vijay, Arya, Tollywood’s Mahesh Babu, Anushka and Priyanka Chopra, was also to star our own Sathyaraj in a pivotal role of that of Periya Pazhuvettaraiyar (those who have had the fortune to read the novel know how important this particular character is!). The budget of the film was estimated to go somewhere between 100-150 crores, if not more, as the period-drama involved great levels of planning and shooting in palaces and places of historical importance.
Rumours apart, Mani himself has confirmed that he has finally ‘abandoned’ the film. The ace director has said that the advance money paid to some actors and actresses has been ‘taken back’ and that he was ‘abandoning’ the film for now.
The practical difficulties in mustering the huge number of side artistes (‘extras’), the budget which might over-shoot the original estimate at any time, inability to find the right financiers and finally the unstable prospect of not finding the right takers for releasing and distributing the film, are said to be some of the factors which weighed in Mani taking the decision which he eventually took.
Mani is said to be working on a romantic-action film with Rahman’s music to boost it up!