Movies

MGR wanted to make ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ with Kamal Haasan and Sridevi

Kamal Haasan and Sridevi

Kamal Haasan and Sridevi  

Even as Mani Ratnam is currently shooting the movie, director Bharathiraja revealed recently that the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister wanted to produce the adaptation earlier

There have been several failed attempts to adapt Ponniyin Selvan — the five-volume historical novel written by Kalki Krishnamoorthy — into a movie. According to a report in The Hindu in 2011, it was MG Ramachandran who first announced that he would produce Ponniyin Selvan with an ensemble cast in 1958. The project, however, never took off. In the early 2000s, the Nayakan duo, Mani Ratnam and Kamal Haasan, was contemplating the idea of working together, to realise their dream of adapting the same. But their passion project was dropped, only to be revived by Mani Ratnam again in 2019, with a fresh set of actors.

With Ponniyin Selvan currently in the works, veteran filmmaker P Bharathiraja shared an interesting trivia about the movie, during the promotions of his upcoming directorial Meendum Oru Mariyathai.

Bharathiraja recalled the time when he was shooting for the song Ponmane Kobam Yeno for Oru Kaidhiyin Diary, when MGR, who was staying at Tamil Nadu House, visited him on the sets. “He came to the shooting spot and asked, ‘Who’s the master?’ I shyly said it was me. He looked at me and said, ‘I asked about dance master’,” laughed Bharathiraja, adding, “He was looking to produce a movie for his MGR Pictures and said that he wanted me to direct Ponniyin Selvan. I was shocked. I politely asked him what he meant. He said, ‘You should direct it for me and Kamal Haasan and Sridevi should act in it’.”

Bharathiraja added that the three of them gave the nod. However, MGR left to America on the sixth day after that conversation, he said. “Otherwise, I would have made Ponniyin Selvan. I remember reading it when I was in class 10. It’s an epic. I don’t know how he [Mani Ratnam] is going to do it. But Mani has the capacity to pull off.”

Produced by Madras Talkies and Lyca Productions, Ponniyin Selvan is being made as a two-part movie and boasts of names like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Vikram, Karthi, Jayam Ravi, Trisha Krishnan, Vikram Prabhu, Sarathkumar, R Parthiban and Prabhu in prominent roles.

Meanwhile, MGR’s dream project Vandhiyathevan: Ponniyin Selvan Vol. 1 is now made as an animated movie by Dhavachelvan.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 12:35:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/mgr-wanted-to-make-ponniyin-selvan-with-kamal-haasan-and-sridevi/article30673309.ece

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