In a mammoth effort, Ponniyin Selvan , the historical fiction by Kalki Krishnamurthy, has been made into a 32-hour graphic film.
In its entirety, all five volumes of the novel can be seen on the screen, thanks to seven-year toil of the Chennai-based Rewinda. The producers have even gone beyond the book and created an epilogue— Kanthaloor Salai — based on the questions raised by Kalki at the end of the novel that continue to exercise the minds of the avid readers of Ponniyin Selvan.
Even though Kalki himself had provided answers to questions such as whether Vandhiya Thevan marired Kundavai and what happened to Nandini and Azhwarkadiyan, they have been filmed as capsules.
“We started the project in 2008 and are now nearing completion. The film, in over 15 home DVDs, will be ready for release by end of April,” said G. Raamesh Saam, the CEO of the Rewinda, who has launched a separate unit Nandini Kalaikoodam in the name of one of the fascinating characters of the novel for making the film.
The trailer of the film beginning with the journey of Vandhiya Thevan along the banks of Veeranam Lake and ending with the emergence of Pazhuvettariyars’ decorated boats where flags with palm tree symbols flutter, triggers excitement in a viewer.
Mr. Saam said he had faithfully adhered to the text of Kalki even though a separate screen play had to be written to maintain a flow. “The gripping narration of Kalki also has an element of suspense as he will suddenly change the scene. We have sought to maintain a link,” he said.
The film has 47 main characters and many secondary characters and Rewinda has breathed life into them through 2D animation. “When we embarked on the project, the first question asked was whether we were going to condense the script or to retain the entire narration. We have successfully converted almost the entire book into a film,” Mr. Saam said.
Explaining the challenges of making an animated film, he said unlike a cartoon movie, an animated film demanded perfection when it came to the anatomy of the characters.
“You can take liberty with portrayal of cartoon characters, but not with characters in an animated film,” he said, noting that lack of committed technicians and the huge budgetary requirement forced him not to go for 3D animation.