PS 2 Review | Ponniyin Selvan 2 Review: PS2 Is A Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Show | Ponniyin Selvan: Part 2 Movie Review

Ponniyin Selvan: Part 2 Movie Summary : A conspiracy is being hatched to kill the king and two princes of the Chola dynasty on the same day. Will the Cholas escape the wrath of the Pandiya rebels, led by the vengeful Nandini?

Ponniyin Selvan: Part 2 Movie Review: After setting the plot in motion in the first part with Ponniyin Selvan: Part 2, Mani Ratnam dives into the heart of the novel – the unfortunate romance between Crown Prince Aditha Karikalan (Vikram) and Nandini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan). PS2 begins with a prologue that captures the romance between these two characters when they were young, and without saying much in the way of dialogues, the director shows us the blossoming of love between a prince and an orphan girl, and leaves heartache in the wake of them being torn apart by forces beyond their control.

In fact, until the climax, it is the doomed romance that sustains the tension in this story and drives the characters to make decisions with far-reaching implications. Even when he realizes that accepting an invitation to the Kadambur palace – a place where his own chieftains conspired against him – may be a folly, Karikalan is unable to turn it down. For her sister, Princess Kundavai (Trisha), the mystery surrounding Nandini’s lineage drives her actions. and the young prince Arulmozhi Varman (Jayam Ravi) exterminates the Pandiya rebels, who have sworn to kill Karikalan, whose romance resulted in the murder of their king.

Till the intermission, the film continues with a breezy story similar to what we got in the latter half of the first film, which progresses like a truce. We witness the audacious attempts to murder Arulmozhi, who is recovering from illness in a monastery, and Vandhiyathevan’s (Karthi) efforts to thwart them. We get a sizzling romantic scene between Vandhiyathevan and Kundhavai, a genuinely heartwarming moment of siblings’ reunion, and a thrilling pre-interval action sequence (with a peppy AR Rahman background score) that creates spatial clarity. Keeping up is a masterclass in shooting chaos.

The latter is more concerned with Karikalan’s fate, and Mani Ratnam fills the much-awaited moment between Karikalan and Nandini with so much dread and pain that we forget the rest of the characters even for a while. Vikram and Aishwarya are very good in these parts, giving performances that are very naked and deeply heartfelt, shot largely in close-ups by cinematographer Ravi Varman, and add to their characters’ vulnerability.

In fairness, the climactic portions are overpowered by this emotional high, as events that happen after a major character’s death can’t match the mystery and drama the story has up to then. And given the grim nature of the proceedings, they have a somber tone – something we don’t associate with epics of the period, especially in the post-Baahubali era. Unlike those films, which were about larger-than-life, fictional heroes, Mani Ratnam is closer in spirit to Kalki’s novels, a fictionalized account of historical personalities, largely focused on interpersonal drama. The action may take place in a castle, but the grandeur comes primarily from the characters’ feelings within its walls. Mani Ratnam seems to realize this too, and decides to create a fight scene at the end to give the audience a quick adrenaline rush, but the part lacks strong emotional grounding (and stunning visual effects). Which really leaves us with a high.

But the climax is a more overwhelming moment. Even in Kalki’s book, we get a very low-key ending, with plenty of twists, but here, while the writers (Mani Ratnam, Jayamohan and Kumaravel) sensibly give us a more acceptable twist, they pack a punch. What fails to pack is the speech that Arulmozhi makes at the end making the supreme sacrifice that makes him the titular hero of this massive epic.