Ponniyin Selvan: Part 1 directed by Mani Ratnam is set to hit theatres on September 30, 2022.
Over the weekend, the main cast, as well as the film’s director and music composer AR Rahman, were spotted promoting the film in Mumbai for the Hindi audience.
During one of these events, which included Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Jayam Ravi, Karthi, Trisha, Mani Ratnam, and AR Rahman, a speech by actor Vikram amplifying Chola history for the uninitiated piqued the interest of many.
PS1 is set in the Cholas’ 9th century Dravidian empire and revolves around Raja Raja Chola I (played by Jayam Ravi) and his family.
Raja Raja Chola I is a revered Tamil King, and the novel on which PS1 is based, Kalki Krishnamurthy’s novel, is a fictional reimagining of his real-life stories and incidents.
While commenting on what makes PS1, with its obvious Tamil roots, appealing to non-Tamil audiences Vikram said, “We all talk about the pyramids and how could they have possibly built it and how did they do it so many years ago.”
“But do you know in India (where) we have so many temples (one of) the highest gopuram is in Tanjavur, which is where the Chola dynasty had happened and (pointing to Jayam Ravi) his role Raja Raja Cholan had built it.”
The top stone alone, its a single (monolithic) stone that weighs 80 tonnes. How did they do it? Do we know that? We go see the pyramids, we go see the leaning tower if pisa and someone said this very nicely.”
“We are actually appreciating a building that doesn’t stand. It’s actually falling over and (we go) wow lets take a picture, let’s take a selfie, we are getting excited. But we have temples today that stand and they didn’t use plaster. Without plaster it (the Brihadeeswara temple built by Raja Raja Cholan aka Ponniyin Selvan) has withstood six earthquakes.”
Vikram then went on to explain how the 80-ton monolithic stone was placed atop such a tall height, how the temple built without plaster withstands earthquakes even today.
Hence he calls it “the most beautiful temple in the world.”
“These are all the things we should know about. This particular King has built 5000 damns in his time and he made a water management ministry at that time (10th century). He’s had elections, he’s asked leaders to name cities after women, he’s brought free hospitals, he used to give loans to help people give dignity instead of just throwing money (all rarities during 985 CE to 1014 CE).”
The actor explained why this Chola history is not only illustrious, but also worthy of celebration and appreciation throughout India. He continued, “We talk about superpowers today but in the 9th century (via the Cholas) we had the biggest maritime navy in the world.”
“And it has travelled all the way to Bali, to Malaysia, we have sent them to China. You know what was the superpower doing then? America hadn’t been discovered by Columbus till 500 years later.”
Ponniyin Selvan 1 or PS1 will be coming to cinemas this Friday on September 30th.
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