Mani Ratnam amps down the aural drama and amps up the visual drama. Even by this director’s legendary standards, the staging is something else.
Mani Ratnam has credited SS Rajamouli several times as the reason he was able to finally make Ponniyin Selvan: the mega-success of the Bahubali films made it possible for other creators to think of stories in terms of two-parters. And, together, what these two filmmakers have demonstrated is that these two-part, larger-than-life stories can exist at either end of the cinematic spectrum. They can be thunder. They can also be a whisper. There are hardly any raised voices in Ponniyin Selvan 2, and save for a couple of action/battle scenes, this may be the quietest epic I’ve seen. The zingers are quiet, like Nandini’s whiplash-retort to Ravidasan that he can never hope to accomplish something that she herself is unable to. The confrontations are quiet, like when Aditha Karikalan keeps mocking Periya Pazhuvettarayar as “thatha” and “paatta“, as if to rub in the age difference between the senior man and his wife, Nandini.
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