Saturday, October 1, 2022

Film Review: PONNIYIN SELVAN 1

Pic Courtesy: https://www.ottplay.com/

I recall the time when Ponniyin Selvan, written by Kalki (Kalki Krishnamurthi) used to be published as a weekly series in the magazine Kalki, sometime in my teens. This was the second round that the novel was being published. I tried reading it, but stopped after the first few chapters for whatever reasons. I have tried taking it up again a couple of times, but failed. 

When I heard that it was being made into a movie (2 movies), I was too damn thrilled. I thought that finally I would know what the story was all about.  

My husband and I have been following a lot of pre-release videos on YouTube and Sunnext platforms regarding Mani Ratnam’s magnum opus. What’s even better is that AR Rahman has created the music for this movie and he has outperformed himself. 

Yesterday was my birthday and I was truly excited that my husband and I could watch the film at Carnival Cinemas, Wadala.

What do I think of the movie?

POSITIVES:

1. It has a stellar star cast: Prabhu, Prakashraj, Sarathkumar, Parthiban, Jayaram, Nassar, Nizhalgal Ravi, Mohan Raman, Jayachithra, Rahman and a few others from the older generation. While the younger generation include Vikram, Karthi, Jayam Ravi, Aishwarya Rai, Trisha Krishnan, Vikram Prabhu, Aishwarya Lekshmi and more. Most importantly, each one has played his/her role to absolute perfection. I think Mr Mani Ratnam deserves a standing ovation for this, definitely.

2. Music by AR Rahman is to die for; absolutely refreshing and different from what he has delivered before now.

3. Cinematography: Aah!!!!! Amazing, Awesome, Splendid! I am simply running out of adjectives here. Fantabulous!

4. The sequences, background, scenes, dialogue: Magnificent!

5. The novel runs to about 2200 pages. Has the scriptwriter/director done justice to it? Absolutely, yes. The film is crisp, concise, and hits the nail on its head. 

6. Vikram was stupendous as Aditha Karikalan. Karthi mesmerizes the audience as Vandiyathevan. Trisha appears and behaves as the true royal she is as Kundavai. As for Aishwarya Rai, she makes for a beautiful, but wicked Nandini with a lot of plans. Jayam Ravi is excellent as Ponniyin Selvan (to become Rajaraja Cholan in the future). The rest of the cast have all done superbly well too. 

NEGATIVES:

1. The songs from the film are all out there on YouTube, while the movie does not give us everything. Disappointed? Yes, I was. Especially, when the “yele yelelo” song was cut short. The scene, portraying Aishwarya Lekshmi (what little they showed on YT) was so damn sensuous. It was really cruel of the editor to chop off the best chunk of it is what I feel.

2. As a viewer/movie buff, I need to feel connected to the characters. Usually, it’s the one character or maybe two. Rarely do I feel connected to a 3rd one. This is where I am not sure how the audience will receive this film. I wanted to connected to Vandiyathevan (Karthi), but he was there in barely 10% of the film. Vikram as both the war lord and the emotional lover was superb. But there was so little of him in the movie. I can go on and on, but well, the first part of the magnum opus ran for 2 hours 47 minutes and there is only so much one could pack in it, I presume. But that still doesn’t make me want more of it!

IN CONCLUSION:

I will not compare this film to Bahubali, but to the Harry Potter series. Let me tell you why. Bahubali was scripted to be made into a movie (or 2). Whereas, HP was written as a series of books to begin with. The smartest thing Hollywood did was to make 8 films out of the 7 books. Even then, the fans of the book series felt cheated to some extent. Despite all the opinions running amok, the films were superhits. I loved each one of them too!

This is where I see the flaw in PS 1. Five large books comprised into two films. It seems hurried, with the characters were not given enough opportunity to perform. It’s a wonder that such big names agreed to be a party to this one. But then, that’s probably the magic of Mani Ratnam.

I will go with 4 stars instead of 5 for this. Yes, I will watch it at least once more on the big screen. And will definitely catch it half a dozen more times on Amazon Prime. It offers a lot of rich research material for the historical romance story teller in me. 

VERDICT: If you are a movie buff and enjoy historical fiction, especially with most of the characters who had actually lived in India’s history, you should definitely watch this one.  



Thursday, September 29, 2022

Book Blitz: SING FOR ME (Bollywood Bros #1) by Sundari Venkatraman

    



Publisher: Flaming Sun (Indie published)
Publication Date: September 26, 2022
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Genre: Contemporary Romance

STORY-IN-BRIEF

Mili lacks self-confidence when she arrives in Mumbai to take part in a singing contest. It’s young Vivaan who goes to her rescue and they are deeply attracted to each other.

But he keeps his distance from Mili once the contest begins in earnest, to avoid her name being trashed by the paparazzi…

…only for her to be stolen from right under his nose by Ankit who goes on to marry her, breaking Vivaan’s heart in the process.

Six years later…

Mili leaves her abusive marriage, deciding to walk alone. Will Vivaan be able to win her now? And find happiness with the woman he never stopped loving? 



A preview of #SingForMe



Sundari Venkatraman is an Indie Author who has 61 books to her credit, the latest book being SING FOR ME, which is the first one in the Bollywood Bros trilogy. These books have consistently featured in the Top 100 Bestseller Lists on Amazon India, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon Australia in both romance as well as Asian Drama categories. Her latest hot romances have all been on #1 Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.

These days, the author is independently publishing her novels in paperback format under her banner Flaming Sun, printed and distributed by Notion Press. 

Even as a child, Sundari absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome and she grew up on a steady diet of fairy tales, Phantom comics and Mandrake comics. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy ending after the protagonists surmounted all unexpected obstacles.

Once she entered her teens, Sundari switched her loyalties from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to local heroes and heroines. And of course, the joy of vanquishing the ubiquitous evil villains! Her imagination soared and she happily ensconced herself in a rosy romantic cocoon for many years.

Then came the writing—a true bolt from the blue! And Sundari Venkatraman has never looked back.


You can stalk her @
      

Grab Your Copy From





Thursday, July 14, 2022

Book Blitz: CALL OF THE HEART by Sundari Venkatraman

   


Publisher: Flaming Sun (Indie published)
Publication Date: July 11, 2022
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Genre: Contemporary Romance

STORY-IN-BRIEF

Tarun Sawant, the Managing Director of the Penta Cruise Ship, is a ‘love them and leave them’ type. He simply can’t do permanent, and there’s a valid reason for it.

Myra Arora Iyer is a smart career woman who has always led a secure life in the lap of her adoring family. 

He’s deeply attracted to her, finding her irresistible. What keeps him away is her wall of innocence.

It’s love at first sight for her and she doesn’t really give a damn if it’s only a brief fling he’s ready to offer. 

He never meant to break her heart… 

Her heart goes to pieces when she says goodbye to him…

Will their paths ever cross again, once she gets off the ship? 



A preview of #Heartthrob




Sundari Venkatraman is an Indie Author who has 60 books to her credit, the latest book being CALL OF THE HEART. These books have consistently featured in the Top 100 Bestseller Lists on Amazon India, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon Australia in both romance as well as Asian Drama categories. Her latest hot romances have all been on #1 Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.

These days, the author is independently publishing her novels in paperback format under her banner Flaming Sun, printed and distributed by Notion Press. 

Even as a child, Sundari absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome and she grew up on a steady diet of fairy tales, Phantom comics and Mandrake comics. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy ending after the protagonists surmounted all unexpected obstacles.

Once she entered her teens, Sundari switched her loyalties from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to local heroes and heroines. And of course, the joy of vanquishing the ubiquitous evil villains! Her imagination soared and she happily ensconced herself in a rosy romantic cocoon for many years.

Then came the writing—a true bolt from the blue! And Sundari Venkatraman has never looked back.

Use hashtag #60at60


You can stalk her @
      

Grab Your Copy From


SUNDAY MID-DAY (10.7.2022)



Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Book Blitz: HEARTTHROB by Sundari Venkatraman

  



Publisher: Flaming Sun (Indie published)
Publication Date: April 28, 2022
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Genre: Contemporary Romance

STORY-IN-BRIEF

Krutika falls headlong in love at the tender age of thirteen when she first sets eyes on the dreamy Darsh. That he is barely sixteen seems oh-so-perfect to the barely-there teenager. She never stops loving him when her father ties the knot with his mother soon afterwards.

Darsh has always led a serious life, his responsibilities as the man of the house weighing heavily upon his young shoulders as his birth father never showed interest in his own family. Later, when his mother remarries his stepfather, he could have lightened up, but it never comes naturally to the young man.

With Krutika chasing him blatantly, Darsh really doesn’t have a place to hide, not even in Boston which is as far as he could get, away from Delhi.

How long will he be able to stall the call of destiny? And a determined young lady who has decided to make him her life partner? And what about love? Will he ever find it?

Read this story which is both young-adult and growing-up-together, all rolled up in one; but nonetheless a hot romance.


A preview of #Heartthrob





Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author with fifty+ titles to her credit, which have sold more than 4 lakh copies around the world. Her books consistently feature in the Top 100 Bestseller Lists on Amazon in both Romance and Asian Drama categories. Her latest romance novels have all been on the #1 Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.

As a child, Sundari loved to read books with ‘lived happily ever after’ endings. They were all about good triumphing over evil. As a teenager, her favourite books were romance novels from Mills & Boon. She was fascinated by them, so much so that she began to visualise the stories set in India.

Sundari was forty when she began her writing journey, completing the first draft of her first novel in thirty-five days. She has not looked back since.


You can stalk her @
      

Grab Your Copy From




Monday, February 21, 2022

Book Blitz: VIRGO'S KRUSH (Written in the Stars #4) Sundari Venkatraman

 




Publisher: Flaming Sun (Indie published)
Publication Date: February 19, 2022
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Genre: Contemporary Romance

STORY-IN-BRIEF

The gorgeous and intelligent Sanjana is a fiercely independent Virgo. Or is it only a front for the woman who wants to be loved?

As for Krish, the handsome and internationally famous photographer, is stunned to discover he is father to the two-month-old Kabir. Typically aware of his responsibilities, the Capricorn offers to marry the mother who he is deeply attracted to.

But the Virgo, already crushing on the Capricorn, wants all or nothing and refuses to settle for a loveless marriage.

He pushes, she resists...

It's like the proverbial Irresistible Force meeting the Immovable Object...

Shall the twain ever meet?


A preview of #VirgosKrush


    


Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author with fifty+ titles to her credit, which have sold more than 3.5 lakh copies around the world. Her books consistently feature in the Top 100 Bestseller Lists on Amazon in both Romance and Asian Drama categories. Her latest romance novels have all been on the #1 Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.

As a child, Sundari loved to read books with ‘lived happily ever after’ endings. They were all about good triumphing over evil. As a teenager, her favourite books were romance novels from Mills & Boon. She was fascinated by them, so much so that she began to visualise the stories set in India.

Sundari was forty when she began her writing journey, completing the first draft of her first novel in thirty-five days. She has not looked back since.


You can stalk her @
      

Grab Your Copy From