The conclusion to Mani Ratnam’s adaptation of Kalki Krishnamurthy’s series is a surprisingly intimate and evocative epic. Ponniyin Selvan Part II finds a cast and crew firing on all cylinders—from Rahman’s soundtrack, in which the experimental fellow travels with the traditional, and Ravi Varman’s distinct palette of deep reds and golden shafts of light to winning performances from Vikram, Karthi, and Aishwarya Rai.
That the film does justice to so many of the novel’s facets while not letting its machinations encumber a cinematic adaptation is an unquestionable achievement. Its evocative opening stretch and the stirring climactic sequence in Kadambur palace which unravels a doomed romance for the ages are particularly memorable. The Ponniyin Selvan films signal a rare occasion where a much-beloved epic finds a fitting adaptation for the big screen, and the filmmaker’s signature remains distinctly legible, despite the scale of it all.