Ponniyin Selvan: Part I

Ponniyin Selvan: Part I ★★★★

Have been excited for Ratnam to make a historical epic ever since he spoke about making one and how he'd approach it in an interview I saw years ago. He was talking about how unlike other Indian historical epics, which focused on being as big as possible and including as much CGI as possible, he wanted to make something more grounded and captured the texture (specifically mentioning the dirt) of those times. And he comes close.

A lot more of this than I expected was shot on location and it adds a tangible feeling to the world that so many of these other films miss. There's much thought put into the geography, politics, and religion in Ratnam's recreation of ancient Tamil Nadu. Do kinda wish this was shot by pre-digital Ratnam. As beautiful as this film looks, I feel he did a better job of capturing that texture he was talking about visually in the Sundari musical number in Talapathi than he does here.

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