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Mani Ratnam is a brand that has a cult following. His filmmaking and storytelling has a separate fanbase. He is one of the very few South Indian directors who took the nation by storm in the 80s and ’90s with his game-changing movies like ‘Nayagan’, ‘Roja’, ‘Bombay’, ‘Dil Se’ and others. He is known for his visual brilliance and layered characters. But the veteran is struggling to find a hit in last decade or so.
Films like ‘Raavan’, ‘Kadali’, ‘Cheliya’ and others were huge failures. Though ‘Ok Bangaram’ and ‘Nawab’ did decently, they were not up to the standards which Mani Ratnam set for himself. At this crucial juncture, he announced his dream project ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ and decided to make it in two parts. The first part came out on 30th September after passing through a lot of hurdles.
It was clear that the Telugu audience did not like this film. ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ was a novel that was published as a serial for five years back in the day. There are over 50 characters in this novel and Mani Ratnam had to trim down a lot of them in order to make it presentable for a movie.
There are reports that the team sold two parts at the same time. The digital rights and OTT rights were sold for more than 100 crores but we all know the star cast involved and the money which went into the film’s making. The budget was quite high but the collections in Tamil Nadu are very good. The buzz is not that great in other parts of the country.
The Hindi version fetched 7.5 crores at the end of the first weekend and Mani Ratnam’s films usually do more than that. But the heavy Tamil flavor and low promotions did not help the film’s box-office prospects. How can the Northerners understand what the Telugu audience failed to get? The makers claim that they earned a gross of over 200 crores. Though Mani Ratnam couldn’t meet the expectations, he managed to restore his pride and one can predict that more people would find it interesting when they watch it on the OTT platform as they can playback the scenes till they understand the intricacies.