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Updated January 3rd, 2024 at 18:28 IST

Ilaiyaraaja says Mani Ratnam's Ponniyin Selvan did not feel like the novel at all: Kalki’s words...

Mani Ratnam and Ilaiyaraja have collaborated on many films in the 80s and 90s. They've delivered popular soundtracks for movies like Mouna Raagam and Thalapath.

Ilaiyaraja; Ponniyin Selvan
Ilaiyaraja; Ponniyin Selvan | Image:IMDb
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Mani Ratnam’s 2-part magnum opus Ponniyin Selvan, which released over a span of 8 months, was received extremely well both by critics and audience. Both the films earned 488 crore and 344 crore at the global box office, respectively. Now, legendary music composer Ilaiyaraaja has expressed his thoughts on Mani Ratnam’s take on the epic.

A still from Ponniyin Selvan | Image: IMDb

It didn’t feel like the novel at all: Ilaiyaraaja about Ponniyin Selvan

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Ilaiyaraaja was present as one of the chief guests at late artist and illustrator Maniam’s art exhibition in Chennai. Maniam’s illustrations based on Kalki’s works were published over a period of 7 years in Kalki magazine, and it had earned a cult status of their own. Speaking about Maniam’s work and Mani Ratnam’s cinematic interpretation of the same, Ilaiyaraja stated, “Kalki’s words and his writings made me fly in my imagination. It was his and Maniam’s illustrations of Kundhavai and Vandhiyathevan that made me dream about the world. And it was not the films. It didn’t feel like the novel at all. Don’t think I am finding faults with it. I have been affected by the book that much. I don’t know how many times I have read the series.”

Ponniyin Selvan is based on the epic novel of the same title penned by author Kalki. The novel has an iconic status particular in Tamil Nadu.

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BTS of Ponniyin Selvan | Image: IMDb

The legendary composer also admired how Ponniyin Selvan was preserved

Furthermore, Ilaiyaraaja admired how the Ponniyin Selvan text has been carefully preserved over all these years. As a reference point, Ilaiyaraaja spoke about his struggle to trace his own musical works when he attempted to archive them. He added, “When I wanted to compile all my notes from the past 46 years since Annakili (1976) I couldn’t find a lot of them. Many others are worn out. Many are missing. When I am not able to save the works for just 46 years, the publication has protected Ponniyin Selvan for more than seventy years.” 

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Ilaiyaraaja, who is currently busy working on Viduthalai 2, has been a frequent collaborator with Mani Ratnam during the latter’s early years of filmmaking. The two worked together on many movies like Mouna Raagam, Agni Natchathiram, Anjali and Thalapathi which had superhit soundtracks. 

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Published January 3rd, 2024 at 18:28 IST

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