Why Mani Ratnam Refused Rajinikanth the Role He Asked For in ‘Ponniyin Selvan’

Ponniyin Selvan is directed by Mani Ratnam and will release in theatres on 30 September.

South Cinema
2 min read
Hindi Female

The grand trailer launch event of Mani Ratnam's Ponniyin Selvan was held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on 6 September. The film is based on Kalki Krishnamurthy’s popular novel on the life of Raja Raja Chozhan.

The event was attended by stalwarts of the film industry like Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan.

“Two youngsters dreamt of making Ponniyin Selvan years ago, leaning on a bike in Alwarpet. While one moved on to do other things, the other kept trying and finally turned it into a reality. He is none other than Mani Ratnam”, Kamal Haasan recounted the conversation he had with the director.

Haasan also opened up about the competition between him and Rajinikanth for the role of Vanthiyathevan. "Sivaji Ganesan told me to cast Rajini as Vanthiyathevan. I told him that I wanted to play it, but he insisted that I played Arun Mozhi Varman instead", he added.

“I believe our identities will change after Ponniyin Selvan. I have to thank Kamal Sir for leaving Vanthiyathevan's role to me”, said actor Karthi.


At the trailer launch, Rajinikanth expressed that he used to wonder why this novel was never turned into a film.

"I wanted to be a part of 'Ponniyin Selvan', so I asked Mani sir if I can play 'Periya Pazhuvettaraiyar'. He declined saying that my fans would not be happy. He told me, 'I will not exploit you'. Anyone else would have accepted my proposal, but Mani Ratnam denied it and that is what makes him unique".
Rajinikanth, Actor
Ponniyin Selvan is directed by Mani Ratnam and will release in theatres on 30 September.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Ponniyin Selvan trailer launch.

(Photo courtesy: Twitter)

Rajinikanth further said that Nandhini from Ponniyin Selvan is the inspiration behind Ramya Krishnan's character Neelambari in his film Padayappa.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who plays Nandhini, said at the event, "Mani [Ratnam] is my guru. I started my journey in cinema with Iruvar. Thank you for taking me as your student. The experience shooting for the film has been precious and incredible. Working with Mani Ratnam made us perform to the best of our abilities. This will be forever memorable".

Vikram who plays Aditha Karikalan in PS1, stated how the cast worked with a collective vision to make this project successful.

Ponniyin Selvan is directed by Mani Ratnam and will release in theatres on 30 September.

A still from Ponniyin Selvan

Photo courtesy: Twitter

Produced by Madras Talkies in association with Lyca Productions, Ponniyin Selvan: Part One will be the first of a two-part series. The screenplay is written by Mani Ratnam, Jeyamohan and Kumaravel. It is set to release in theaters on 30 September.

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Topics:  Mani Ratnam   Entertainment   Rajinikanth 

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