Ponniyin Selvan - a timeless classic adapted for the new generation

You've  seen huge international productions such as The Lion King, Chicago and Wicked on the Singapore stage but trust us when we say you've never seen anything like this before. Kalki's  massive epic Ponniyin Selvan will be staging its international debut at the Esplanade two weeks from now and preparations are currently underway to make it an unforgettable experience for all audience members. Condensing a five volume serial novel into a 3.5 hour play is no mean feat and even great filmmakers such as Mani Ratnam have been unsuccessful in adapting it for the silver screen . Magic Lantern and SS international live, however, have had several successful runs of adapting this story for theatre with Super star Rajnikanth and Ulaga Nayagan Kamal Hassan being among audiences captivated by this epic production. Having sold out shows across South India , we're extremely fortunate that they've now chosen to make their international debut in our island city.

It would do Kalki Krishnamurthy's masterpiece injustice for us to summarize it but briefly, Ponniyin Selvan deals with a power struggle in the Chola Palace involving crown prince Karikalan who aspires to succeed his ailing father, King Sundara Chozhar  , but is hindered  by the  power-driven Chancellor Periya Pazhuvettarayar and his young wife, Nandini,  who contrive to place Sundara Chozhar's cousin, Madurantakan on the Thanjavur throne. Thus follows a tale of intrigue, deception,love and treachery that make up the rest of the story. Who is Ponniyin Selvan in all this ? How does he come to play a part in the story? You'll have to watch the play to find out!

The amount of effort that has gone into this production is mind-blowing, to say the least. First staged in 1999 and having featured actors such as Pasupathy (Kannathil Muthamital, Kuselan)  as part of its stellar cast, this latest take on the story will also feature up to 15  local artistes alongside the original cast and crew consisting of dancers, actors, writers, sculptors, painters, light and set designers. Magic Lantern has gone all out to stay true to the subject material and has put its actors through parkour and silambattam lessons to prepare them for their roles. Like we mentioned before, it was no mean feat to condense this 2400 page novel into a 3.5 hour play and that monumental  task was given to E. Kumaravel (acted in Kollywood movies, Abhiyum Naanum, Gauravam ) who penned the screenplay and dialogues. With such a diverse range of talents coming together for one production, you can expect a theatre experience like no other.

This month is dedicated to celebrating the Tamil Language in Singapore and what better way to do so than to immerse yourself in a story that features a crucial part of Tamil history - the Chola empire. What better opportunity is there then for schools to create appreciation of our heritage and culture among their students ?  It'll be a treat for the senses as well as a feast for the mind.  There will also be English subtitles for the entire duration of the play so if you're a history buff or simply an arts lover , there's no reason for you to say no!  This play is truly a cultural experience not to be missed. Tickets are sold through Sistic at $96, $76, $56, $46 and $36.  Get them HERE.

Ponniyin Selvan (created by Magic Lantern)  is brought to you by Artecompass Pte Ltd and S S International live . and supported by the Tamil Language Council and Agrocorp International.


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