Ponniyin Selvan (PS 1) Review: Bland Writing Makes it a Tedious Affair Not Worthy of the Big Screen

It was a tough day in the office if you are a movie reviewer in India with two huge films releasing on the same day, both with enough star power. While one is from the Hindi film industry, Vikram Vedha, the other is Ponniyin Selvan Part 1, aka PS 1, from Tamil Cinema.

PS 1 is a historical drama based on Kalki’s literary magnum opus. The film promises a grand presentation that will hook you to the screen. Does it deliver? Well, for that, you will have to read my Ponniyin Selvan honest review.

I am adding “honest” because I have seen many paint a rosy picture to attract audiences into the theater but I will not do that.

Ponniyin Selvan Part 1 (PS 1) Review Summary

I have never been so disheartened after watching a film on the big screen. Unfortunately, Ponniyin Selvan is a colossal disappointment, mainly because of poor and unsustainable writing.

There are a few glimmers of hope, but that’s about it. Keep reading my PS 1 review to uncover the pluses and minuses of the film.

Ponniyin Selvan Part 1 (PS 1) Synopsis

After Vandiyathevan is asked to deliver a message from Adithya Karikalan, the crown prince, he discovers a conspiracy by a group of chieftains to get their desired king on the throne.

Directed by Mani Ratnam, Ponniyin Selvan Part 1 stars Karthi, Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Trisha Krishnan in lead roles.

What Works for Ponniyin Selvan Part 1 (PS 1)?

Not much works in favor of this Mani Ratnam directorial. I had to think for a while before jotting down the headliners for my Ponniyin Selvan review. Here’s what I could come up with.


Created by the maestro, AR Rahman, Ponniyin Selvan’s songs are a treat. The tunes have a great rhythm, and you would consider them a saving grace in this otherwise tiresome film. Maybe, the makers should have added more songs by Rahman in Ponniyin Selvan.


Every angle of Ponniyin Selvan has perfection. People behind the camera have done a tremendous job of controlling the falling narrative with their lens. Be it the underwater scenes or miniature wars, the cinematography of PS 1 never disappoints.

Decent Performances

Well, nothing much to talk about here as well. Ponniyin Selvan has a brilliant cast, but the makers don’t give the actors the time to flourish. What is the point of having someone like Vikram in the lead when you don’t capitalize on his presence?

There was a vast scope to enhance Vikram’s character, but I was shocked to see the makers chopping his wings to keep him grounded. An actor of his caliber deserved much better.

The only silver lining in Ponniyin Selvan is Karthik Sivakumar, aka Karthi. He showers you with a multifaceted performance that goes beyond the realms of judgment. His comic timing falls right, the intensity doesn’t disappoint, and expressions consume you. Karthi is what Ponniyin Selvan should have looked like as a whole.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan casts a decent web of magic, but the overpowering artificial glow on her face distracts you a lot. She is already beautiful, and I wonder why the makers had to keep the annoying warm white lighting around her face. It also happens with Trisha.

Prakash Raj, in a cameo, does what he ought to do. Moreover, I wish Parthiban was used more in the movie. He is restricted to dialogues when he could have done much more with his expressions.

Everyone else is honest in Ponniyin Selvan. I don’t have much to write because the film didn’t give enough screen space to the major performers. Added to it is a mediocre presentation that kept me at bay throughout.

What Doesn’t Work for Ponniyin Selvan Part 1 (PS 1)?

Dull Storyline

Are you prepared to watch a big screen film with a highly complex setup? I think most of you would say yes. What if the same is combined with a lackluster plot? For almost three hours, Ponniyin Selvan simply tries to force itself on the audience.

When the theme is a historical drama, draped in action and fantasy, the story matters a lot. Most of the cinema-going audience is not interested in a history lecture; they want stimulations, which doesn’t happen with Ponniyin Selvan.

In the theater, the people around me were craving to leave, but the monetary investment didn’t allow them to. Some even utilized the air-conditioned atmosphere to take a nap.

Poor Writing

The writing is too colorless for the silver screen. Only the sarcastic part had some power, while the rest was straightforward. I am not saying you have to infuse heavy dialogues; however, you need to make it easier for the viewer to understand the concept. That’s how you will be able to cater to a diverse audience.

Ponniyin Selvan presumes that the audience already has knowledge about the topic. Probably because it is based on Kalki’s book. They should have been a little lenient with the people who haven’t read the literary work.

Half-hearted Plot

Simply put, Ponniyin Selvan’s plot is not arousing enough to keep you engrossed for three hours. It is full of uninteresting elements. The build-ups don’t work for the film, and you are left annoyed for the most part.

Sluggish Pace

Again, the speed of narration is languid for Ponniyin Selvan. It sends you into a zone of dreariness and makes you wonder if things could have been better. The pace never really takes off, and the tempo remains consistently low. Here, I am not talking about the action and chase scenes but the pace of the narration.


As I have mentioned above, three hours of Ponniyin Selvan are too much to handle. The film is too long to sustain the viewers in the cinema hall.

Final Word

You can avoid Ponniyin Selvan Part 1 and hope they don’t come up with the second one as promised. PS 1 is plagued by unexciting writing, shabby screenplay, and an uninteresting storyline. Even if there’s a PS 2, I hope Mani Sir gets it right.

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20 thoughts on “Ponniyin Selvan (PS 1) Review: Bland Writing Makes it a Tedious Affair Not Worthy of the Big Screen

  1. Who are you simply becoz you proclaim yourself to be a reviewer you can’t just write such stupid things

  2. Basically the reviewer did not understand what was going on in the movie! U don’t have to be so harsh on a well setup movie with good amount of acting performances and never seen before grandeur in Tamil Cinema! It’s worth a watch. I watched with a bunch of audience who stood and clapped at the end of the movie! Don’t criticize a movie so bad! PPL work hard to make such movies!

  3. I consider the 2 mins of reading this review to be the most wasted time of my life. Insane reviewer, stupid review. Period!

  4. Amidst all the negative reviews of this movie review, I have everything positive to say……. about the review, that is.😂

    I indeed found the movie to be absolutely dull and bland. It pained me to see this colossal opportunity get wasted in this manner. I had the same feeling after watching Thugs Of Hindustan.

    But then, I am absolutely cool if more people like it and make it a huge hit. This is not a negative comment, it’s merely what I felt.

  5. Whatever may your view of PS1 be one thing is for certain; you have no idea of good singing. I have mentioned numerous time several times; tell AR Rahman to stick to making music not singing.He must know he is no singer. You too should take note.

  6. This review is so funny. The reviewer absolutely had no clue about the storyline. People waste time pouring in so much negativity about someones hardwork in bringing age old history to life. I suggest the reviewer a lot of reading and not wasting time like this.

  7. Have you even read the book? It takes a genius to condense this epic novel into a 3hrs x 2 movie and do justice to the story! The movie is magical! What were you expecting?

  8. Stop writing reviews and please go and read the book. If not please don’t claim yourself as a reviewer

  9. Bro, do u even know the story? Get a grip on the storyline before u comment on it. Takes tremendous imagination and skill to present a 5 volume epic into a 2 part movie. This isnt ur usual Harry Potter series or trilogy movies. Read the book, bro.

  10. Review showing hatred towards South movies.
    Reviwer Don’t know anything about difference between historical film & fantasy film.

  11. I agree with the reviewer. The cinematography was good, actors did a great job, casting was great but the movie lacks a tight gripping storytelling. Poor cuts and poor narrative makes first 1.5 hrs of the movie dull and not engaging!!

  12. The reviewer is right. The monetary success of the movie is a result of all the hype it created.
    I was so perplexed that in all their promotional campaigns,they tell us NOT to compare with the book..or Bahubali.
    You title the movie Ponniyin selvan, use the connection to it EVERY possible way to create all hype but tell us not expect it to be the like the book?
    I understood why after watching the movie;1;There was nothing as visually awe inspiring as similar movies. 2; They were also unable to capture the essence of the crucial Scenes as n the Novel too! One Example;The Brilliant actor Karthi meeting Boat Girl Scene;Is NOT meant to be just Jokes & Flirtatious! He is supposed to show regret & sympathy upon learning of her deep love for the king.

    So the reviewer’s(including several others) who have highlighted the negatives are not wrong.
    Not only do I Love Movies, & have read the book, Am Tamilian who grew up hearing the greatness of the Chola empire, & believe it or not bear a family name very similar to key characters in the Novel & Movie.

    Yes there WERE some scenes that started with great promise,but were not quite complete. Cant help but wonder that those who just cant see past the hype are ardent fans of either the director or the stars.

  13. Wait, so you found PS-1 completely “bland, tedious & poorly written” (which I was originally going to respect as your personal opinion, albeit a ridiculously harsh one – since I too found the film flawed, though still worth watching), but BRAHMASTRA was a must-watch masterpiece to you🤣🤣🤣? Hope you develop the self-awareness to quit this job ASAP bro, as your taste, sensibility & biases when it comes to cinema (not to mention your gradeschool tier writing) are simply not up to the standards expected from a professional film critic.

  14. Seriously! What a stupid review. I doubt the mental capacity of the reviewer. They should have done some homework before writing it. Their dumbness to understand the dialogues and story is hilarious.
    I am sure the writer would appreciate Race 3 kind of movies. Simple enough to understand aand so fast paced

  15. Your review hits the target. What a stupid movie and horribly done. Mani Ratnam should have watched GOT to get better ideas on how to execute this kind of movie. Waste of my 3 hours. Will not be looking forward for PS2.

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