Mani Ratnam explains how Ponniyin Selvan recreates the grandeur of Chola-era jewellery
Bankrolled by Madras Talkies and Lyca Productions, Ponniyin Selvan will be released in theatres on September 30
Veteran director Mani Ratnam's magnum opus Ponniyin Selvan-1 (PS-1) is all set to release worldwide on September 30. The film, based on the epic historical fiction novel penned by Kalki Krishnamoorthi with the same name, is set in the 10th century. It deals with the period just before the dawn of a golden era.
The director recently opened up about the creation of Chola era-inspired jewellery for the project. Speaking about his collaboration with jewellery design house Kishandas & Co for the film, Mani told media sources, “Kishandas is one of the best things that happened during the making of PS. Our aim was to present the film as realistically as possible. We mostly shot in real locations with minimal sets. We did not want the film to be a fantasy costume drama. Like locations and costumes, jewellery becomes a very important part of this effort of ours to make it look authentic and not false. When you watch the stills of Ponniyin Selvan 1, you find that each of the characters had to wear heavy jewellery, so when you locked your cast, we also have this thing in mind, yes, the cast must be able to carry them as elegantly as a real person from the era (sic).”
The director stated that he found Kishandas’ work ‘exquisite’, saying, “They put in as much effort into the film as we did. A lot of pieces were designed just for this film. Every detail was taken care of (sic).”
He also pointed out that the designers incorporated a lot of motifs and designs of the Chola period. Mani added that the designers were aware of the nature of each character and designed the jewellery keeping that in mind. “From the very first meeting, we knew that they cared about the story, the characters, and the period. And they seemed very happy to be a part of the film. So, it was a win-win (sic),” Mani was quoted as saying.
According to reports, to enhance the characters’ beauty, traditional jewellery such as nose pins, vankis, arm bands, vaddanams, hair pieces, and neck pieces with traditional motifs were created. Sources added that the ornaments inspired by temple jewellery of the era adorned by the queen and princesses were thussis, long and medium necklaces, maang tikas, maatha pattis, jhumkas, rings and bangles made in gold, predominantly set in Burmese rubies, some emeralds and uncut diamonds.
Waist belts, hip chains, armlets, and the typical vankis worn by today's brides were also made in various styles to complement the costumes. Sources said that each piece was created to blend well with the costume, and the hair styling. The motifs used were mostly flowers, birds, lotus, peacocks, parrots, gods, goddesses and filigree work on the jewellery which is relevant to the Chola era.
Together with Kishandas & Co, costume designer Eka Lakhani conceptualised all the characteristic looks for the leads and the entire supporting cast, which perfectly blends into the character's palettes as conceptualised by Mani Ratnam. Produced by Madras Talkies and Lyca Productions, Ponniyin Selvan will be released in theatres on September 30 in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada.