Ponnar Sankar: History repeats
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Ponnar Sankar, a historical story of two warrior brothers Ponnar and Shankar, has been retold many times through folk ballads. Dr. M. Karunanidhi, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, writer and scholar, had based his novel Ponnar Shankar on this tale when it was brought out in 1978. And now the novel is being made into a film on an unprecedented scale, by actor-producer-director Thiagarajan, who got the CM's consent and blessings.
Thiagarajan has acted in over 150 films besides directing and producing many of them, including with his son, popular actor Prashanth in lead role. After his last release titled Shock, he is now ready with the remake of his own 1983 movie Malaiyur Mambattiyan, with Prashanth as the hero.
Adapting Ponnar Sankar was not easy as it took almost a year to get the storyboard and costume designing ready before erecting the elaborate sets. In July 2009 a grand muhurat was held. A massive set, of an ancient township with a temple, lake and palaces was created inside the Valluvar Kottam in Chennai. The invitation card for the launch itself made news as it had 3D holographic designs. The card won the SAPPI award too, beating international entries.
Ponnar Sankar, shot in two schedules, has Prashanth and Pooja Chopra in the lead along with Prakash Raj, Napoleon, Raj Kiran, Vijay Kumar, Jayaram, Vadivelu, Riyazkhan, Ponvannan and others. About 5000 junior artistes and 1000 artistes from the Chennai 'Sangamam', with extensive knowledge of South Indian traditional arts have been used for the movie as also horses, elephants, peacocks to bring in the period feel.
Prashanth plays dual roles, of Ponnar and Sankar, which has a story that spans three generations of princes and warriors. There are four major battle sequences, of which one was shot underwater. Four forts have been specially created using VFX. The sword fight sequences have been done after extensive training. Prashanth himself has supervised the VFX work, in special state-of-the-art VFX studio set up for this project.
Ponnar Shankar is produced by Thiagarajan and has cinematography by Shaji Kumar, editing by Don Max, art-direction by Muthu Raj and story and script by Dr. M. Karunanidhi himself.