Ponnar Sankar is the legendary historical story of two warrior brothers who lived many centuries ago, their story is what history is made of and they are worshipped as “kaval deivams” in the villages even today. The brother’s princely story has been recounted through the countless folk ballads and is renowned for their bravery, strength of character and valor.
On hearing of this valorous tale, a young man adapted a story based on this in 1978, which became a very valuable and acclaimed work of literature and art. The movie Ponnar Shankar is based on the book titled "Ponnar Sankar”and the illustrious author is none other than our Chief minister of Tamilnadu M. Karunanidhi
Amongst his huge depository of novels and books that M.Karunanidhi has written over the years, Ponnar Sankar is known to be one of his finest and is very dear to his heart. Many eminent people have tried to make this novel into a movie but have not succeeded till now, as Kalaigner was very particular about who would do justice to his story on celluloid.
But when Thiagarajan approached M.Karunanidhi with his vision to do the movie, he was impressed and gave his consent for the book to be made into a Movie on an unprecedented scale, as the script deserves.
Thiagarajan, an eminent actor, producer and director has now taken up the Himalayan task of bringing to life this mammoth Epic. He left his lucrative business in garment exports and enjoyed a long successful spell as a hero in the tamil movies and has acted more than 150 films in all Indian languages. It’s only when his son, Prashanth, debuted in the tamil industry that Thiagarajan decided to don character roles instead and went on to produce and direct movies for his son. His last released directorial venture "Shock" was an experimental horror movie, that went on to be a major blockbuster hit and became a trend setter for the amazing visual techniques that was adapted in the movie, it was well appreciated by the critics and masses alike.
He has just finished producing and directing his 1983 mega hit "Malaiyur Mambattiyan" with his son Prashanth in the lead, it must be said that it's the first time ever that the father directs the son in the same role that he enacted 25 years ago, the music scored by Thaman has been garnering great reviews and the movie, “Mambattiyan” is set to release shortly
The pre production for this epic movie” Ponnar Sankar”, took almost one whole year to visualize, ie the story boarding for the elaborate battle sequences, costumedesigns and colossal sets that needed to be built on locales outside of the studio.
The grand muhurat of this movie took place on the 12th July 2009, at Valluvar kottam, for which the Chief minister had graciously consented to inaugurate and switched on the camera to commence the shooting.
For the very first time a massive ancient township film set with its own temple, lake and palaces had been created inside Valluvar Kottam (Chennai) for this movie. The massive sets have generated thousands of jobs for artisans and workmen to showcase their skills.
The invitation card for the movie launch was specially created, with 3D holographic designs to showcase the quality and grandeur of the movie. And as expected the invitation card won global acclaim beating several international entries to win the SAPPI award (the Oscar’s of the printing & advertisement world)
The first stint of shooting was filmed with a huge star cast which comprises of National Award winner Prakash raj, central minister Napoleon, Raj Kiran, Vijay Kumar, Vadivelu, Riyazkhan, Ponvannan, Captain Raj, Kotta Srinivasa Rao, Sneha, Kushboo, Seetha, lakshmi and launching new face Pooja Miss. India 2009 as the heroine. An excellent cast and crew who individually are well respected in their fields support the movie.
About 5000 junior artists and 1000 various artists from the Chennai sangamam, with knowledge of south Indian traditional arts are being employed in this film shooting. Around 150 horses', elephants & peacocks, have also been brought to give an authentic feel of that time period of ancient south India.
The movie script spans across 3 generations of princes and warriors and has 4 major battle sequences, of which one has to be shot underwater. The movie has a total of 4 forts to be specially created and built using VFX to create the panoramic visual grandeur of long lost days. For the first time, special software’s programs have been written to create the extraordinary visual effects for this movie.
The movie is supported by an excellent cast and crew members, who individually are well respected in their fields.
After Jeans (with Aiswariya Rai) Prashanth is again donning a dual role as Ponnar and Sankar in this brilliantly scripted film. The swordfight sequences and battle scenes has been grueling on the cast members who have to train extensively before they went for the actual shoot. And with Prashanth playing a dual role, the scenes are complicated as graphics require the exact placement of the characters on the green matt in the field the VFX.
The entire Visual FX for this movie is being supervised by Prashanth, who setup his own state of the art Visual effect studio just for this project.
The second stint of shooting, namely a gigantic battle & action sequences has been just completed, with over 30,000 extras as soldiers and around 3000 horses were used, the largest till date in Indian movie industry. Not to mention the 15 camera setups and also the latest in lighting technology was used to film this sequence. It was indeed a logistic nightmare as to board & lodge these many people. It was a like moving an army on its own.