Ponniyin Selvan is a historical Tamil novel set in the Chola Kingdom of the 10th century. Written by Kalki Krishnamurthy, the 2,400-page novel chronicles the adventures of Vandiyathevan, a friend of crown prince Aditya Karikalan, and King Arulmozhivarman, in five volumes. From when it was published in 1950 to now, the novel has never ceased to captivate readers and take them on a journey back in time.
Though Ponniyin Selvan continues to mesmerise adults, not much has been done to give the same joy to children. To change this, Nila Comics has adapted the novel for children 12 and above. The first instalment of the comic books —an adaptation of the first two chapters — was released on the birth anniversary of Raja Raja Chozhan. In an interview with Scroll, Saravanaraja, Managing Director of Nila Comics, said,
“I have always liked this story very much since I was a child. We thought to ourselves, if we get into comics 2D animation production, why not try working on something very big?”
He further added,
“Though this project is aimed at introducing children to the novel, we expect that adults will actually be our main readers. The ardent lovers of Ponniyan Selvan would feel cheated if we made too many changes.”
A team of 30 animators and artists is working on the project and every two weeks, Nila Comics plans to publish one sequel. Despite the number of artists, depicting the 10-century Chola kingdom has been no easy task. Talking to The Hindu about working on the illustrations of Ponniyin Selvan, M Karthikeyan, animation director for the project, said,
“I based my illustrations of the characters on how Kalki had described them in the novel. The character descriptions helped me visualise them and I have tried to illustrate their expressions and the scenes in depth.”
So far, the only comics available in Tamil are the ones translated by Amar Chitra Katha and Lion-Muthu comics. As there is a dearth of original Tamil comics, Ponniyin Selvan will inevitably fill that space.
Soon, Nila Comics also plans to translate the classic into English.
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