Kalki's Ponniyin Selvan

I came to know about this book for the first time when a rumor came out that Maniratnam is planning to make Ponniyin Selvan novel into a movie. The hype created by Sujatha in his weekly blog Katrathum Petradhum about the movie, its screenplay, its dream cast and crew, increased my level of curiosity to read this book further more. But then I haven't started to read novels or any other books other than academics.

Recently one of my friend said that his father is reading the novel for the Tenth time. In recently held Chennai Book Fair, most of the stalls had all volumes of this book on display and some even had announced discount on its price. Whenever I go to landmark or any other book store I will search for this book, think for a while and leave without buying it.

I was always little hesitant to buy it mainly because of the time period in which the story is set and also it was originally written (half a century before) as it may be too hard for me to read the ancient literary Tamil. I have also come across many English translations of the novel but the number of pages is another fear factor for a snail paced reader like me. Also I wasn't sure whether the translation would have the same impact as that of the Tamil version.

My mom used to read lot of Tamil novels. I thought she might get me "Ponniyin Selvan" from the library. When I went to my home town last week, I casually asked her about the book and to my surprise she said, she owns a copy of all volumes of "Ponniyin Selvan". Also she has recently completed reading it for the third time. She also owns other novels of Kalki like "Alaiyosai", "Sivagamiyin Sabatham" and "Parthiban Kanavu".

I happily got the book from my mom and it is there in my book shelf now. I think I am totally occupied for next two or three months with it. I am planning to start reading it after finishing "Blink: Power of Thinking without Thinking" which I am currently reading. Let me see why there are so many crazy fans all over the world for this novel.


Srini M Srini said...

Hi Suresh...interesting post. Well, i wanna read Ponniyin Sevan too, but i hardly read tamil. So...

Blink is a okay book, the first few pages is enough to get u the glimpse of the book. Better one is The Tipping Cup, frm the same author.

Suresh Kumar said...

About blink, i have read only 100 pages so far. Though the things are getting repetitive, i think it done to register some facts in readers mind which otherwise is little complex to understand quickly.

Anonymous said...


You probably heard enough about the book, so I won't go into contents or just how great it is...

Even I only learned to read Tamil when I was 14, and it was a long process.

At about 18, I read Ponniyin Selvan. It is not old tamizh at all. My only other source of Tamil reading was Ananda vikatan and Kumudam. And I was able to enjoy the book very much. SO I am sure that there won't be a problem with understanding. The only problem is, once you get into the book, it is hard to put it down. I was crawling around and hiding everywhere with the book so that no one would disturb me and ask me to run errands. Of course, I am a book addict though:-)

Enjoy. I personally prefer Ponniyin Selvan to all Kalki's other books. I wish I were able to own the famed editions with pictures. My edition is the normal kind.