Mani Ratnam's most ambitious project and Kollywood's most awaited film, Ponniyin Selvan is a two-part historical fiction based on writer Kalki Krishnamurthy's 1955 novel of the same name. The original book was a five-part series. It has a huge star cast that includes Vikram, Jayam Ravi, Karthi, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Trisha, Jayaram, Sobhita Dhulipala, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Vikram Prabhu, Ashwin Kakumanu, R. Sarathkumar, R. Parthiban, Prabhu, Prakash Raj and Rahman.

AR Rahman is the music director. The team is all set for a grand teaser launch in Thanjavur, which was the capital of the Chola dynasty, from the first week of July. The film will hit the screens on September 30.

Ponniyin Selvan
Ponniyin Selvan.PR Handout

Set in the 9th century, the film revolves around the early life of Chola Prince Arulmozhi Varman who was later known as the great Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola. Jayam Ravi will play the calm and composed Arulmozhi Varman, who goes to Srilanka for a battle fight.

Back home, the kingdom is headed by the fierce Aditya Karikalan (Arulmozhi's elder brother), played by Vikram. His exemplary battle skills and hasty temper have created many conspirators in the kingdom.

Firstlook: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan owns the show in Ponniyin Selvan: 1

But the most feared is Pazhuvoor princess Nandhini, who seduces and marries the much-older Periya Pazhuvettaraiyar (treasurer of the Cholas played by Sarathkumar) to destroy the Kingdom. The conspiracy is soon smelled by Aditya and sends his most trustable commander Vandiyathevan (played by Karthi) to get Arulmozhi from Lanka.

Vandiyathevan is in love with the witty and intelligent Chola princess Kundavi (played by Trisha). According to the buzz, Aishwarya Rai is likely to appear in dual roles, as Nandhini and as Mandakini (the deaf and mute mother of Nandhini).

Made with a whopping budget of Rs 500 crores, the expectations for the film are sky-high.