Mani Ratnam had set his eyes on Kalki Krishnamurthy's Ponniyin Selvan for decades now. It has been his long-time dream to adapt the novel on celluloid. After having the concept in mind for years, he started working on the script and decided to make it a reality by bringing big actors of South Indian film industry like Vijay and Mahesh Babu on board.

Vijay and Mahesh Babu supposed to star in Mani Ratnam's Ponniyin Selvan
Mani Ratnam's Ponniyin Selvan with Vijay and Mahesh Babu.PR Handout

Was it over Budget Issues?
Mahesh Babu had expressed his flown to Chennai to sign the project and expressed his happiness of working with Mani Ratnam. Unfortunately, the project did not take take off. Many had felt that the film was shelved because the producer were not sure whether the flick could recover its investment.

However, the project is in the news from last year again. This time, neither Vijay nor Mahesh Babu are part of the cast and it is coming up with entirely new cast. Vikram, Karthi, Jayam Ravi, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Trisha Krishnan are in the leads.

Suhasini Clarifies
Now, the director's wife Suhasini has spoken about the initial plans, while confirming that both Vijay and Mahesh Babu had signed the project on the dotted lines. She has said that the VFX and graphics were not as advanced as now which forced Mani Ratnam to drop the project, then.

Suhasini with her husband Mani Ratnam
Suhasini with her husband Mani

Back then, shooting such large-scale projects would have been daunting task, but now, technology has improved so as the market. SS Rajamouli has showcased with his Baahubali series that with content filmmakers can now reach the pan-India audience.

Is Mani Ratnam taking a break from Ponniyin Selvan?
Going by the latest reports, Mani Ratnam is planning to take a break from this mega-budget project and plans to do a quickie with Arvind Swamy in the lead. He is also prepping up to producea web series which will have nine episodes written and directed by nine different directors.