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Mani sir's compliment is worth an Oscar: Brinda Master

Award-winning choreographer Brinda, in this interview with DT Next talks about choreographing over half a dozen songs for Mani Ratnam's Ponniyin Selvan franchise and says she was on cloud nine when the maverick filmmaker stood up to say 'fantastic' for her choreography in the tribal song.

Mani sirs compliment is worth an Oscar: Brinda Master
Award-winning dance choreographer Brinda

CHENNAI: With a month left for Mani Ratnam's Ponniyin Selvan-1 aka PS-1's release, technicians who are a part of the film are equally excited to watch the grandeur on the big screen.

The latest technician to open up on the experience of working in Ponniyin Selvan is award-winning dance choreographer Brinda. "I was apparently ready to put all my other commitments on hold for Ponniyin Selvan. I told my Hey Sinamika crew that if Mani sir calls me to work on PS songs, we will have to push the shoot of my debut directorial to later dates. However, Mani sir called me a couple of days after we wrapped up Hey Sinamika. He is my guru and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and I feel proud to be a part of a project of this scale," she begins.

So far, the makers have released two songs, Ponni Nadhi featuring Karthi as Vanthiyathevan and Chola Chola featuring Vikram as Aditya Karikalan, both choreographed by Brinda.

"The entire album of Ponniyin Selvan-1 has different genres of music. Ponni Nadhi talks about the journey of Vanthiyathevan to Chola land for the first time. As soon as I listened to AR Rahman's music, the song gave me a different high altogether. For this I had to choreograph folk dance. For this I had to go back to references from the days where I learnt folk dance. We weren't trained in filmy folk dancing. They just started opening up one by one. Mani sir gave the lead saying that this is going to be the introduction song of Vanthiyathevan and it need not be a cliched hero introduction song. So we built it around the character of Vanthiyathevan predominantly," says Brinda.

It was the Chola Chola song that took some rehearsals as it had over 200 dancers on the sets. "This wouldn't have been possible without my boys. They did their rehearsals and Vikram's energy was palpable. We had planned to film the song for a couple of days and we ended up finishing it one day," she tells us.

Brinda also opens up more about the album and reveals that she loved working on tribal fusion music, which is the famous monkey chant song that would be unveiled upon the audio launch of the film on September 6.

"This song is purely musical and is all about choreography. Mani sir gives us freedom when it comes to creativity. Though he pitches in with suggestions and brainstorms a few ideas with the team, he gives a go ahead when he thinks it's worth it. I personally loved working on the monkey chant song and upon completion, Mani sir stood up to say 'fantastic choreography'. This is equivalent to that of an Oscar," she remarks with a huge smile.

Choreographing for a film usually revolves around a couple of lead characters. The case with PS-1 was different as Brinda had the opportunity to work with different actors from different leagues. "Karthi, is a wonder to work with and is a brilliant performer as well. Jayam Ravi if I have to describe him in one word, it would be 'Azhagan'. He is apt for Raja Raja Chozhan with his charm. Vikram, again, is a class act and his energy is contagious on the sets. Trisha as Kundavai is the actor to watch out for. She has put up a brilliant performance and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, naan sollave vendam (Doesn't need my formulation). Watch out for Kamsan's song for Karthi's performance," Brinda sums up.

She recalls shooting for the film in the middle of the pandemic. "Covid was at its peak in the second wave while we were filming it in January 2021. Imagine shooting for a two-part magnum opus in 131 days. It was only possible because of Mani Ratnam sir," says the dancer.

A veteran dance choreographer with three and a half decades of experience, she says that PS-I was challenging. "Of course it was. Challenge is what keeps us going. If I believe that things are now easy and I can do them with a wink of an eye, that is it." In conclusion Brinda says that she is excited for the film's release as well. "This is a film that we should celebrate as it talks about the pride of Tamils. I can't wait to see the movie on the big screen and I am sure it has come out well."

ये भी प�ें- Research behind Ponni Nadhi, PS was immense: Ilango Krishnan

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Kaushik Rajaraman
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