Ponniyin Selvan 1 Ending Explained: Who is ‘Oomai Rani’ and How Does the Cliffhanger Climax of Chiyaan Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan-Starrer Lead to PS2 (SPOILER ALERT)

Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan is the master director’s most ambition project, based on Kalki’s novel by the same name. Telling the story of a power struggle in Chola empire that leads to the ascension of Raja Raja 1 to be the next emperor, Ponniyin Selvan is an ensemble historical saga filled with some amazing actors in the cast. Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Jayam Ravi, Karthi, Trisha, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Sobhita Dhulipala, Prabhu, R Sarathkumar, Vikram Prabhu are just among a few actors in the ensemble cast. most of them playing real historical figures. Ponniyin Selvan 1 Movie Review: Chiyaan Vikram, Karthi, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Empower Mani Ratnam’s Most Ambitiously Crafted Yet Long-Winding Magnum Opus.

Jayam Ravi is the titular Ponniyin Selvan aka Arulmozhi Selvan aka Raja Raja 1. Chiyaan Vikram plays his elder brother, the doomed Aditya Karikalan, who is, during the movie events, the present crown prince. Prakash Raj plays their ailing father Sundara Chola, while Trisha plays their sister, Princess Kundaivi. Karthi plays Vanthiyathevan, Aditya’s trusted lieutenant and spy, who is on a messenger mission in the movie. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan plays Nandini, the scheming wife of Chola chieftain Periya Pazhuvettaraiyar, played by R Sarathkumar, who has a past with Aditya and who is also secretly in cahoots with the Pandya rebels to kill the princes. She is also the main antagonist albeit with a tragic past.

Aishwarya Lekshmi plays Poonguzhali, a boat woman who helps both Vanthiyathevan and Arulmozhi, and is in love with the latter. Jayaram plays Azhwarkadiyan, who tags along with Vanthiyathevan and calls himself Nandini’s foster brother, and is presumably working for as a spy for someone mysterious. Rahman is Madurantaka, a Chola prince and the cousin of Sundara Chola, and the son of son of Sembiyan Mahadevi (played in the movie by Jayachitra) and deceased Gandaraditya Chola, who believes he is the rightful heir to the throne.

And of course, there is this mysterious old deaf and mute woman who has saved Arulmozhi’s life quite a few times in the past, and who he calls as Oomai Rani. The reason I am singling out only these characters is to explain the mysterious tease at the end of the film, which for non-readers of Kalki’s epic set of books, might felt like quite the WTF moment.

Don’t worry, we won’t spoil the whole sequel for you, though a little history lesson in Chola empire can do that for you. In this story, we would only be exploring who Oomai Rani is and why she looks so similar to a certain other character in the movie. So first of all, MAJOR SPOILERS ahead, and secondly, let’s discuss what happened in the finale.

What Happens in the End?

Though Vanthiyathevan and Arulmozhi manage to defeat their Pandyan captors, both go down with the ship and are presumed to be dead by the others. While Arulmozhi’s family is shown grieving, Aditya rushes to Thanjavur believing that Nandini has a hand in the ‘murder’ of his younger sibling.

Vikram and Karthi in Ponniyin Selvan 1

But are Vanthiyathevan and Arulmozhi really dead? The last scene of the film shows the mysterious Oomai Rani swimming underneath the waters towards the submerged ship and that she could rescue the sunken warriors. It is then that the movie finally reveals her face, and she looks like an aged Nandini (Aishwarya Rai plays both the characters). What’s going on here?

The next section might answer that…

Who is Oomai Rani?

Oomai Rani’s real name is Mandakini Devi and she is actually the mother of Nandini, which explains their close resemblance. Mandakini, in the novel, is a tragic figure who has seen hardships and difficulties and has been kept away from her children for long.

Yes, you read it right.


Well, you see Mandakini Devi had borne twins, one of whom was Nandini, and the other was… wait for it… Madurantaka! As per the novels, Madurantaka is actually Mandakini’s son, Nandini’s twin and Sembiyan Devi’s foster son, though he is not aware of his birth truth. This is hinted quite subtly at the beginning of the film, when people assume it was Nandini in the yellow palanquin of Pazhuvettaraiyar, but it turns out to be Madurantaka.  Sravanya Pittie’s Viral Brihadisvara Temple Video Has This Interesting Chiyaan Vikram and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s Ponniyin Selvan Connection – Here’s How.

Pictorial depiction of Oomai Rani on horseback (Photo Credit: PS Blog)

So what happened was years ago, both Sembiyan Devi and Mandakini Devi were pregnant, and Sembiyan Devi gave birth to a still-born. In a moment of weakness, Sembiyan Devi swaps the still-born with Mandakini’s son, while the daughter is sent to Azhwarkadiyan’s family, leaving a poor Mandakini to think her child is dead. Which also could explain why Sembiyan Devi wasn’t enthused about Madurantaka taking the throne, as for one, he isn’t the true heir and two, someone could dig into the past.

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But wait! There’s more! Sembiyan’s stillborn kid wasn’t really dead, which was discovered by her maid Vaani Ammal, who was asked to dispose the body. Vaani Ammal raised that kid to be her own son, without her queen’s knowledge of course, and that son turned out Senthan Amuthan (Ashwin Kakumanu), the flower-seller whom Vanthiyathevan befriends in Thanjavur.

Things don’t end there. Vaani Ammal is also deaf and mute, and happens to be the twin sister of Mandakini! Poonguzhali, who later marries Senthan Amuthan, is related to both of them, which explains why she was seen riding the elephant with Oomai Rani. As for why Mandakini has a soft corner for Arulmozhi that she has been saving him since he was a baby, it could be because Mandakini was once in love with his father, Sundara Chola, though they could never reunite, a tragedy that also befell their children – Nandini and Aditya.

Aishwarya Rai in Ponniyin Selvan 1

As for who is Nandini and Madurantaka’s father, Kalki had left this as a mystery. There are some who advocate that it is Sundara Chola, though others reject this notion saying the timelines don’t really match. And then there are others who believe it is none other than Veerapandian (Nasser), the very same king who Aditya killed in front of Nandini, and who he thinks Nandini is in love with. And Kundaivi might have some inkling of Nandini’s past – she could also doubt Nandini could be her secret sibling – which is why she wanted to keep her elder brother away from Nandini, though her decision to do would have serious ramifications for her whole family.

Trisha in Ponniyin Selvan 1

I think I should stop here now. It is better to let Mani Ratnam to expand on these stories when PS2 arrives next year, and I am really intrigued to see how he tackles this Mandakini-Nandini equation in the sequel. What do you say?

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 01, 2022 12:32 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website leakherald.com).