Story Overview


The Legend of Ponnivala is an animated epic series based on an authentic South Indian legend. The original story--known in Tamil as the Annanmar Kathai or "Elder Brothers' Story"--has been told in song for centuries by bards in the Kongu region of Tamilnadu in South India. In 1965, anthropologist Dr. Brenda Beck recorded the story for the first time, and in 2007 work began on creating the unique animated series in an effort to share the story with the world.
The epic tells the tale of a family of farmers who are forced by circumstance to take control of a parcel of land under the reign of a mighty Chola King. The previous inhabitants of this land are dispossessed, and quickly become rivals to the farmer clan. Years later, a curse befalls the family and they are stricken with barrenness, but through the grace of the great god Shiva are blessed with a magical baby boy.
The young child is exiled for many long years, but eventually returns to his homeland with a new bride. Still suffering under the family curse, the couple are unable to conceive a child of their own, and so undertake a decades-long pilgrimage to seek counsel with Lord Shiva, where they plead with him to lift the family curse. This plea is granted, and the couple is blessed yet again with the birth of two sons and a daughter. The two sons are the famous Tamil heroes Ponnar and Shankar, and the daughter--their sister Tangal--grows to become a powerful seer who helps guide them on their adventures.
The two young men become the new kings of Ponnivala, and seek to avenge the wrongs of the past by making war with those who wronged their parents and grandparents. Eventually they even overthrow the Chola King, and finally engage in a great war against the rival hunter clan that occupies the mountain forest near their home. Although they are victorious, fate takes a strange twist at the end of their adventure, and the kings of Ponnivala become revered as heroes down through the ages.
The Legend of Ponnivala is a vast epic that spans three generations. It has close ties to the greatest of Indian epics, the Mahabharata, and to many of the great themes that thread through all of Hindu culture. But it is also uniquely human, providing remarkable insight into the lives of people and their gods from the distant past. It is an adventure story filled with rivalry, magic, and monsters, and speaks to people of all ages the world over. It is truly a one-of-a-kind original story that captures the imagination.