Starring:Kangana Ranaut, Arvind Swamy, Nassar, Bhagyashree, Samuthrakani, Madhu Bala and Others
Producers: Vishnu Vardhan Induri & Shaailesh R Singh
Co Producers: Hitesh Thakkar & Thirumal Reddy
DOP: Vishal Vittal
Music: G.V. Prakash Kumar
iQlikMovies Rating: 2.5/5
National Award winning actress Kangana Ranaut teamed up with director AL Vijay and writer KV Vijayendra Prasad for the biographical drama Thalaivi, which is based on the life of a former actress and ex-Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalitha. After multiple delays, the film had a theatrical release today. Here is the review of it.
The film starts off with the assembly scene where Jayalalitha (Kangana Ranaut) almost gets molested by the rival party MLAs. She then vows to come back to the assembly only after becoming the Chief Minister. With that, the film shifts to the flashback and traces the journey of Jayalalitha into films. After entering the film industry, she falls in love with star hero MG Rama Chandran (Aravind Swami). How their relationship progressed throughout the course, how MGR inspired Jaya to enter into politics and how Jaya rose to power despite facing all the odds after MGR's death, forms the major crux of the film.
Once again, Kangana Ranaut proved her impeccable acting prowess with this film. Keeping aside her off-screen life, she proves to be one of the most talented actresses of Indian cinema in this generation. The way she stepped in the shoes of Jayalalitha is remarkable. She doesn't imitate Jaya but brings the character to life with her own nuances.
Aravind Swami is excellent as MGR. Especially, Tamil audiences may relate to his character very well as he does all the mannerisms of the late actor in a perfect way. Bhagyashree did well as Jaya's mother. Madhoo and Samuthirakani make an impact as MGR's wife and close-aide respectively. Nasser did justice to the role of Karunanidhi. Poorna is decent as Sasikala. Rest others performed as per the role's requirements.
Director AL Vijay and writer Vijayendra Prasad focussed more on the fall and rise of Jayalalitha until she becomes the Chief Minister. The entire first half traces her film journey and the entire second half deals with her political career. Instead, they could've chosen to show right from the beginning to the end of her life, which would have made the film more emotionally connecting.
The cinematography by Vishal Vittal is amazing. He brought the era of the 1960s to the 1980s to life with his camera work. GV Prakash Kumar's songs are not up to the mark but the background score is thumping. Anthony and Ballu Saluja's editing could have been better. The production values are great. Special appreciation to the makeup and styling departments who have done their job to perfection.
Filmmakers should be very careful while handling biopics. As we are dealing with real incidents and real people, there is a chance of facing mixed opinions from various sectors of audiences. The makers of Thalaivi went off the track most of the time. During the entire first half, we wonder if it is the biopic of Jayalalitha or MGR. Such is the importance given to MGR in the initial half and Jaya's character was very limited. This makes the second half a bit disconnecting from the viewers. Even the dramatic scenes went overboard a lot of times. But the performances of the lead actors make Thalaivi bearable throughout the course. On the whole, it may work well for people who don't know anything about Jayalalitha's life but not for the ones who have seen her over the years.
Kangana and Aravind Swami
Lack of emotional depth
Final Verdict: Thalaivi only works in parts
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