Thalaivii Movie Review Rating: 2.5 out of 5.0 stars
Star cast: Kangana RanautArvind SwamiNassarBhagyashreeRaj ArjunPoorna
Director: AL Vijay
Duration: 153 minutes
What is good: A thriving acting department
What’s bad: A thriving acting department stifled by the limitations of what’s shown and what’s skipped
loo break: It takes 150 minutes and if you do it quickly you will be back in the same Rajat Arora dialogue you left
To watch or not?: Want to see Kangana Ranaut’s good acting? Look at this. Want to see Kangana Ranaut’s good acting backed up by a good story? Watch Queen!
The story chronicles the journey of J. Jayalalithaa (played by Kangana Ranaut), from making a mark as a no-nonsense actress to being the most important person to millions across her state. Makers hint that they’re taking a controversial route when they start the film with the scene where Jayalalithaa (known affectionately to many as Amma) is assaulted in parliament, but it’s all been a ‘ruko zara, sabar karo’ moment since then.
It all continues with the transformation of Jayalalithaa into Amma. Despite the ‘I hate politics’ stance, Jaya does it only to support her real-life hero MG Ramachandran aka MGR (Arvind Swami). The remaining story is all about her rise and shine as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. How does all this reflect her relationship with MGR? Will they make it together & many more such questions will be answered in the second half.
Thalaivii Movie Review: Script Analysis
I wish one day I woke up to Bollywood and finally made some worthy biopics hence the review ends here because I’m sleeping because today isn’t that day. Such an epic tale of a legendary person is once again narrowed down into a predictable puzzle made by some extremely useful pieces.
The more you look at what is served to you by the story of KV Vijayendra Prasad, the more you think about the things that never make it to your plate. It ends at a point that narrows the story down to a plethora of interesting things, such as her much-controversial jail time, her real rise and fall in the world of politics, her affiliation with Sasikala, opposite MGR’s widow VN Janaki.
Even in the current version, Thalaivii is a compilation of some heroic sequences, but they are not enough to hold your intrigue. Vishal Vittal’s camera work reinforces KV Vijayendra Prasad’s already designed grandiose scenario. Did this movie even need Rajat Arora’s deafening dialogue? I thought Anthony & Ballu Saluja’s montage would take most of the blame for the mess, but Arora’s dialogues took me back to ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai’, the sequel and trust me, it’s not a good place to be.
The first half is dedicated to the actress in Jayalalithaa, the second is for the politician in her, but none of them justify the 150-minute duration. I had no problem with the length (she said) being a “journey” story, the problem starts when you start expecting it to not follow the same route of B-town biopics.
Thalaivii Movie Review: Star Performance
It shows why Kangana Ranaut was an ultimate pick for this movie when certain scenes force you to believe it’s her biopic. She’s so natural on screen, you won’t believe it when she’s playing another character. A commendable change in accents, appearance, and physical features of a single character makes this a Kan(Gana) show.
Arvind Swami as MGR is given the most difficult task of bottling the charm, the aura of yet another legendary performer in the presence of a person on whom the film is based. Although he is very dependent on Jayalalithaa’s character, Arvind helps MGR’s character finds his own way. Nassar as Karunanidhi is a perfect casting decision but materially wasted.
Bhagyashree looks beautiful as Jayalalithaa’s mother nails her ‘tell me you are an actress without telling me you are an actress’. Raj Arjun, Secret Superstar’s surprise package still holds the secret to standing out among brilliant performances. He stars as MGR’s ‘cold lieutenant’ RM Veerappan. Poorna as Sasikala doesn’t get space due to her limited on-screen presence.
(Photo credits – still)
Thalaivii Movie Review: Direction, Music
AL Vijay jumps into a dangerous space with this one and gives a taste of ‘what it could have been’ with a stronger story/dialogues/screenplay. The quality of a ‘great’ film is maintained all the time thanks to Vijay’s smooth directing.
None of GV Prakash Kumar’s songs make you want to listen to them a second time outside of the movie. He earns all the points in the ‘background score’ section which delivers some polished pieces.
Thalaivii Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Thalaivii has a lot of good stuff in its favor, but it remains half-baked just for the ‘what could it have been?’ reason.
Two and a half stars!
Thalaivii will be released on September 10, 2021.
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If you’re not into political dramas, check out our review of Chehre to see the hits and misses.