Thalaivii Movie Review: Solid, Poignant & Blessed With Award Winning Acts
What: There is a reason why the eternal flame of Jayalalithaa burns so brightly to this day. Thanks to Kangana Ranaut’s clap worthy, award winning act as J. Jayalalithaa in A. L. Vijay’s poignantly realized multilingual biopic on the life of the actress, politician and her divine love for MGR – superbly played by Arvind Swami.
Chronicling the life of Jayaram Jayalalithaa aka Amma the leading film actress of her times turned politician who served as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for more than fourteen years between 1991 and 2016. Also referred as "Puratchi Thalaivi" (Revolutionary leader) by her party - All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) cadre’s. The movie traces the journey of Jayalalithaa (Kangana Ranaut) as a teenage actress and her rise as the leading actress and the favorite of the legendary MGR (Arvind Swami), her entry into politics and her pious love with MGR.
Transporting you to the era, Thalaivii makes you witness the legacy, meet Jayalalithaa, "feel" her love and stand for her incredible determination to fight against all odds – set back from the man she admired and loved the most, the cliché male bias, the humiliation etc and come triumph. In those scenes where she flashes that swinging victory sign in delight speaks more than words.
Primarily a pious love story coined with women empowerment that gets elevated by an incredibly outstanding acting by Kangana Ranaut and whistle blowing dialogues with a couple of soul stirring movements.
The engrossing writing by K. V. Vijayendra Prasad and engaging narration by A. L. Vijay plus the striking dialogues by Rajat Arora that are bound to make the masses clap and whistle, Thalaivii immerses the audience in its world and also asks how much do you know Jayalalithaa.
Before release, apart from Kangana Ranaut’s transformation, her prosthetics, her hard work, her preparations, people were also talking about Arwind Swamy’s portrayal as the charismatic legend Maruthur Gopala Ramchandran aka MGR in the trailers. The chemistry between Kangana Ranaut and Arvind Swami is striking and remarkably pure.
Raj Arjun as RMV not the hard core villain but a strong powerful hurdle for Jayalalithaa. When you observe RMV closely, Thalaivii becomes the battle between RMV and Jayalalithaa. RMV stanch loyalist of MGR who can do anything to protect MGR pride and dignity. While Jayalalithaa who also can go a long way to make MGR happy and win his smile and space. Both RMV and Jayalalithaa are knowingly or unknowingly let down by MGR.
Kangana Ranaut as J. Jayalalithaa is set to walk the path of glory at Indian awards for sure. The actress has nailed it to perfection and she is flawless right from the word go. A treat for her fans and cinema lovers alike, Kangana Ranaut proves that she is the ‘Queen’ when it comes to performance oriented roles. Without an iota of doubt, it can be said that she is the best when it comes to portray such strong and powerful characters on screen. The way she has transformed herself into the persona of Jayalalithaa is outstanding. Arguably her best till date.
Arvind Swami as M. G. Ramachandran is a picture of charm and pleasant charisma on screen. The actor adapts to the persona like a chameleon and gives a performance that is endearing throughout.
Nassar as M. Karunanidhi is fantastic. Good to see Bhagyashree after a long time as Sandhya. Madhu Bala as V. N. Janaki Ramachandran is fabulous. Thambi Ramaiah as Madhavan is outstanding. Poorna as V. K. Sasikala and Flora Jacob as Indira Gandhi leave their mark.
And last but not the least, Raj Arjun as RNV – he is just brilliant. For this author it’s Raj Arjun’s best act till date.
Special shout in chorus is a must for costume designer Neeta Lulla, Ramesh Mohanty - special makeup effects artist, Suresh Mohanty - makeup artist and Pattanam Rasheed - key makeup artist. Mukesh Chhabra’s casting and S. Rama Krishna’s Production Design.
Vishal Vittal’s vibrant cinematography and Ballu Saluja’s editing are in sync. G. V. Prakash Kumar’s music sets the mood.
Historians, political experts will find some vital parts missing and the biopic twisted and dramatized to please the audience in general. It adapts a familiar route and keeps itself safe from making any political statements and debating on the policies on which AIADMK and its opponents fought the Tamil Nadu elections.
The Medhu Vada episode, the dignified silence between Jayalalithaa and MGR over telephone during those emotionally charged movements. When Jayalalithaa is addressed as ‘Amma’ by a child.
Thalaivii is an engrossing and emotionally stirring and crowd pleasing portrayal of Jayalalithaa. A. L. Vijay has churned a film that is reverent but not fawning, familiar but not that clichéd, calculated but not weighty. The choice of Kangana Ranaut as Jayalalithaa hits the bull eye as now you just cannot imagine anyone else playing the character of Amma on screen. Kudos.