Produced by: Vishnu Vardhan Induri and Shaailesh R Singh
Directed by: A. L. Vijay
Starring: Kangana Ranaut, Arvind Swamy, Nassar
Written by: Vijayendra Prasad, Rajat Aroraa
Dialogue: Rajat Aroraa
THALAIVII is the story based on the life of the legendary Jayalalithaa. The film etches her journey from how she became an actress to a prominent politician. The film’s story begins in 1965. Jayalalithaa aka Jaya (Kangana Ranaut) is an upcoming actress in Tamil cinema. She’s been made to be in the profession by her mother (Bhagyashree), so that they can have a steady income. In no time, she gets a chance to star opposite MJR (Arvind Swamy), one of the biggest superstars of Tamil cinema. They both enjoy working with each other and star in many films together. They emerge as one of the most popular jodis, much to the annoyance of R M Veerappan (Raj Arjun), MJR’s PA. Veerapan thinks Jaya can be a thorn in MJR’s success. A few years later, MJR enters politics and joins DMK, which is headed by Karunanidhi (Nasser). Karunanidhi then wins the state election by a record. A big reason for that was MJR’s campaigning for him. MJR misses party meetings and he is more popular than Karunanidhi, and that doesn’t go well with Karunanidhi. Both have a showdown and MJR thus decides to quit DMK and start his own political party. Veerapan advises MJR to stay away from Jayalalithaa because he is scared she could spell trouble for him in his political career. The story moves 10 years forward. Jaya isn’t getting many films because of her age and hence is accepting dance shows. One such show is offered by the government, where she meets MJR again, where he invites her to join her party. She refuses but later an incident makes her change her mind. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
The film does rather well to cover at least the major incidents of Jayalalithaa’s life. Seeing that it’s a movie, it’s understandable that not all the incidents could be covered. The problem here with the film is that, it is said to be a film based on Jayalalithaa, but still we see more of other characters than her. The first half is a little bland as things are being set up but the second half does manage to grasp your attention. Another complaint here is that, while we understand there have been some creative liberties taken, the portions about Jaya and MJR’s relationship rather elaborately shown, whereas Jaya’s rise in politics is rushed and given very little screen time.
Technically, the film is good. Cinematography by Vishal Vittal is great. Some of the shots really stand out. Editing by Ballu Saluja is fine but could have been much better in the first half. The writing is good enough, as the source material was all there to begin with. The dialogues are sharp. Music in the film really disappoints. No single song manages to stand out. The production design and the costume design seems realistic.
Performance wise the film is great. There was a lot of skepticism earlier that whether a Southern actress would suit the role better, but Kangana with her performance here quashes all of it easily. She comes with her best and delivers on it. She stayed true to her character. Arvind Swamy delivers an effortless performance. He is brilliant. His chemistry on screen with Kangana was fantastic. For those who watch a lot of South movies know for a fact that Nassar is dependable and he is again in this film. He gives a composed performance. The rest of the cast offer good support.