Cast- Kangana Ranaut, Arvind Swami, Bhagyashree, Nassar, Jisshu Sengupta
Director- AL Vijay
Bollywood has rarely got a biopic right and thalaivi is just another example. Thalaivi finds itself in an aimless search for a weighted aspect while trying to craft a tale about the life of 6-times Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalitha.
Jayalalitha or popularly known as Amma was a strong-willed, opinionated, and brave woman. She succeeded in a world of politics that was earlier known as a man’s world.
She gained the reign of a political party and bravely established her league creating a legacy like no other. She is a figure of worship by a lot of people for her work. The story of her life is worth making a film.
She was touted as the misfit for politics and it was anticipated that her run wouldn’t last long, but she proved otherwise with her strong will. There were several films announced on her life after her death and this one had the strongest buzz with the presence of Kangana.
Her life as an Actress, activist, and then as a politician is concise to bits of information that is already known to the public. There were many scenes hyped just to display the lead in the best way which is a regular problem with the majority of the biopic.
Although Kangana has been the main focus of the film and the promotions, it did not help the film. Initially, she is a giggly girl who wants to make it to the films and is deeply impressed with MGR. Arvind Swamy played the role of MGR and his great performance was somehow able to save the show. MGR changes his way from the big screens to a political idol in Tamil Nadu.
Jayalalitha is not able to hide her feelings for MGR which is a shock to his principal image manager and film producer R.M Veerappan. There are retro scenes between Jayalalitha and MGR in the first half.
There are colorful retro costumes, dancing with the trees, and immersive set designs with open spaces taking back the viewer to that era. Their romance is described much like a teenage thing.
There are lapses in the direction and conception of the story by the director AL Vijay. The dialogs are a bit empty and lack important content.
A handful of dialogues are powerful at the end of nearly every important scene but that does not work. The sensationalized dramatic events are a drawback on the part of screenwriting. The use of montages to display the passing of years is a quick rush.
The extra exaggeration of events for more drama and commercial appeal has always been a basic problem with this film. Some films like this will surely tarnish the image of Jayalalitha. Kangana is good and powerful but leaves lapses behind. She doesn’t speak Tamil, there are lip syncs that are not accurately matched with the scenes leaving English lip sync.
The performance of Samuthirakani in the role of R.N Veerappan is a grace-saving performance as an antagonist. He is perfect with his expressions and he nails his character naturally better than Kangana.
Thambi Ramaiah as Kangana’s caretaker is a different and warm personality among the mean people surrounding her. Nasser plays Mu Karuna with a cunning role.
A disappointment in the film is the disrespectful portrayal of Karuna’s character. The great performances couldn’t run due to the poor writing of the characters.
At some point, it felt that the makers had tried their best to avoid a political complication. Still, overall you can watch some good performances, great sets and take a look at the impressive tale about the growth of Jayalalitha in power.