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Thalaivi Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Friday, September 10, 2021 • Telugu ]
Thalaivi Review
Kangana Ranaut, Arvind Swamy, Nassar, Bhagyashree, Samuthrakani, Madhu Bala
AL Vijay
Vishnu Vardhan Induri & Shaailesh R Singh
GV Prakash, Rachita Arora

Thalaivi Movie Review

'Thalaivii' hit the screens today (September 10). Released amid low expectations in Telugu, the film is playing in theatres. Here is our review:


Actor-turned-politician Jayalalithaa (Kangana Ranaut) is content with her superstardom in cinema. But circumstances compel her to take a plunge into politics. The film details her emerging and evolving equations with actor-politician MG Ramachandran (Arvind Swami) in the main. Veerappan (Samuthirakani), a trusted lieutenant of MGR, is also a crucial element whose antagonism towards Jaya sometimes becomes more important than even Karunanidhi's (Nasser).

Thalaivi Movie Review


Writer Vijayendra Prasad does the right thing by beginning the story with the shocking episode of Jaya getting manhandled in the Tamil Nadu Assembly and her agonized challenge to her enemies that she will return as the Chief Minister. Decades ago, Jaya was not raging. She was a naive, 16-year-old, newbie in the film industry.

Just as Jaya starts cozying up to MGR, Veerappan becomes insecure. The screenplay endorses his extreme passion to 'guard' MGR through an episode involving Regina Cassandra (as an actress). The rivalry between Jaya and him is the engine that drives the entire film till the very end.  

Nasser portrays Karunanidhi, Thambi Ramaiah is seen as Madhavan (Jaya's PA), Poorna is Sasikala, while Bhagyashree is the titular character's mother. Madhoo (Madhu Bala) is Janaki, MGR's wife.

Thalaivi Movie Review

The film dares to show Jaya as a calculative person. When she feels slighted by MGR, she praises his rival, Sivaji Ganesan, to the skies. The Jaya-Veerappan equations have an arc, with it evolving into a new shade after MGR's death.

When Balakrishna made a biopic on his father in 2020, it flopped. There was no humanizing of NT Rama Rao beyond his personal losses. Even his political failures were not portrayed well. But 'Thalaivi' makes the audience feel the emotional turmoil that Jaya is undergoing.

Thalaivi Movie Review

On the downside, the first half drags a bit and there is some repetitiveness in establishing the characters. Arvind Swami is superb as MGR, but at times the film feels like his biopic. This is a criticism so many are already making. But it can be said that the film shows him as incapable of leading the party/government effectively without the able communicator Jaya.

GV Prakash has served up songs that resonate with the era of the story and as usual, enhances the visuals with his background score. Vishal Vittal's lens is nice with production designers Ramakrishna and Monika Nigotre could have been better.

Kangana Ranaut's performance, together with Arvind Swami's, is the film's heartbeat. The film might not be relatable to the Telugu audience, who don't have an emotional attitude towards Jaya.

Thalaivi Movie Review


'Thalaivii' could have come with depth and better staging of the scenes.

Rating: 2.5 / 5.0

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