Film Review: Thalaivii (Female Leader)

Film Review: Thalaivii (Female Leader)

Director: A.L. Vijay

Starring: Kangana Ranaut, Arvind Swami, Nassar, Bhagyashree, Samuthirakani, Raj Arjun

After hitting multiple roadblocks, ‘Thalaivii’ finally hit the cinemas. It has indeed been a long, yet worthwhile, wait to watch the boss woman of the Bollywood fraternity, Kangana Ranaut, in her portrayal of the boss woman of Tamil Nadu, Jayaram Jayalalithaa. Determination, strength and power are usually the thematic narratives for biopics. And this one doesn’t fail to follow the pattern.

Director Vijay has particularly picked out the juicy bits from Jaya’s lifetime to add to the drama in the commercial entertainer. ‘Thalaivii’ begins chronicling Jayalalithaa’s (Ranaut) career as a pin-up star of Tamil cinema in the 60s. Her multilingual talent contributed to the 140 films in varying languages – Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and English that she had acted in. She sure was the uncrowned queen of those times.

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What is with Indian actors switching over to politics? Is it the industry’s way of announcing retirement? Jaya’s romantic liaison with her former co-star and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M.G. Ramachandran or MGR (Swami) catapulted her into politics, only to make her quite the inspiration for many women in India.

The film showcases the brutal assault on Jayalalithaa at the Legislative Assembly Hall. It is an enduring image of this strong-willed with her hair in disarray and a torn saree. The dishevelled personality vows to make an entrance in the House as the Chief Minister of the state, only to be re-elected six times thereafter.

Kangana rocks those silk sarees with charisma and panache, hitting all the right notes in this homage flick. After ‘Queen’, ‘Manikarnika’ and now with ‘Thalaivii’, she sure knows how to embody the role of a woman with purpose.

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Her own stubbornness and gutsy attitude match well with Jaya’s, thereby reel and real life merging well together on screen. Aravind Swami’s performance is enthralling in its entirety. It was refreshing to watch ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’ star Bhagyashree return to the big screen as Jaya’s mother Sandhya.

Overall, ‘Thalaivii’ hits all the right notes, making it worth the wait – now for its release on to streaming platforms.

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