The curtain raises with the scene where Jayalalithaa gets molested and nearly disrobed by the opposition party while the house was in session. The movie then goes back to her initial days of acting, where Tamil Nadu's Amma met actor turned politician MGR.
Though the film started off with a very strong and powerful scene. The rest of the first half was too lengthy and ran at a slow pace. Making the first half a tedious watch. While the performances of Arvind and Kangana together were impeccable, what didn't work in the first half was the length.
It only covered her love story and early days, during which several scenes were dragged to a certain point and then abandoned in the middle. Here the editor could have used his scissors effectively and made it crisp and gripping. Meanwhile, the second half of the film does pick up the phase, but still lacks in the screenplay. The film did have a lot of potentials to be one of the best films of this year, however, due to the weak editing and screenplay, Thalavii fails to make an impact.
Coming to the direction, Vijay's direction in the film is praiseworthy in parts. The film lacks the essence of a biopic. The story had a lot to deliver from a director's point of view, but the director failed to bring many sides of Jayalalithaa's story on screen. What was even more upsetting was the dialogues. They were understated and unappealing in comparison to Jayalalithaa's powerful presentation. Rajat Arora, the writer, could have done so much better than this.
When it comes to the cast, Kangana Ranaut has phenomenally sliced the character and given the best of herself. Every detail has been meticulously documented by the queen actress. She has mastered the actor-every politician's nuance, emotion, and body language. Her character's struggles will completely move you. While there are some scenes where you will find her over the top but that can be easily ignored.
A very special mention to Arvind Swamy for the character of MGR, he shines throughout and steals the show by his portrayal. I believe, he has been given the most difficult role, and he performs admirably. He adds a layer or two to his persona. His performance as MGR was the icing on the cake. The chemistry between Kangana and Arvind, who play Jayalalithaa and MGR, is such that we would believe we are seeing real people rather than actors. Speaking of the supporting cast, they have done their bits to uplift the film in their own ways.
In a nutshell, the film appears to be good, but in bits and pieces. The first half of the film was tedious and losing its grip, but the tale somewhere has enough weight to keep the audience's attention. Well though the film is worth two and a half stars, but just for the brilliant performance of Arvind Swami, I would like to give Thalavii 3 stars.
Image source/ Youtube/Zee Studios