Date: 10.09 2021
Kangana Lives Jaylalitha
In Mahabharat Draupadi was disrobed in public. In1989 Tamil Nadu Assembly, leader of opposition, J.Jaylalitha
was pulled by her braid and dragged by her sari pallu and now in 2021, writer-
director Vijay’s Thalaivi Kangana Ranaut relives the anger and the anguish
of both, Draupadi and Jaylalitha.
The film opens with this shameful incident and even though we are all
familiar with the proceedings watching it replay on the big screen is devastating. Thalaivi is based on author Ajayan Bala’s book by the same title and
captures thirty years in the life of Tamil Nadu chief minister J.Jayalalitha.
Beginning in 1964 when sixteen-year-old Jaya/ Kangana Ranaut met superstar
MGR addressed as MJR in the film/ Arvind Swami on the sets of her debut film. This is a story of their attraction, their super hit
pairing, their blossoming romance and the devotion of the audience. Their heartbreaks,
their personal anguish, controversies, party politics and Jaya braved all these
storms to rise and rule as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
Unlike other period films, Thalaivi makes no mention of dates and
years, rather seamlessly travels time through changing sets and surrounding,
fashion and conversations. We notice a change in Jaylalitha’s body language
post her road accident, the medical complications and the steroid injections resulting
in rapid weight gain and change in attire.
There’s no denying that Thalaivi is an engaging
narrative but it is not the complete truth because all of us remember history
the way we want to and Thalaivi is author Ajayan Bala’s
perspective. Director Vijay adapts the book into a selective presentation, ignores
many important facets and undermines the role of MGR’s wife Janki and
Jaylalitha’s companion, Shashikala, clearly a conscious decision.
If you can ignore these prejudices or safety devices, there are many
positives to appreciate in the film like music, lyrics, voices aur Rajat Aroraa’s
dialogues. The cast is interesting and the performances competent particularly the
versatile Nassar as Karunanidhi even though his eyes are forever covered with dark glasses
and Raj Arjun as RNV, watch out for his expression when Jaya wins the
If Kangana’s ensemble team of hair/ makeup/choreographer and stylist Neeta
Lulla dress up the body of Jayalalitha, the soul comes from Kangana’s
sparklingly, uncompromised, flawless performance. Ranaut is riveting in every
frame and you cannot look at anything while she is on the screen.
I rate Thalaivi with 4 stars 2 out of which are reserved
only for Kangana. Take a bow lady!