Thalaivii – Kangana & Arvind Swamy pay a ringing respect to Jaya-tragic MGR’s love storey in Thalaivii.
STORY: The film follows actor-turned-politician Jayalalithaa (Kangana Ranaut), her connection with the famous M. G. Ramachandran (Arvind Swami), and her turbulent climb to prominence as Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister.
REVIEW: Most people are familiar with Jayalalithaa’s political career as an iconic figure in Indian politics. Director Vijay tries to get through her icy hard exterior and see her as a woman driven by love. Make no mistake: the tale revolves around a woman’s struggle for self-respect and her fight against patriarchy. Despite society’s scorn for her, she has an unconditional love for MGR, which is at the core of the storey. She suffered the fury of his devoted supporters, who saw their extramarital affair as immoral and a stain on his illustrious name. They became one other’s strength and weakness as the days grew into decades.
Even as murky politics, power struggles, and individuals tried all they could to separate them, their love remained pure. The instances where they have phone calls without saying anything and instead allow their silence speak for them are painful. The film is mostly successful because of its moving love tale.
Jaya had everything but respect in the start of her political career, as she was seen as the “other lady” in MGR’s life, who got things easy because she was his blue-eyed girl. She marches on with her head held high despite being surrounded, slut shamed, and humiliated on several occasions. The film’s central theme is her unwavering determination to earn her position in society.
Kangana Ranaut, who portrays the eponymous character, harnesses her inner rebel and uncompromising self-assurance to make a point: no one comes second to her. In a manner, her movie role imitates her real life in this situation. She gives a stunning performance as a lovelorn lady who continues rising from the ashes like a phoenix. With calm resolve and a commanding presence, she transcends the formulaic screenplay, deftly not imitating Jaya but nailing the tone and subtleties of her role. Kangana Ranaut is remarkable as a woman rejected for loving boldly and profoundly.
Arvind Swami as MGR, her guru and the wind behind her wings, is the ideal partner for the actress. He provides a sense of serenity to the raging tempest that has engulfed Jaya. Swami’s demeanour and body language are perfect. There could not have been a more suitable actor for the role of the Tamil film star and people’s leader.
The long political second half is filled with dialoguebaazi and dramatic slowmo walks. The guys don’t like it when a former “filmwali” rises to power, and the sexism is delivered in a dramatic and repeated fashion. The combination of shoddy editing and a loud background soundtrack is disconcerting. Restraint and objectivity are lacking in the implementation. The filmmaker uses a one-dimensional approach to narrative and character observation. Jaya is either sneered at or idolised.
Particularly in the political sections, the treatment becomes respectful. The chink in Jaya’s armour isn’t visible from the outside.
Dialogues are meticulously constructed and strike the perfect chord. Jaya’s life is well summed up by the phrase “Mahabharat ki dusra naam jaya hai.” “Bina Matlab ke log bhagwaan ko bhi yaad nahi karte,” her mother rightly argues in a moment when Jaya tells her sick mother that people only remember you when they need you.
“Krishna ko sab pasand karte the, phir bhi Radha ki sab mein ginti nahi hoti,” Jaya adds when told that everyone admires MGR and that she is no exception. The outfits of Neeta Lulla are intricate and effective. From 1960s and 1970s conical bras to winged eye makeup,
The reproduction of a bygone period is respectable, though not precise, thanks to the bouffant and old accessories.
Thailaivii delivers a moving tribute to Jaya-heartfelt MGR’s love tale, a connection that defies categorization. The political element comes out as rambling, half-baked, and one-sided. The narrative of a lady who fought the odds and forged her own destiny is what sticks with you the most.