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THALAIVII is a superficial biopic, but entertaining!

Painting a portrayal of the iconic personality with strictly broad strokes, THALAIVII is a massy drama with very little new insight. However, its fast-paced narrative and some good performances will keep you engaged for its longish duration of over two-and-a-half hours. Worth a watch!

The Plot: THALAIVII tracks the life of J. Jayalalitha, over the years as an actress, as a politician, and how she rose as a feminist figure in male-dominated Indian Politics.

Let me start with what disappointed me as a filmgoer. Going to watch the biopic of such a celebrated personality, I would’ve liked to see something that gave me an insight into the real personality of the lady. Alas, what we get to see are merely the highlights of her public life, which was anyway available to me through news over the years. For someone who doesn’t know at all who Jayalalitha was, this movie might be still informative. But most of us, who have been following her, fail to find anything new. THALAIVII is like a meticulous collation of the major headlines concerning Jayalalitha over the last 60 odd years. On top of it, it’s been made in the most mainstream loud dialogue-spitting manner that plays it to the gallery all the time.

Having said that, you can’t complain of boredom when you watch this movie. Perhaps that’s all that matters for most of us who go to the theatre. As a result, what you get is an engrossing drama which keeps you hooked for 150 minutes. A lot of effort has gone behind creating authentic looking sets and costumes, which adds to the overall experience. The film is long, no doubt, but it still packs a lot owing to some smart editing, which never makes it a tiring watch. The storytelling is surface-level and lacks heft, but absorbingly swift. After a while, when you accept the formulaic nature of the film, you start enjoying its mass-appealing ways of narration.

Needless to say, it’s a Kangana Ranaut show all the way. She’s an established great actor who yet again gives a powerful performance, which is no short of her superstar image. I do think though, that a more nuanced script could’ve made her role indelibly memorable. But the real surprise here is Arvind Swami, who immaculately enacts the role of MGR. His is the performance that truly stands out in this film. All others do a decent job.

All-in-all, THALAIVII serves as a decent pastime for a weekend trip to the movies. Theatricals are an essential part of cinema that you watch in the theatres, and this film doesn’t disappoint on that front. Qualifies as a good one-time-watch!

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