‘Film Is Amma Of All Misfires…’ Reviews for Kangana Ranaut’s Thalaivii Are A Mixed Bag!

Is Kangana Ranaut's Thalaivii worth a trip to the theatres or should one wait for the streaming OTT release? Let's see what reviews say about the film!

Is Kangana Ranaut’s Thalaivii worth a trip to the theatres or should one wait for the streaming OTT release? Let’s see what reviews say about the film!

Like the recent Akshay-Kumar starrer Bell Bottom, Thalaivii releases in theatres first, and will then release on OTT streaming channels after a few weeks. Apart from a couple of states, Thalaivii has opened in theatres in the rest of India. The rights for the Hindi version have been picked up by Netflix, while the Tamil and Telugu version rights have been acquired by Amazon Prime.

Kangana Ranaut recently appealed to the Maharashtra government to reopen theatres. She wrote on Instagram, “Cases in Maharashtra have declined to request Maharashtra Government to #openupcinemas in Maharashtra and save the dying film industry and theatres business.”

‘Botched By Massive Missteps, Film Is Amma Of All Misfires’

Review by NDTV  – 2 stars

 A few of the performances are of a high quality. Especially good is Arvind Swami, who absolutely nails the MGR impersonation.

Thalaivi has been directed by a man, A.L. Vijay, and also scripted by men (K.V. Vijayendra Prasad and Rajat Arora). Therein lies the catch. The film does a far better job of exploring the dynamics between MGR and ally-turned-foe Karunanidhi (Nassar, who deserved far greater play as much for the power of his presence as for the value that the character brings to the cinematic account of an important period) than of spotlighting Jayalalithaa’s trials and tribulations.

Kangana Ranaut might be a great fit for the role, but she mars the exercise by opting to mimic an Akshay Kumar-like stride towards the camera to close a money scene or crown a punchline. She does this a few times in the course of the film accompanied by ear-splitting, high-pitched music, the kind that is supposed to denote triumph and finality. If you have raised the banner of revolt against Bollywood’s gender disparity, you must first do away with the means and methods of machismo-fuelled movies. Thalaivi does nothing of that sort.

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‘Kangana Ranaut’s mediocre act is no match for J Jayalalithaa’s tenacity’

Review By India Today – 2 stars

Director Vijay’s writing lets Thalaivii down completely. The first half of the film shows the bond between Jaya and MJR. It is safe to say that Thalaivii is a biopic of MGR rather than Jayalalithaa. The portions about Jaya and MJR’s relationship are shown rather elaborately, but on the flip side, Jaya’s rise in politics is rushed and given very little time.

Kangana Ranaut’s mediocre act is the weakest link in a film like Thalaivii. Jayalalithaa is rooted in the history of Tamil cinema. But, when you play a powerful person like Jayalalithaa, every single expression and dialogue counts. In Thalaivii, Kangana’s lip-sync is off-putting.

At one point, Kangana’s Jaya sits on a sofa with her legs crossed and says, “Best Actor? It’s me.” While the voice is in Tamil, we can clearly see Kangana saying, “Best Actor? Main Hoon.”

‘A flattering and flattening portrait of J Jayalalithaa’

Review by Scroll

The 153-minute Hindi version comes with the biggest disadvantage: a Tamil title (it means Female Leader) and a broad unfamiliarity with Tamil Nadu politics.

While Arvind Swami turns in a spirited performance, Kangana Ranaut’s Jaya is a continuation of the doughty heroines she has played in the past. Coquettish in her early years, naively trusting in her middle period, and in full-blown imperium mode as a politician, Ranaut mechanically conveys the essence of her heroine’s journey.

‘Kangana Ranaut is solid, but the film provides an incomplete look at Jayalalithaa’s life’

Review by Hindustan Times

Kangana’s performance as Jayalalithaa deserves applause; she holds her ground in every single scene. She doesn’t imitate Jaya, yet leaves an impact. And don’t forget her on-point physical appearance, accentuated by a high bouffant, winged eye liner, conical bras and classy drapes. Kangana taps into Jaya’s rebellious spirit, her ferocity in challenging patriarchy, and her empathy when it comes to serving people.

The only thing that the director could have been a little more mindful of is the length of the film. At 153 minutes, it’s not only too long but also poorly paced in the first half. And for those who want to see Amma’s journey as a politician and how she served her people, well, maybe Kangana should consider doing a part two, because Thalaivii felt incomplete to me.

‘Kangana & Arvind Swamy pay a resounding ode to Jaya-MGR’s poignant love story’

Review by The Times of India – 3.5 stars

Thailaivii pays a resounding ode to Jaya-MGR’s poignant love story, a relationship without labels. The political aspect feels talky, half baked and one-sided. What eventually stays with you is the story of a woman who defied the odds and wrote her own destiny.

Kangana in the titular role channels her inner rebel and unflinching self assurance to make a point — she plays second fiddle to no one. A classic case of her screen character imitating her real life in a way. She renders a powerful portrayal of a lovelorn woman who keeps rising like a phoenix from the ashes.

Image source: Thalaivii movie still

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Sonia Chopra

Sonia Chopra is Senior Editor, Women's Web and has over 15 years of writing and editing experience. read more...

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