Thalaivi Telugu Movie Review


Satisfying Second Half




What Is the Film About?

Thalaivi is the story of South India’s tallest woman leader, Jayalalithaa. It is confined to how she started her career as a heroine, how she became close to MGR, and how she became MGR’s political heir and excelled in politics.


Kangana Ranaut performed very well as Jayalalithaa. She will be seen in different looks through out the film as it happens in various phases of her life. Jayalalithaa will be seen drastically different in the later parts of her life.

The makers chose not to go for such a drastic change in Kangana. The only scene with Jayalalithaa’s heavy personality comes towards the end and the team has used prosthetic makeup for it.

While there are no complains about Kangana’s performance, at places, we feel she has got a fragile frame to fit into Jayalalithaa’s character. But then, it still augurs to the cinematic experience of the story of a woman who rises above the inequalities in the male-dominated world.


Thalaivi is the story of Jayalalithaa excluding the most controversial parts. It is essentially the story of a woman who rises above the inequalities in the society and makes a mark in Tamil Nadu politics. While the story looks exciting on paper, the major problem is that a large part of the film is confined to the relationship between Jayalalithaa and MGR.

The first half of the film is about their relationship in films and how they part ways by the time of interval. The romantic scenes look artificial and dramatic but that’s how they are in those times. But then, we feel they are stretched beyond a limit without going into the actual story.

Also, there is no proper justification about their relationship and even about MGR’s sudden interest in politics. Probably, Director AL Vijay has tried to play too safe with the film. The second half is a much better package. We get to see a few scenes about Jayalalithaa’s political brilliance and they worked big time.

Some of the scenes like the challenge in Assembly, Amma Scene in a school, Parliament speech, Wheel Chair scene, Trainee doctor scene, and the final CM scene will give the high we expect from a political potboiler. There are some more scenes like that of election campaign towards the end which have more scope but are not used up to the potential.

Every now and then, the story moves toward MGR – Jayalalithaa’s relationship, the flow is disturbed. But then, we can conclude the second half serves the purpose largely to the subject. Just as the film, Vijayendra Prasad – the writer succeeded at places. Be it him or Vijay, the performance would have been better if not for the fear of controversies playing behind their mind. Some of the dialogues have the depth needed.

All in all, Thalaivi despite its shortcomings is a decent tribute to Jayalalithaa and to the concept of women power. In terms of just cinematic experience, the slow paced first half might disappoint you but leaves you satisfied in the second with many good ‘high’ scenes.


Aravind Swamy is a perfect fit for the role of MGR. He carried it gracefully. The subtle changes he brought to the character in tune with the age are impressive.

Samuthirakhani has got a superb character. It is well-written and he performed it to perfection. Nasser is seen as Karunanidhi. His character is underplayed to avoid controversies. He has not much to do in the movie. The other characters like Bhagyasree, Poorna, Madhoo do not have much screen time but will add to the ‘artist value’.

Music and Other Departments?

GV Prakash Kumar had done a fine job with the songs. They does not matter much to the core subject but are still fine. The background score works very well at some places especially in the places where the elevation scenes worked.

The camera work by Vishal Vittal is superb. Editing should have been finer in the first half. The Run time at 153 minutes feels a tad lengthy. The production values are grand.


Background score
Last 45 minutes of the Second Half


Drag in the first half
Playing Safe
Lack of Completeness

Alternative Take

Did I Enjoy It?

Yes, especially the second half

Will You Recommend It?


Thalaivi Telugu Movie Review by Siddartha Toleti