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Biography | 153 minutes

Movie Info

  • Director: AL Vijay
  • Actors: Kangana Ranaut, Aarvind Swamy, Madoo, Bhagyashee
  • Genres: Biography
  • Country: IN

Our Review

Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Arvind Swamy, Nassar, Bhagyashree, Samuthrakani, Madhu Bala, and others
Director: AL Vijay



The movie chronicles the start of Jayalalithaa’s career as an actress till she established herself as a political leader. Jayalalithaa started her career as an actress t 1 16 as her mother (Bhagyashree) guided her career. “Thalaivii” is like two stories unraveling simultaneously.

The story of her rise as a film actress and her romantic relationship with MGR and the second is her advent into politics as a protégé of MGR.

. “The story we all know, the life story we don’t know.” The trailer of “Thalaivi” declared the above lines raising our expectations on the movie, which is a biopic on J Jayalalithaa, the stylish actress turned political figure.



Jayalalithaa served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nādu six times and was one of the most powerful leaders in India in her time. She was called Puruchi Thalaivi (Revolutionary Leader) by her admirers. Her dramatic political story is an open book but the movie chronicles parts of her personal life as well.

The film starts with her journey in the Tamil film industry with a movie along with the matinee idol MJR (Arvind Swamy, MGR’s name changed). 

Despite being married to Janaki Ramachandran, MGR falls in love with Jayalalithaa. He becomes her guru and paramour. But when he decides to pursue a career in politics, MJR is forced to end his relationship with Jaya and keeps her away from him for years.

Many years later, he meets her at an event and invites her into politics. She learns the ropes fast and becomes a daunting leader facing many opponents and hurdles. As a Member of Parliament, she impresses Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as well. 

After the death of MJR, male chauvinists in the ruling party abuse and molest Jayalalitha (Kangana Ranaut) in the Tamil Nādu legislative assembly hall.

She then pledges that she would return to the Assembly Hall only after becoming the Chief Minister. The movie ends at the time she achieves her goal 



Despite having no physical similarities with Jayalalithaa, the award-winning actress Kangana Ranaut portrays the role with conviction but fails in the diction – speech department. She is believable in the first half as the actress, but she gets a lot of power-play wrong in the political sequences. Kangana, overall, shines in the role of Jayalalithaa but leaves a lot wanting in the diction department.

Aravind Swamy as MGR is spellbinding. He is such a powerful and spectacular actor that he makes MGR come alive on screen effortlessly. This is one of the finest performances to be enacted by an actor.

Samuthirakani is superb. Nasser in the role of Karunanidhi is just okay. Madhoo as Janaki Ramachandran is compelling.

In a period film like this, cinematography, music, and artwork need to be flawless and. Cinematographer Vishal Vittal reels it all in brilliantly. Ramakrishna and Monika’s production design is magnificent. Together they have succeeded to bring the experience of the bygone era to life. Dialogues are tidy but the music and songs are weak.

The thread of the Jayalalitha- MGR love relationship has many interesting sequences. But the big flaw is that she was never paired only with MGR. There is no indication of the movies she had done in Telugu, Kannada, and other languages. The template followed is the same as that of the NTR biopic.

In her real life, Jayalalithaa had a dramatic rise from a glamourous star to a people’s leader, battling the patriarchal political system. “Thalaivi” brings out some instances in her life to the show, but we get to know very little about her real personality.

Encapsulating the movie, “Thalaivi” gives us a selective peek into the life of the superstar star and a powerful political leader’s relationship with MGR.

Kangana Ranaut sans her diction
Aravind Swamy’s performance
A couple of dramatic scenes

One-sided story
Lengthy runtime


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Reviews ( 1 )



1 Month ago

All-stars for Aravind Swamy. A partial, convenient biopic though very inspiring. Kangana needs to get rid of the consistent diction that she carries in all her characters.


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