Rich in every aspect, be it music, visuals or acting, Vasanthabalan’s ode to old world theatres is a treat not to be missed
Ever since the first look and promos were out, there was a special quality about J Vasanthabalan’s Kaaviya Thalaivan which got me excited. Though period films are not new in Tamil cinema, I knew Kaaviya Thalaivan would stand out from the lot as it was telling a story about theatre artist and actors rather kings and queens and wars. My excitement knew no bounds when AR Rahman’s brilliant music album was unveiled and I was eagerly waiting for this day to figure if Siddharth-Prithviraj starrer delivers its promise or leaves me disappointed. Lets quickly dive into the review and see what Kaaviya Thalaivan has to offer.
What’s it about:
The film tells a story about a theatre group in per-independence era run by ace veteran theatre artist Siva Dasan played by Naseer who takes in two young boys in his company – Kali and Gomathi played by Siddharth and Prithviraj respectively. Though Gomathi eyes to be Siva Dasan’s favourite, it is Kali who charms him with his brilliant histrionics. This leads to jealousy swelling in the heart of Gomathi. Meanwhile, Kali falls in love with zamindar’s daughter and Vadivu, who joins the theatre and catches the eye of Gomathi. When Gomathi comes to know about Kali’s affair, he informs it to the guru who in anger asks Kali to take pledge of never seeing the Zamindar’s daughter again. Fearing their lives from Zamindar’s wrath, the theatre group flees to an another town. All of a sudden Gomathi becomes the Guru’s new favourite and Kali is sidelined and neglected by Siva Dasan. One night, after having a tiff with Kali, Siva Dasan passes away and Gomathi takes over the drama company. Gomathi blames Kali for guru’s death and asks him to leave. As fate has it, after few years Kali and Gomathi meet again, which leads Kali stealing Gomathi’s thunder on stage yet again. Not just that, he is infuriated to find that Vadivu loves Kali. Later, Kali is taken over by the independence struggle as he starts doing plays on freedom struggle, which get him in trouble. Kali’s plays gain immense popularity, leaving no audience for traditional plays dished out by Gomathi and group. Does the tiff between Kali and Gomathi end? Does Gomathi turn a new leaf? I guess you will have to find out on your own.
Kudos to writer-director Vasanthabalan for stepping out of the comfort zone of regular potboilers and delivering a refreshing film which is high on drama that keeps you engaged. Siddharth is the heart and soul of the film as the actor dances, performs, cries, laughs showing off the wide range of emotions which he is capable of delivering. Playing the good guy can generally be boring, but looks like Siddharth had lot of fun playing Kali as his energy and enthusiasm transcends through the screen. Prithviraj is the surprise package in the film as his villainous act is sure to floor you. The actor aptly generates the empathy of audience towards his character, who is tired of losing to Kali all his life. Vedhicka has limited screen time, but the pretty lass manages to impress with her theatrical abilities. Nasseer is in fine form as guru Siva Dasan and proves why he is such a revered actor in Tamil cinema. Thambi Ramaiah and other supporting cast has done a decent job too. AR Rahman’s music gives great boost to the narrative as I found myself humming and tapping my feet along with all the songs. Karna Motcham is a stroke of magic by Mozart of Madras as I fought hard to hold back my tears.
It is hard to say something bad about a film like Kaaviya Thalaivan which ticks off the right boxes in all aspects of film making. But if I had to pin point one, then it had to be the slow pacing of the film. Vasanthabalan’s film at times becomes so self absorbed in it’s song and dance that it starts to drag a bit. Also the director has tried to convey a lot of things in a single film, which has also led to the film’s run time stretching over two and a half hours.
What to do?
Siddharth strikes gold yet again with Kaaviya Thalaivan, but the film belongs to Prithviraj who shines as a baddie. Watch the film for three reasons – Siddharth, Prithviraj and AR Rahman. While you guys head to see KT on big screen, I am off to catch a local play around my neighbourhood, all thanks to KT. See you around folks!
3.5 out of 5
Stay tuned to BollywoodLife for the latest scoops and updates from Bollywood, Hollywood, South, TV and Web-Series.
Click to join us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram. Also follow us on Facebook Messenger for latest updates.