An unabashed mishmash of many films

Director Vijay's films have either been remakes, or inspired strongly by other films. But this time, in attempting to enhance the image of Vijay as a 'messiah', a potential leader-in-the-making, the director goes overboard taking 'inspiration' from many earlier godfather-styled films in Thalaivaa. One can feel a sense of deja Vu throughout. And at about three hours duration, the journey seems too long and monotonous.

The opening scenes briefly depict the Dharavi happenings. Where 'Anna' (a dignified portrayal by Sathyaraj), the much respected leader and protector of the predominant Tamil community, wards off rivals and anti social elements. Twenty five years later the plot shifts to Sydney, where Anna's son Vishwa (Vijay) had been packed off as a child, away from his father's violent life style. Vishwa, apart from running a mineral water-supply unit, has his own dance troupe.

Romance blossoms when Meera (Amala Paul) joins his troupe. It's a fresh pairing, and the duo look good together. The scenes here are breezy and engaging. Santhanam's wisecracks pep up the proceedings. There are a couple of twists, not so surprising though. The second half shifts to Dharavi, where circumstances force Vishwa to take on his father's mantle. The latter half chugs through the predictable path. There is no language confusion here. As almost everyone from Dharavi to Mahim, rival thugs, henchmen and cops, speak in Tamil albeit with various accents. There is this scene where after a long lecture from the hero, the hard core pro- Marathi group indulging in arson and violence, shamefacedly throw down their weapons. The whole thing is reduced to an unpalatable 'masala' scene. There is also the by now done-to-death scene, of incriminating evidence captured by a videographer (Udaya, brother of the director), the chase and the search for it. Vijay watchable in the early part, seems out of his element here. Vishwa's transition from a common youth to a 'messiah' is barely brought out by the actor. It's not just the look, it's the lack of maturity in the whole demeanour and performance. The actor seems as comfortable in these scenes as a kindergarten kid placed in a college campus scenario.

The director in the opening credits, expresses his thanks to directors like Maniratnam and Ramgopal Verma. And rightly so. For he has taken a whole lot of 'inspiration' from their films (Nayakan and Sircar).

Verdict: Thalaivaa is an unabashed mishmash of many more films of this genre.

Cast: Vijay, Amala Paul, Sathyaraj, Santhanam, Suresh, Ponvannan

Director: Vijay


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