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Kaaviya Thalaivan Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Friday, November 28, 2014 • Tamil ]
Kaaviya Thalaivan Review
Y NOT Studios, Radiance Media Group
Siddharth, Prithviraj, Vedhicka, Anaika Soti, Nassar, Thambi Ramaiah, Ponvannan, Babu Antony, Singampuli, Mansoor Ali Khan
Varun Manian, S.Sashikanth

The pioneer of what we watch as movie today, was the tedious, arduous, yet vibrant and intricately artistic stage drama. Much before cinema halls came into being, drama troups staged entertainment across theatres earmarked for entertainment, travelling across the country on schedules. There was no rerecording nor retakes; what survived was pure breed of multifaceted talent. 'Kaaviya Thalaivan' is a revisit to the glory of all this and much more, of the past.

The story:

Kalliappa Bhagavathar and Gomathi Nayagam Pillai, along with others, are all students and actors in the prestigious drama school of Sivadas Swamigal. Gomathi, played by Prithviraj, is a man of the rules and rigmarole, while Kali, played by Siddharth, is an innovative man with new ideas that he implements in his acting. This adds an edge to Kali over Gomathi for being the Rajapaatu or lead actor. Thambi Ramaiah is the troupe's teacher and effectively the company's manager too. Vadivambal (Vedhicka) happens to join the troupe and goes on to become the Sripaatu or heroine.

When Sivadas Swamigal (Nasser) finds out about Kali's love affair with the princess Rangamma (Annaika Soti), the actor is cursed away from the love of his life and shunned from stage too. Eventually, the princess dies, and so does Swami. Fight for independence tightens in the country, and Kali's inclination towards patriotism stands up. But for now, he has nothing in life to hold on to, as he is abandoned by Gomathi after taking over the drama company. Will this lone man ever be able to fight for a cause and for a living?

The magic:

The story is of an age more than 80 years ago, yet staged on this day. To recreate the image of those days, it takes immaculate art direction, as projected by Santhanam. The hue of shimmering past, the glitters of drama, simplicity of reality those days and the spirit of patriotism - everything stands out visually. Another thing of the past is the concern for language and diction, which have very well been honoured by Jeyamohan. Over the years, virtual lens has sharpened at par with human eyes, and Nirav Shah has enhanced the magic with his camera. In this musical drama, songs that take off from the main stream of story are in no way a deterrent to the movie.

AR Rahman - one name speaks volumes for the spirit of the movie. Not only has the beauty of songs translated into visual treat, but his music stands out in moving the audience in every scene, with the score. Praveen takes the credit for editing to perfection, especially in the climax.

Team Vasanthabalan and Jeyamohan is a duo with high creativity and symbiotic understanding for a healthy piece of art. Vasanthabalan has come up with an original period-set story and Jeyamohan has complimented the director's work with beautifully chosen words for dialogues, which maintain its purity, yet is understandable. Working together on the screenplay, the two have worked a timeless classic.

The primary characters Siddharth, Prithviraj and Vedhicka are show stealers. Siddharth plays the hard-to-believe too-good-to-be-true Kali that recieves applause for his stage performance, as well as his character. Prithviraj plays the convincingly hurt but cold simpleton Gomathi driven by mistaken perception of situations. Vedhicka is Vadivu, who later goes on to be showered with praises and titles for her voice and performance. She plays a dedicated yet composed actress. Nasser as Swami and Thambi Ramaiah as the teacher, make for good supporting actors, that are game changers in many parts. Brief presence of Annaika and Mansoor Ali Khan are enjoyable.

The touches:

The film can practically not be critiqued in lack of colours. A very different story, a team to perceive it in the right light, actors who live the characters dictated to them, with the best in class for art, music and picture, 'Kaaviya Thalaivan' is a perfect package. Also, the perspective in which relationships are handled, is not one of the regular methods. But if at all something smells sour, it could only be the minor touches like the characterisation of Kali or questions on practical turns in this thread of fiction. The movie is overwhelming with the sheer number of actors in it, but they all have a role to play, and are very much a necessity for the story to have taken such a shape. The story is no big secret, and is predictable at most places, as to what it might lead to, in the next frame. Kali's critic on Vadivu is blunt at times but is still understandable. The climax convinces but leaves multiple unanswered questions. But all said, 'Kaaviya Thalaivan' really is a meticulously laid out drama, polished in the story and perfected in each frame, for a classic entertainer for all, and especially for those who have a taste for retro.

Rating: 3.5/5

Verdict: Classic for the ones who appreciate good music, drama and history

Rating: 0 / 5.0

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