Jayalalithaa's contribution to Telugu cinema doesn't find a place in Thalaivii
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Jayalalithaa's contribution to Telugu cinema doesn't find a place in Thalaivii

Thalaivii's selective look at the film career of the actress, politician doesn't do justice to the popularity that Jayalalithaa enjoyed among Telugu crowds

Srivathsan Nadadhur
Sep 27, 2021
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Thalaivii, the biopic of actress, politician Jayalalithaa, whose Hindi version is currently streaming on Netflix, has left many audiences with mixed feelings. While Kangana Ranaut, Arvind Swamy's performances in addition to Rajat Arora's sparkling dialogue deserve praise, the sanitised look at the dramatic life of Jayalalithaa neither offers a complete picture of her personality nor provides an accurate picture of her career in films and politics. In particular, the film reduces Jayalalithaa's stardom to the Tamil industry alone and royally ignores her contribution to Telugu cinema.

Jayalalithaa acted with some of the biggest names in Telugu cinema, starring alongside all-time-greats like N T Rama Rao, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Krishna, Sobhan Babu, Jaggaiah to name a few across a wide array of genres. Some of her most popular films in the industry include Aastiparulu, Adrushtavanthulu, Premalu Pellillu, Chikkadu Dorakadu, Sukha Dukhalu, Kathanayakudu, Doctor Babu and Devudu Chesina Manushulu. In fact, her last full-fledged appearance as a female lead was also for a Telugu film titled Nayakudu Vinayakudu.

While encapsulating nearly four-five decades of a personality's life on screen, it may be humanly impossible to cover every aspect of a career. Yet, in this case, at least a brief glimpse of Jayalalithaa's work in Telugu cinema could've helped. In a bid to avoid controversy, Thalaivii also ignores another episode in Jayalalithaa's life - an alleged relationship with a senior actor who refused to marry her. The film goes nowhere in providing an accurate picture of Jayalalithaa, the person, beyond the public figure she was and fails to capture her identity beyond the men in her life.

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