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Thalaivii preview: All you need to know about the most anticipated Kangana-starrer biopic

After undergoing several hurdles, the multilingual film which went on floors more than two years ago, is finally hitting the screens on September 10

Thinkal Menon
Sep 06, 2021
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Kangana in a still from the film

A biopic on actress-turned-politician Jayalalithaa, one of the powerful personalities in the country, piqued the curiosity of film buffs from the time it was announced. Director Vijay coming on board for the project, which was announced to be made in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, elevated the hype despite a few of his recent projects turning out to be unsuccessful. The makers of the movie, bankrolled by Vishnu Vardhan Induri and Shailesh R Singh, had initially planned to rope in Vidya Balan to play the beloved 'Amma' of Tamil Nadu on screen. 

However, the actress couldn't come on board due to a few reasons, and as suggested by its story writer KV Vijayendra Prasad, who worked with Kangana Ranaut in Manikarnika, suggested the latter's name for the role. The film was launched more than two years ago, on Jayalalithaa's birthday. Arvind Swami, Nasser and Poorna were roped in to play MGR, Karunanidhi and Sasikala respectively. Madhubala, Thambi Ramaiah, Jisshu Sengupta and Flora Jacob are other actors who will be seen in pivotal roles in the project. GV Prakash and Vishal Vittal have composed music and cranked the camera for the ambitious project.   

Arvind Swami and Kangana in a still from Thalaivii

What were the preparations Kangana underwent to play Jayalalithaa on screen?

A few months after the movie went on floors, the actress took to Instagram to share a few pictures of her undergoing prosthetic look tests under the supervision of Jason Collins, who worked for projects like Captain Marvel. The pics had her covered herself in prosthetic glue, hinting that she is not going to leave any stone unturned to pull off the character. She also gained more than 15 kilos to play the role which required her to don multiple looks. 

According to her, learning bharatanatyam and other dance movements were the most challenging thing for her while working for the movie. She got trained under actress-choreographer Gayatri Raghuram. The video song, Kannum Pesa Pesa, which was released recently by the makers was opened to positive response from film enthusiasts, thanks to her impressive dance movements in it.  

Why did Thalaivii's first teaser evoke mixed reactions from film buffs?

The one-and-a-half minute teaser provided a small glimpse into Jaya's journey from a young actress who debuted in Vennira Aadai in 1965 to becoming the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in 1991. Though the video was liked by a few, it mostly received negative reactions from film lovers and netizens for the visibly unimpressive prosthetics used on the actress. Many went on to say that the makers should have opted for other actresses to play the role of Jaya as they weren't convinced with the similarity the actress shared with the former. However, the film's trailer and the stills which were constantly released by the makers were lapped up by them.    

What were the controversies the film courted from the time of its announcement?

The film, unsurprisingly, had courted controversies, too. Jaya's niece Deepa Jayakumar filed a petition in the court seeking a ban on the film as she believed making a movie on her aunt is a breach of privacy and that her permission should have been sought before the project went on floors. Earlier this year, the Madras High Court dismissed Deepa's plea and came up with a verdict in favour of the makers.    

The movie also hit headlines when writer Ajayan Bala put up a post on Facebook alleging that director Vijay did not give him due credit for his contribution to the project. The former also added that he could not come to terms with the insult he faced as he had worked for more than a year for the film. However, he later deleted the post for reasons best known to him.

A still from the film

When is the film releasing in theatres and OTT platforms?

Thalaivii was initially scheduled for a theatrical release on June 26, 2020, but the makers postponed the release, thanks to the first lockdown. Later, when theatres were opened in several parts of the country, the makers announced that the film will be released in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi on April 23, 2021. A couple of weeks before the release date, the team announced that the project has been postponed again, leaving movie buffs and fans of the actress disappointed. On August 23, after the Tamil Nadu government allowed theatres to start functioning, they informed that the movie will finally hit screens on September 10.  

Did the makers sort out the release issue with exhibitors?

Kangana and the makers had quashed rumours since a few months ago that the film will have a release on OTT platforms. When they finally came up with a release date, exhibitors said they can't allow the movie to release as the movie's Hindi version is said to drop on Netflix two weeks after its theatrical release. They went on to add that the two-week window isn't feasible for them and that they have no problem with its Tamil and Telugu versions as they are expected to release on Amazon Prime Video only after four weeks of theatrical release. Kangana, after lashing out at multiplex owners for their double standard, requested the film fraternity and her fans to support the film. Later, she thanked the exhibitors for their decision to release Tamil and Telguu versions. Film buffs are now eagerly waiting to know if the movie will have all its versions released on Friday.       

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