Vijay has matured as an actor of substance in commercial cinema with Thalaivaa. Not only is he a one-man entertainment troupe who can dance, fight, romance and do comedy with ease, but can also act. One of the highlights of the film is the emergence of Vijay as an actor from a star, as he excels in emotional scenes.
However he is let down by a weak script and takes its own time to evolve, which slows down the narration. The film at 177 minutes tests your patience especially in the second half. The thread of the film is etched out of various don films where father is a don and son under difficult circumstances is forced to take over his mantle (Godfather(English), Thevar Magan, Nayagan, Naduvazhigal (Malayalam), and Sarkar(Hindi) ).
The film begins with how Anna (Sathyaraj) a Tamil in Mumbai becomes a powerful don and is revered by the locals for the way he provides instant justice and runs a parallel government. His son Vishwa (Vijay) is living a cloistered life in Sydney where he is a successful entrepreneur and has also his own Tamil dance troupe.
However, suddenly due to certain circumstances he is forced to take over his father’s empire and continue to provide instant justice to the people who had trust in his father. Will the son rise to protect his father’s legacy and take on his enemies’ forms the rest of the story
The best part of Thalaivaa is the first half set in Australia as the breezy romance between Vijay and Amala Paul peps up the mood, along with the comedy of Santhanam makes it a fun ride. However the second half, the film loses its tempo and drags big time as things get serious with no romance or comedy.
GV Prakash’s background score especially the theme music and a couple of songs are really good. “Yaar Indha Saalai..” is soothing and picturised beautifully in Australia and Vaanganna Vanakkanganna. is rocker mainly due to Vijay’s dancing and singing. Nirav Shah’s camera is picture perfect with the right colour tone.
Amala Paul shines especially in the romantic scenes in the first half and dubbing in her own voice is a major plus. In the second half her characterisation undergoes a change, and the way she manipulates the climax is fantastic. Her costumes are chic and performance is top class. Sathyaraj is terrific as the Godfather of Mumbai. Santhanam is a scream, and his one-liners with a straight face provides humour in a grim story.
The major plus of the film is Vijay. He is good in emotional scenes, the best is the point where he sees his father getting blown up. You can see that he has evolved as a fine actor with a restrained and mature performance in that particular scene. And is there a better dancer than Vijay in Tamil cinema? You can’t take your eyes off him in the Vaanganna.. song.
On the downside, the film has too many scenes inspired from Godfather mafia type movies. The film is nearly 3 hours and needs urgent trimming to make it fast. The second half is longer than the first half and the pace slackens due to slow change of scenes.
On the whole, Thalaivaa likes the curate’s egg is good in parts and would have been better if it was more racy and shorter.
Verdict - Entertaining