Kaaviya Thalaivan has created massive expectations as the genre of the film itself suggested that the movie will be very unique in an age of science fiction. And also the soundtrack created huge impact on the expectations as the Isai Iyakunar never attempted this genre of music. Classic film with theatre background is what the film looked like. Lets see.
Kaaviya Thalaivan is a period drama set in Madurai of 1930’s and 1940’s. The story is set against the milieu of old Tamil drama schools and the life of stage artistes. At the heart of the plot is the intense rivalry between two extraordinary drama artists, who belong to the same drama troupe. Kaliappa Bhagavathar (Sidharth) and Gomathi Nayagam Pillai (Prithviraj) grow up together under the guidance of their guru, Sivadas Swamigal (Nasser). While Gomathi is hardworking and dedicated, fun-loving Kali is the natural performer. His effortless talent and innovative style wins him appreciation of his guru which is unbearable to Gomathi, who believes he deserves all the laurels. Ponvannan who used to play the Rajapattai aka the hero in all the plays goes out of the troupe due to his bad behaviour. Meanwhile, Vadivambal joins their troupe. For Gomathi, it is love at first sight, but Vadivambal falls hard for Kali. Kali, however, is in love with Rangamma (Anaika Soti), the daughter of a local king. When Gomathi learns of this affair, he finds a way to deceive Kali and to become the Rajapattai. How this jealousy, anger and desire destroys the drama troupe, their lives and career, forms the rest of the story.
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. You want to cheer for Vasanthabalan for extracting some of the best performances from actors whose talent we’ve always underestimated. You also want to cheer for the makers for being gutsy and backing this offbeat attempt. Sidharth, who is the main protagonist in the movie has excelled with his strong performance and Prithviraj’s characterization and his performance is equally good. Vedhika has done a fantastic job in portraying her character. Supporting actors Nasser, Ponvannan and Thambi Ramaiah too have dished out excellent performances. Anaika Soti’s role doesn’t have much scope when compared to others.
The music is really out of world. There are many sequences where you can just close the eyes and just enjoy the fine music and the end credits takes more time for the music department. 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. Nirav Shah’s camera, make up by Pattanam Rasheed and costumes by Perumal Selvam and Niranjani Agathiyan offer a ringside view into the lives of theater artists in the pre-Independence era. Veteran Tamil writer Jeyamohan, who has penned the dialogues, has shown how mighty his pen can be.
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, this is a perfect package. The story is no big secret, and is predictable at most places, as to what it might lead to, in the next frame. The reason of sudden rise of pre-independence is also not well answered. The climax convinces but leaves multiple unanswered questions. But all said, Vasanthabalan has really laid out a beautiful drama, polished and perfected in each frame, for a classic entertainer for all, and especially for those who have a taste for retro. A well made classic..!! 🙂