Kaaviya Thalaivan Movie Review

Review Overview

Screenplay & Direction
Technical Aspects & BGM

Revitalizing Reminiscence Of The Theatrical Era!

Vasantha Balan's Kaaviya Thalaivan is a lovely throwback to the 1930s drama era but is let down by a tepid writing. It succeeds in revitalizing that discredited era but the realist drama that could have been brought on screen with the subject's eminent potential remains a miss.

Cast: Siddharth, Prithviraj, Vedhika, Anaika Soti, Nassar, Thambi Ramaiah, Ponvannan, Babu Antony, Singampuli & others

Cinematography: Nirav Shah

Music: AR Rahman

Dialogues: Jeyamohan

Editing: Praveen KL

PRO: Nikkil Murugan

Screenplay: Jeyamohan & Vasantha Balan 

Direction: Vasantha Balan

Producers: Varun Manian & Sashikanth

Banner: Radiance Media & Y Not Studios

Distribution: Dream Factory

Release Date: 28-11-2014

Run Time: 02:31:00

Vasantha Balan’s Kaaviya Thalaivan is a lovely throwback to the 1930s drama era but is somewhat let down by a tepid writing. The film is visually ambitious and highly sincere with gorgeous production values. It’s a cocktail of rivalry, friendship, betrayal, ego and love built on that cornerstone of an actor’s dream, appreciation. Kaaviya Thalaivan looks definitely earnest in parts, but to call the end result an absolute triumph would be an overstatement.

Kaliyappa Bhaagavathar (Siddharth) and Gomathi Nayagam Pillai (Prithviraj) grow under the tutelage of Thavathiru Sankaradas Swamigal (Nassar) who spearheads a well-organized drama troupe. Siddharth’s towering accolades for his enactions in various plays frequently eclipse Prithviraj’s conventional-but-sincere acts. Prithviraj’s deep-seated animosity against Siddharth matures day by day and he takes advantage of an unfortunate situation and conjures up a resenting plan to get rid off Siddharth from the troupe. What happens thereafter to the troupe which is highly praised for its integrity is told through a scratchy narration. The second half takes a tedious detour and offers an underwhelming reminiscence of the pre-independence era with a kitschy screenplay. The film’s last few minutes succumb to filmmaker’s compulsive obsession to evoke a doleful climax and appears fairly pretentious and contrived.

Kaaviya Thalaivan is an actor’s film, with some bang-up moments and terrific performances within an uneven story which is rightly shouldered by a nifty technical work. In fact, it would not be a hyperbole to call this as Siddharth and Vedhika’s (as Ganakokilam Vadivambal) best appearances in front of camera. Siddharth’s soaring laughter in a scene where he outperforms Prithviraj with his improvised performance is a delight to watch. Prithviraj as a self-centric, begrudging Gomathi Nayagam Pillai effortlessly delivers a sterling performance. Nassar (Thavathiru Sankaradas Swamigal) as a hard taskmaster and mentor to Prithviraj and Siddharth carries his role with pride. Save your admiration for the performances, guys.

Jeyamohan’s sharp, thoughtful dialogues are refreshing. Nirav Shah’s dazzling camerawork takes us back to the pre-independence era supported by Santhanam’s meticulously-constructed setpieces.While AR Rahman’s songs for the film are musical masterpieces, the background score is unstimulating and middling, at best.

Kaaviya Thalaivan succeeds in revitalizing that discredited era but the realist drama that could have been brought on screen with the subject’s eminent potential remains a let down.

Kaaviya Thalaivan Movie Review Rating:  3.25/5