The story is set in Mumbai, and it
is about a local messiah of the masses played by Sathyaraj,
while his son, played by Vijay, is living happily in Australia,
unaware of the happenings back home. After introducing us to the
short back story of Sathyaraj and his rise to power, the story
shifts gears and takes us down under.
In Australia, Vijay is seen as a dancer and also the owner of a
mineral water bottling plant. He falls in love with a fellow
dancer essayed by Amala Paul, who joins his troupe, and all is
well in their love story until Vijay returns to Mumbai. Back
home, circumstances force Vijay to rise to the occasion and
become a leader. He steps in his dad's shoes and what follows
forms the crux of the story.
We've seen and heard this story several times, haven't we? And
yet 'Thalaivaa' manages to impress momentarily, but where it
fails is in engaging on the whole due to its extended
screenplay, which clocks almost three hours. 'Thalaivaa' is
mostly shot in Mumbai, where Vijay's 'Thuppaki' was earlier
filmed and there was definitely a feeling of deja vu. In both
the films, Vijay comes to Mumbai, and happens to get himself
involved in some kind of mission to save mankind.
'Thalaivaa', like any other
recent Tamil film, follows a tested pattern of storytelling.
Make a highly entertaining first half that ends with a
pre-interval bang, followed by a second half with a twist and
lot of action. It's also one of those films where a common man
rises up to the occasion to walk around with an entourage and
eventually treated like a don.
The first half is packed with some good fun. Santhanam's comedy
and the eye-capturing cinematography in Australia, laced with
the chemistry between Vijay and Amala Paul, especially in one of
the dance sequences, is something to watch out for. This is
followed by a slow and stretched second half, which portrays
Vijay in his 'mass avatar' written almost on every frame.
The film's biggest letdown is its dragged narration that never
wants to end. And when it is finally about reach its end, we are
tortured with an additional song. If only director Vijay had
trimmed the film by a good half hour, 'Thalaiva' wouldn't have
earned the wrath of the audiences as well critics.
Nirav Shah's cinematography is top-notch as he successfully
translates the beauty of Australia on the big screen, while
capturing the frenzied atmosphere of Mumbai to perfection. G.V.
Prakash's work only gets notice in the background score as the
songs only end up breaking the flow of the narrative. A.L. Vijay
has completely gone haywire since 'Madraspattinam', which still
remains a path-breaking film in his career. In his effort to
make films with superstars such as Vikram and Vijay, he only
ends up churning half-baked products.