When historical fiction has become a genre directors tend to ignore intentionally, Vasanthabalan comes with a classic called as Kaaviya Thalaivan. He is easily one of the most underrated directors of Tamil cinema who, even after classics such as Veyil and Angaadi theru, is yet to capture the market his peers have already attained.
Kaaviya Thalaivan is the result of 1.5 yrs of research and this is obvious when seeing the end product. This is the story of a drama troupe led by Nassar set in the pre-independence era. Prithviraj and Siddharth play pivotal roles in the troupe and the ego that one of them sows branches out in various ways that makes the troupe to shatter. What happens to the troupe and its members along with a parallel romantic track/triangle with a pinch of patriotism forms the crux of Kaaviya Thalaivan.
This film has brought out some of the hidden talents of it’s artists as there is a lot of scope to showcase their skills which almost all of them have done it gracefully. Starting from the lead cast, Siddharth has given his best ever performance for a Tamil film in this film. Prithviraj with his darker shades has done justice to his role. Vedhika’s character is quite important as it has to travel both in the main story line as well as the love track. She has done an extraordinary job in all aspects, be it acting or dancing. The supporting cast members include Nassar, Thambi Ramaiah, Singampuli, Ponvannan and Mansoor Ali Khan. Each of them get a fair amount of screen space and they’ve done their bits really well. Probably the only eyesore was the so called second heroine Anaika Soti who should have been replaced with someone who could deliver the character with even more charm and grace.
Some commendable job behind the screen were delivered by many departments. Nirav Shah’s amazing cinematography with the golden feel for almost the entire film gave it the period touch required. A.R.Rahman is a huge plus not just in the music dept but also in the film’s promotion and as it’s cover image. After backing out of a Hollywood project just because this film provided him the challenge to deliver the music of 1920’s, he had to go thru a lot of research to deliver the right product. Special mention has to be given to the arts, costume and makeup depts.
The first half is racy with a few twists and turns that makes us eager for the second half. Not sure if its because of the expectation, but the second half takes the story on a different route that is considerably slower and since the climax is predictable, the ending seems to fall flat.
As with his previous films, Vasanthabalan has shown us a glimpse of the world his characters live in and as usual he has done it in style. Kaaviya Thalaivan will definitely be one his best films and one of the best we’ve seen this year. The slow pace of the film might not suit everyone’s taste but it’s definitely a film that can be enjoyed with family and friends. One of those must watch films thanks to its awesome performances.
Kaaviya Thalaivan – Kaaviyam