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Rajinikanth watches Thalaivii at a private screening, calls and lauds director Vijay

According to reports, Rajinikanth liked the movie, especially the detailing in recreating the bygone era.

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Superstar Rajinikanth watched the Kangana Ranaut-starrer Thalaivii (2021), a biopic of the late actress-turned-politician J Jayalalithaa, at a private screening yesterday and lauded the work of director AL Vijay. Rajinikanth called and congratulated Vijay on the movie. 

Thalaivii, which was released in theatres last week, has opened to a mostly positive response from critics and audiences alike. The film stars Ranaut as Jayalalithaa while Arvind Swami plays the late MG Ramachandran, her long-time co-star and political mentor.

According to reports, Rajinikanth was impressed by the movie on the life of his Poes Garden, Chennai, neighbour — someone whom he had considered challenging in the political arena 25 years ago, only to back off — especially the detailing in recreating the bygone era. The film, which was released in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, also stars Samuthirakani, Madhoo, Thambi Ramaiah and Regina Cassandra.

Ranaut, whose previous release in theatres was the sports drama Panga (2020), spent close to six months prepping for Thalaivii. She underwent Bharatanatyam classes, learnt Tamil and even spent hours in prosthetic make-up sessions.

When Ranaut was chosen to play Jayalalithaa, there was some backlash from Tamil cinema fans and political supporters. Soon after the announcement, director Vijay clarified his stand on roping in the Hindi film star in an interview with The Times of India newspaper.

“This is a pan-India film, and Kangana is apt for the role," he insisted. "She is one of the biggest stars in India today and I think it is right that a top star plays the role of an important politician. This way, the story will also reach audiences across India. We consider this a pan-Indian film, not a regional one.”