Vintage Movie Review: A Review on Thalapathi

Vintage Movie Review: A Review on Thalapathi

By isn't responsible for the views expressed by the visitor in this column. The visitor claims that this column is his/her own. If the column infringes any copyrights that you hold, please email us at

Among many classic epics, one movie particularly brought the best of everybody associated with it. On Deepavali day 1991, celebration would have been bigger than usual. The reason was the gargantuan release of Thalapathi.This film also marks the first time collaboration of the master director, Mani Ratnam and Superstar Rajinikanth himself. One might ponder, why such hullabaloo surrounding this movie? The explanations are explained as follows.


Adapting a story from the Indian mythology is not new in Indian cinema.Conversely, the modern day depiction of Mahabharata which is still revered as the epitome of friendship was never shown with such benevolence before. Depicting the friendship of Karna and Duryodhana and the events surrounding them is the crux of Thalapathi. Surya (Rajinikanth) an orphan from the slum is a fearless lad who befriends the local don Deva (Mammoty). Together, they combat injustice against the law on their own terms which is hailed by the public. However, the arrival of the new district collector Arjun (Arvind Saamy) who wants to stop this duo forms the story of Thalapathi.


Thalapathi boasts a huge experienced star cast. Rajinikanth as Surya is one of the best character oriented roles donned by the superstar in the recent years.  His effortless style and rugged looks sums up a role tailor made for him. The angry and fearless Rajinikanth portrayed, is pulsating in every scene. One such example is the scene that takes place in the office of the collector. The insistence of Surya on taking the law by their hands and the dialogue Thoddra pakkalam uttered is still unmatched till date.Mammoty as Deva has given weight to the role and reacted well to the dialogue delivery. His calm and composed posture as a leader worked well. His chemistry with Rajini is top notch. Shobana as Surya’s love interest did a good job. Her homely looks and her traditional outfit matched her characteristic of an orthodox Brahmin family. The likes of Jaishankar, Srividya, Arvind Saamy, Amrish Puri and other stars  justified their roles though had limited screen space.


The towering plus of Thalapathi will have to be the technically sound team. Director Mani Ratnam made characters that suits, lives and lingers in your mind even after you leave the theater. The screenplay is woven tightly and unveiled with an exemplary narration made surrounding the protagonist.  Maverick cinematographer Santhosh Sivan also delivers behind the lens for his first film with Mani Ratnam. His opulence and overhead shots are well etched and the experimental lightings give the feel of nostalgia. Surya is synonym with the Sun. Hence, one can see the brilliance of Sivan when he captures the effulgence of the sun illuminating behind Surya in many scenes, giving a silhouette shot especially the scene when he confronts Jaishankar in particular. Class act!


Ilayaraja’s renditions act as the main pillar carrying the film by moving the screenplay with his transitional music. All numbers are well composed. The Rakkama number showcases the excellent use of violin and gives a sense of celebration. Contrariwise, the theme song in particular steals the show. A scene where Surya locks the door in the police station and beats up a policeman is heavily elated by the soundtrack with MASS written all over.


In a nutshell, Thalapathi delivers as expected. Justified by great actors and technical crew, Thalapathi marks an auspicious beginning for a new age crime drama in Indian cinema. A timeless film, and has a cult following all for the right reasons.


Verdict: Rajini as the Thalapathi commands all the way through. A classic epic elated by big guns, a sure shot cracker for Diwali!


Narendran R

Want to publish your column too?
Please send your column to