Thalapathi Review – Thalapathi is a Tamil action drama released in 1991. The movie is an adapted version of the mighty king and warrior Karna from the great Indian epic Mahabharata. Surya born as an illegitimate child is abandoned by his Mom and left on a basket in a goods train. He is then raised by lower caste people living by a river side. He grows up to become a loyal friend and henchman for gangster Devaraj. Both of them run parallel government in the city while the lawmen await an opportunity to take them down.
Diwali of 1991 is unforgettable for me. I was down with flu and was sad for not able to go out to watch the much awaited release of Thalapthi which went on to become a cult classic and a blockbuster. The movie’s release expectations soared sky high with Director Maniratnam and Rajinikanth coming together for the first time. Popular actors like Mamooty and Amrish Puri sharing screen space. The soundtrack of the movie was already a super duper hit with the Ilayaraja’s violin orchestra starting off the ever famous “Raakamma Kaya Thattu” song which later went onto become the 4th most popular songs of all time in a BBC worldwide service poll across the world. The ticket reservations began a week ahead of the release and the tickets for the first time I had seen did not look like a movie ticket but looked like a mini poster with Rajinikanth and Sonu walia’s dancing still. Finally once I got well I couldn’t wait but rushed to the theater to watch movie which was already declared to be a hit with repeat audience thronging the theaters.
Director Maniratnam is a brilliant story teller. He has taken the story of Karna and made it into a cult classic. Although the movie has been told so many times as part of the epic but still Thalapathi was a very compelling watch for the screenplay, the treatment, acting performances, star cast, music, cinematography and direction. Everything was set so perfectly for this movie that made it an evergreen hit. For the first time the Tamil audience saw a very different performance from Rajinikanth. Although the story had much of the commercial elements that you would want in a Rajini movie, this one had everything in a very convincing fashion and the scenes brought out various emotions from Rajini. Be it fighting with rage, shouting out emotionally to his girlfriend, caring for his best friend, melting for his mother’s love Maniratnam got the best out of Rajinikanth after K.Balachander. He rediscovered the actor who was lost in the color of commercial cinema. The dialogues of the movie are of top notch. The sequence where there is meeting between the collector, SP, Devaraj and Surya is impact full with circular tracking shot. The movie released in 70mm which made everything on the screen look magnificent. There is never a dull moment in the movie.
Overall the movie is a feast for all movie lovers and still stands the test of time.
Must Watch – Epic