The former is the main lead whereas the latter one is the antagonist in the film. Nassar plays the role of a guru to these actors and the role of actress Vedhicka is inspired by the stage artist and singer K. B. Sundarambal. The original songs and film score were composed by A. R. Rahman. The film was dubbed into Malayalam as Pradhi Nayagan.
Through one of the discussions between director Vasanthabalan and script writer Jeyamohan about old drama schools of Madurai, Jeyamohan introduced Vasanthabalan to a book called Enathu Naadaga Vazhkai, an autobiography of theatre doyen Avvai Shanmugham which helped him script the film.Vasanthabalan was inspired by the musical drama based 1979 film Sankarabharanam and the 1983 film Salangai Oli by director Kasinathuni Viswanath.
Kaaviya Thalaivan was announced in September 2012 as a venture by the production house Y NOT Studios teaming with Vasanthabalan and Siddharth, the latter as the lead actor of the film. The team signed A. R. Rahman to compose the music for the film in December 2012. Research work for the final script was carried out for nearly a year wherein facts, references and whereabouts were collected from veteran theatre artists belonging to different theatre clubs existing in Madurai, Dindigul, Karur and Pudukottai. As the film portrays the lives of theatre artists, the facial looks of characters were given prime importance for which make-up artist Pattanam Rasheed was signed. Perumal Selvam and Niranjani Agathiyan have designed the costumes for the characters.In May 2013, convinced by the script, Prithviraj Sukumaran was signed to play a parallel leading role alongside Siddharth. In a press release of June 2013, the team revealed that actresses Vedhicka and Anaika Soti were also added to the cast thereafter, as were supporting actors Nassar and Thambi Ramaiah.Lakshmi Rai was also linked to play a role in the film but her inclusion remained unconfirmed.Pre-production works had begun by May 2013.Niranjani Agathiyan did additional make-up for the film.