Jigarthanda is the hottest Tamil movie of this season. This is my review of the film after watching it with my family. And when I say family it is rather a mix of almost all age groups – a toddler, a small kid, a teen, a twenty something, a thirty something (me) and an almost 60 year old. In all honesty, this blog post is more about the experience of watching this film with them and is rather heavily influenced by their own opinions as well.
Plot: What happens when a young, aspiring director, who is desperate to get a strong first film, decides to push his luck trying to pursue a dangerous story? What will be the consequences for trying to infiltrate into the life of a real life gangster whose first line of thought is to kill anyone who crosses his path? Jigarthanda delves not just into this uncanny story line, but also manages to provide a rather unexpected twist in the end.
Effects: The film is more about the plot and performances of characters. Even the action sequences seemed more about the characters asserting their screen presence. There were a few nice shots when a flashback sequence rolled on screen; you get to see the gangster at various stages of his life, with changing colors, dressing style, movie posters (of corresponding era), but with same attitude. I felt this particular scene was nicely done. Overall I did find the audio and visual effects to be quite good.
Cast: Simhaa… This is the guy who leaves an inedible mark in your mind when you leave the theatre. But, this is to be expected, given the fact that this is a movie about a movie which is all about him and his character. He has definitely settled into his character. I felt Siddharth and Lakshmi Menon have given solid performances as well. Karunakaran comes with his simple sense of humor and nice timing that is fast becoming a trade mark for him. I felt the subordinates of Simhaa could have been more animated, but it becomes clear that they were really not supposed to be so, when a film trainer comes into the picture at a later point in the movie. Santhosh Narayanan‘s music becomes one with the movie.
Direction: To state the obvious – Karthik Subbaraj has cooked two good scripts in his first two movies. Whether it is about getting his cast to act or make them appear like they are acting, he has achieved it with ease. He has definitely stamped his authority on the entire story. But there is a thing about the way he has expected his audience (of all ages) to get comfortable with his style of storytelling that is riddled with ‘not so subtle’ lewd scenes (I’ll cover this later); I guess the story line demanded this and even this can be digested, but surely there could have been much lesser drinking or smoking sequences. At a point it felt like picking a cigarette was the only way a character could assert his command on the scene or boozing from the same bottle was the only way to show camaraderie.