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‘Jailer’ – A Textbook Lesson in Rajininomics

by Venky

(Image Credit: http://www.indiaglitz.com)

If Karthik Subbaraj resurrected the ‘Rajini’ Brand with Kaali in Petta, Nelson Dilipkumar has reinforced it in no uncertain terms with Tiger Muthuvel Pandian in Jailer. After a hiatus of two years, the undisputed Superstar of Indian cinema, Rajinikanth is back on the silver screen and this time it is a no-holds barred masterclass in Rajininomics! The thespian actor makes an absolute mockery of his age by exuding a screen presence that is exhilarating! Not since Baasha and Padayappa has his fanatical fans been regaled with such a delectable mélange of style and pyrotechnic. From a deliberately docile introduction to a crescendoing climax, Rajini bosses it in his inimitable fashion. But, if you are a purist expecting an Oppenheimer kind of brilliance and tight knit dexterity in terms of plot and story line, then you are in for a massive disappointment. Simply because you are in the wrong movie hall!

Tiger Muthuvel Pandian is a retired jailer who spends most of his time entertaining his egregious grandson. Pandian’s son, Arjun (Vasanth Ravi) is a scrupulous Assistant Commissioner of Police who brooks no nonsense in the discharge of his responsibilities. A series of thefts involving idols from temples takes Arjun deep into the trails of a psychotic criminal, Varman (Vinayagan) who harbours a penchant for dipping his rivals in barrels of Sulphuric Acid (when not bashing in their brains with a hammer). Arjun’s sustained interference irritates Varman no end, and he decides to take matters into his own hands, an impetuous act which leaves Muthuvel Pandian, no choice but to enter the fray himself for protecting his family.  

The nub of the movie underpins a colossal clash of both wills and weapons between Muthuvel Pandian and Varman. This clash of the titans also unwittingly – and from the point of view of the audience spectacularly – triggers the involvement of an unlikely trio in the form of Narasimha (Shiva Rajkumar), Matthew (Mohanlal), and Kamdev (Jackie Shroff). Muthuvel Pandian’s wily and wonderous moves to best the murderously sadistic Varman from wreaking havoc upon his family occupies most of the movie.  

Shiva Rajkumar sizzles in his cameo role and has an electrifying air about him. I am convinced that this is not the last we have seen of this Kannada icon in a Tamil movie. Mohanlal is his effortless and effervescent self as he makes the most of the space allotted to him, which although not substantial, is certainly fulfilling! Jackie Shroff does his bit in adding to the spectacle as a whole and entertains, as usual. Vasanth Ravi as Arjun Pandian is a refreshing surprise. Ramya Krishnan as Muthuvel Pandian’s wife is her inimitable brilliant self. Yogi Babu as Muthuvel Pandian’s accomplice sends the audience into splits with his inimitable sense of humour and newly acquired status of a bankable comedian.  

Every Rajini movie needs a villain who is as formidable as the protagonist. That pedestal has remained unchallenged since the unfortunate and untimely demise of Raghuvaran. It was only Ramya Krishnan, who slugged it out toe to toe with Rajini and distinguished herself no end, as the unforgettable antagonist in Padayappa. Vinayagan as the demented and roguish smuggler does his best to nudge himself into the pantheon of decorated baddies in the Rajini paraphernalia. Juxtaposing a sickening savagery with crass humour, the talented Malayalam actor does his best to keep both Rajini and the audience engagingly infuriated.  

Anirudh has done a capital job with his enlivening music. The BGM, especially for Narasimha and Matthew is jaw-dropping. The songs are foot tapping and the one with Tamannaah in a special appearance has already gone viral.

However, Jailer is Rajini. His performance brings back nostalgic shades of Moondru Mugam and the eponymous memories of Baashaa. A blend of wicked wit and sublime style warms the very cockles of every fan of this ageless talent. Nelson has positively exploited every nuance and intricacy that is the singular prerogative and patent of the Rajini trademark. The twirl of the shades, dollops of slow-motion sequences, the crazy laughter, and even the once ubiquitous toss of a cigarette (the latter purely a momentary enactment since the actor has expressed his revulsion towards smoking). Both the timing and the dialogues are tailor made for Rajinikanth. Even Suresh Krishna of Annamalai fame would have approved the screenplay.

Jailer is an absolute feast for not just Rajinikanth fans but for all avid movie goers. But for the Rajini fanatics (which firmly includes this reviewer) it is an unsurpassed lesson in the very fundamentals of Rajininomics, the very scripture of the silver screen. Keep it simple, keep it subtle and most importantly keep it ‘Rajiniesque’! Jailer – Nelson’s seraphic tribute to the pinnacle of entertainment!

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