Karthik Subbaraj with Jigarthanda has delivered another interesting and intriguing film. It is bold and cannot be slotted into any genre. All ingredients associated with commercial cinema are mixed and served efficiently, though the dish itself becomes cold by the end.
Till interval, the film is super-fast and they are the best moments in the film. Karthik (Siddharth) is an assistant director who is thrown out of a reality new filmmakers show, as his short film was disappointing. Heartbroken, Karthik has the support of one of the judges (Aadukalam Naren) who believes he has the stuff to be a great director and is willing to back him if he does a script on a real life gangster!
Karthik travels to Madurai looking to make a film based on the life and times of the notorious rowdy Assault Sethu (Bobby Simha). He teams up with his old friend Oorni (Karunakaran) and the duo tries to dig up enough backgrounder for their film. They get help from Kannama (Lakshmi Menon), the daughter of the women who makes idli’s for Sethu! However mid-way through their script research, they experience an unexpected twist and realises they have caught a tiger by its tail!
The highlight of the film is the performance of its lead actors. Siddharth is earnest and convincing as the meek assistant director. He is simply terrific in the scenes where he plays a cat and mouse game with the gangster. Lakshmi Menon without any make-up nails the characters grey instinct in a telling manner. Karunakaran raises quite a few laughs with his comic antics. But truly the film belongs to Simhaa. He is electrifying especially in the first half, where he brings out the viciousness and violent streak of the character along with that eerie laughter.
Santosh Narayanan’s background score is the major plus of the movie, as he is able to capture the mood of the film. The songs are good, short and mostly in the background. The cinematography of Gavemick takes it to a different level, he has beautifully captured the outdoor and night-effect rain scenes giving the story the right tone. The first half of the film sails through effortlessly, but it is the change in genre and the ‘surprise twist’ that slows down the film in the second half.
The characterisation of the lead actors change, and it sort of becomes a satire laced with black comedy. Definitely the film needs trimming. 171 minutes is an over indulgence by the director, if he was a bit more concise it would have been nothing short of a classic.
Jigarthanda is still a good appetising drink, that you can sip on.
Verdict - Good