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Review: Jigarthanda is a fun ride

By S Saraswathi/
August 01, 2014 18:31 IST
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Siddharth and Lakshmi Menon in JigarthandaJigarthanda is an engrossing gangster film with a series of bizarre twists and turns that keeps you guessing, writes S Saraswathi.  

Director Karthik Subbaraj seems to have a fascination for naming his films after food items. His debut film was named Pizza and now he is back with a film titled, Jigarthanda (a popular beverage in Madurai).

Karthik proved right in his first film that he is a master of thinking out of the box and he does it here again. 

Jigarthanda is a totally unpredictable film. There is reality mixed in with creativity, terror with undercurrents of humour, sentiments, fleeting romance and loads of fun.    

The film has Siddharth and Lakshmi Menon in the lead, along with Bobby Simhaa and Karunakaran in significant roles.

The director has cleverly named his protagonist Karthik (Siddharth), who is a short filmmaker determined to graduate to mainstream cinema. Though he finds a producer to back him, it is on the condition that he will make a violent gangster flick. 

Karthik now needs a good script to impress his producer. For the script to be authentic, Karthik decides to find a real-life gangster and base the story around his life. After much research, Karthik zeroes in on Sethu (Simhaa), a ruthless killer, who rules Madurai with an iron hand. 

Karthik has a friend in Madurai, Oorini, and together they begin to track Sethu and his everyday activities. Kayal (Lakshmi Menon) and her mother, cook for Sethu and his men. Karthik decides to use her to gather information and pretends to be in love with her.

Meanwhile, Sethu hears through his grapevine that the police have plans to close his case with an encounter incident. He becomes more cautious and even as the first half comes to an end, Karthik and Oorini are caught red-handed trying to overhear their plans with a hidden speaker.

Sethu is furious. 

The rest of the story is all about how Karthik gets himself out of this mess.

The director has chosen his characters and technicians with much care and the results are exceptional.

Though Siddharth gives a commendable performance, Simhaa steals the show. He is chillingly menacing at times, while completely hilarious in others, but equally convincing in both.  A truly remarkable performance. 

Karunakaran and all the other gangsters with their individual eccentricities are also a credit to the director. Lakshmi Menon, however, has been sidelined.

Music by Santhosh Narayanan is a winner, while cinematographer Gavemic U Ary has found the best angle and perfect vantage point for every scene.  

Editing by Vivek Harshan, though, could have been tauter. 

Director Karthik Subbaraj’s brilliant script is complemented by excellent performances, compelling dialogues, perfect cinematography, and stimulating BGM. He has executed it perfectly too maintaining the fun and entertainment quotient throughout. 

It comes as no surprise that the film was featured in the list of the Five Indian Films to watch in 2014 by Forbes India Magazine published in December last year.

Jigarthandais definitely a must watch.

Rediff Rating: 

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S Saraswathi/ in Chennai