Thank God It Is Friday and the biggest weekend of the year is here! And there are so many releases this weekend that I will have to work overtime to watch and review them. I am quite looking forward to this challenge, so here is me rolling up my sleeves and raring to go! First up, I have finished watching the new Tamil film Jailer starring Super Star Rajinikanth and directed by Nelson Dilipkumar. There was a huge clout of doubt surrounding the film given that both Nelson and Rajnikanth were coming on the back on substandard films. While Nelson had the forgettable Beast under his belt, the last Rajini sir hit was years ago.
I was more interested in how Nelson would handle the star power of Rajinikanth given how hos previous venture Beast had succumed to the star power of Thalapathy Vijay resulting in a disastrous film which was panned across all quarters. The biggest strength of Nelson as a director is his black humour lacing the standard commercial trope which has resulted in some memorable films like Kolamaavu Kokila and my favourite Doctor. With Jailer, he had a daunting task in hand, to play to his strength while catering to the star power of Rajinikanth, both aspects which seemed like polar opposites to each other. So then with much anticipation, I ventured into Jailer in a theatre which was packed with excitement. So then does Jailer manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Jailer follows the story of a father seeking for his missing son while trying to counter those responsible for the same. Now I have purposely kept the story vague given that it has so much more to offer. But the good news is that the story ticks all the commercial tropes of a mass masala entertainer while keeping the trademark Nelson Black Humour in tact, which results in such a fun outing at the cinemas. The screenplay standing at almost 3 hours(170 minutes to be precise) was daunting and while it was a fun watch, atleast 20 minutes could have been chopped off on the edit table.
Before even the drama started to unfold, the biggest cheers were reserved for the Boss and Anirudh. The moment ‘Superstar Rajini’ flashed on the screen, the capacity crowd did bring the roof down and how. The loudest cheers were also reserved for Anirudh who is at the top of his game! So the crowd had nicely warmed up to the film even before the drama had begun! The drama does begin with a brief context on what the characters would be after, followed by the introduction of a menacing antagonist who has a whacky sense of humour as well. Soon, the crowd go berserk following the introduction of the protagonist, our beloved Rajini sir, who was met with the loudest cheer.
I did like how the writers did well in establishing the world as opposed to simply kick starting the drama in the name of mindless entertainment. There was purpose to the drama with respect to the character dynamics until the first conflict of the film is introduced in the form of the disappearance of the son of the protagonist. The proceedings are laced with dark humour including some amazing comedy set pieces between the character that did leave me in splits. Yet, that never really took the focus out of the main plot which is engrossing and worth investing your time in. The makers do not shy away from displaying violence and gore along with loads of blood. But there is a sense of playfulness to it as well. This is particularly true for the interval block that sets up things so wonderfully well for things to follow!
It is in the second hour that the film slips up with the drama(along with it being borderline cringe). The entire love triangle between folks of the film industry added nothing to the main plot while just adding crucial minutes to the overall runtime. But thankfully this 20 odd minute period is overcome well by the writers who reboot the black humour quotient in the film. There are subtle twists and turns in the events leading up to the final act. But by the time the final act is executed, the entire crowd cheered and hooted and this turned out to be a fruitful theatrical experience! Overall, the screenplay only briefly slips up while delivering a wonderful mass masala entertainer!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are sharp and targeted at utilizing the star power of Rajini sir. And trust Rajini sir to mouth some of the most simple lines with dollops of swagger. The music by Anirudh is excellent and it keeps a tab on the vibe of the drama with some jazzy and vivacious beats. But it is the BGM which is just brilliant in every sense of the word, and it goes to show how much Anirudh has understood the world of Nelson. The cinematography is outstanding capturing certain action set pieces with a lot of panache. The editing was good for most parts barring the 20 odd minutes in the middle post the outstanding interval block! Director Nelson Dilipkumar is back with a bang! He has learnt from the previous mistakes which were committed in Beast which results in him playing to his strengths and not compromising on his vision as a director. He does infuse the drama with loads of black humour and that ascends the film into a territory of brilliance. This, while he balances things with the right utilization of the star power of Rajini sir (and a few others which I will mention in my next section). The direction was fabulous here.
The performances are pretty good here. There are charming cameos from Jackie Shroff and Makarand Deshpande. But amidst the cameos, the loudest cheers were reserved for Mohanlal and Shiva Rajkumar. If there are any budding directors out there, notice how Nelson was presented the star figures here, making them walk in slow motion with a killer outfit and an inherenr swagger that was met with whistles and claps. I would go far to say that this was perhaps the best Mohanlal appearance since Drishyam 2 and it marks his mini comeback too. We surely need spin-off stories of Shiva sir and Mohanlal sir, Nelson are you listening??
Ramya Krishnan and Mirnaa Menon are good but have little to do. Vasanth Ravi as Arjun is well restrained in a job well done. Sunil and Yogi Babu are fabulous with their comic timing. The actor playing the sidekick to the antagonist was tremendous too(sorry couldn’t find his name). Vinayakan was an interesting choice to essay the role of an antagonist and he was absolutely brilliant. He was menacing and eccentric while being playful with his humour too. It was a treat to watch him at loggerheads with Rajini Sir.
But the film belongs to the obe and only Ranjinikanth who is back with a bang! His swagger and moves are on full display while not compromising on the script. It goes to show that even the best of stars need good directors to cater to the masses. He is brilliant, scoring in comedy and combat sequences making it a memorable comeback for him!
Jailer is an entertaining drama with dollops of dark humour that just got Rajinified! I had a blast with the capacity crowd. Ahhh, good times at the cinemas again! Available in a theatre near you.