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Film Review: Jigarthanda (Tamil)

December 27, 2014

This post was written months back. Was in backburners.


Went for  this picture with family at my favourite Satyam Cinemas this August. Night show. Watching films in multiplexes is a real nice experience. Go to pictures only with family. Last went to movies with friends before I got married – yeah Arvind Swamy’s ‘Roja’ (a bilingual in tamil/hindi) directed by Mani Ratnam. A R Rahman’s debut film.

So on average once in 3-4 years we go watch pictures as family – in the cinemas. Liked going to ‘Prarthana’ in ECR which is a drive-in cinema with the sea breeze caressing us from the shores in the background. Great romantic setting, where you can spread your mat in the grounds and watch films resting on pillow or on your hubby’s lap – we all do it hahaha 🙂 20 years back Prarthana was hot – and especially as my son was a toddler, we would take him there as it also had a play area in the sides wherefrom you could  still keep an eye on the screen. Little children can run and play and parents can keep chasing yet it was movie time with family. Over years, Prarthana has lost its charm, become crowded and so is no more a weekend destination for families. The traffic too discourages us from venturing anywhere to the other corner of the city nowadays. Moreover Praarthana is in doldrums last 10 years. Except for locals, others think twice about going there now – mainly for the trouble of parking your car moving in a queue and the mosquito menace.

Whatever, the cinema has to be good for me first and next comes the picture. Never been to other INOX screens in Chennai – Satyam is closest to us. Restrooms are good!!! Parking is hassle-free.

Oh actually been to one more INOX – it is… can’t get the name but there we had sofa for seats. Practically lay down in hubby’s lap watching the pic Robot hahaha. Only thing that puts us off is the terrace parking. The lift ride with your car boxed in and the queue after the film gets over are nightmarish. Now avoid it at all costs.

So if we at all go to pictures as family, we think about all these things. So fussy. I think about the time we used to go just like that with friends to any cinema, any picture, just for the sake of watching films in silver screen with jolly company.

Son chose this picture for us – because both of us parents have no idea which film is good to view in cinemas. Nowadays from choosing pictures to our mobiles to our notebook or whatever – son decides. Been so for last 7-8 years. Since when did we lose our capacity to decide anything on our own?!


Off track again, back to film review now: first let me clarify why this film merits a review: its a picture I have watched in the cinemas after atleast 3 years I guess. The last one was director Shankar’s ‘Robot’ – a Rajni Kanth starer and a Diwali release. In Robot, what i liked most was the picturization of songs over the film. Typical of director Shankar. Films like Jeans, Roja, Bombay, Dil se, Raavan, Hindustani, Saathiya, Rehna hei tere dil mein – all these you have watch the original tamil versions. Hindi versions are crude.

Adding a song here starring Ash & Rajni from ‘Robot’ (Enthiran in tamil) totally unconnected to this film review lolz (ok this is my blog, who can question me lolz)

Love this song ‘Kilimanjaro’ by A R Rahman. What verses.

Jigarthanda was a surprise – with hero played by Siddharth who is making a comeback in Tamil films after many many years, having had a moderate stint in Bollywood. Madhavan, Siddharth – great guys but unlucky guys who have not been tapped real well either in Bollywood or in southern film industry.

Its years since I’ve heard Siddharth speak Tamil – and what a way he speaks the local Madurai dialect. And what an actor! I have heard him speak at ISB , Hyderabad (in You tube only)  that i have already added here under another post: A very intelligent actor, rare to find in India as Sid confesses in ISB.

And Jigarthanda is a satire-comedy, not unheard of in Tamil cinema. We have had a few earlier – can’t recall, my son knows. In Hindi ofcourse we have had ‘Quick gun Murugan’ lolz.  Only that Jigarthanda is of a different kind – a curious mix of bloody violence, comedy, satire everything. Yet its a film without glamour quotient – no actor looks good, no good music nothing. Very fast delivery of dialogues, very sharp witty retorts, a film that keeps you in the edge of the seat through out.

I am saying this because some of the same genre, as I have seen, lose steam midway. This one didn’t.


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Nothing prepared me for the spontaneity with which Siddharth has embraced this role, living the character. The heroine is Lakshmi Menon of ‘Kumki’ fame, a natural actress.

Hated the film at the start for the violence content but in the intermission, son assured me the story was set to change tack from then on.’Its a satire Ma!’ he said, ‘relax and enjoy, now on you can’t laugh enough!’

Seriously! Nothing prepared me for the direction the script/screenplay took henceforth – good that there existed this element of suspense. Or perhaps for all that I claim to be, I still remain naiv!. My husband said, from the title of the picture and even from earlier scenes it was predictable. But whether he said this to impress son and corner me (as they do usually as a team) or he really had this inkling – i am not sure about. But the turnaround caught me by surprise – and it was a beautiful reckless u-turn in the picture! Difficult to handle first, but convincingly done until the fag end – kudos to the director and script/screen play writer – i think all this is one guy Vijay Sethupathi whose fan my son is.

I have to mention a word about Siddharth’s sidekick in the picture – a bespectacled married man who is caught in the melee. What a flourish and flavour he lends to the picture. And also the villain of the film – the don. My god, i am told he is relatively new face, now making waves in Tamil Cinema along with actor/director Vijay Sethupathi who is known for his shoe-string budget practical films that are a runaway success. The essence of his films is that, the heroes look like any average street guy (not that Rajni Kanth, once a bus conductor in his life who made it big looked any better, still…) There is not even the glamour of a sexy heroine in the film – its just the plain Lakshmi Menon, my favourite and out and out a natural. Worse, she is someone in the picture who none can fall in love with! Even the hero does half-heartedly lolz. Yet the film ran to packed houses – and even the midnight show we attended was fully booked, with every single seat reserved online almost 7-8 days earlier.

Want to see Siddharth and Madhavan more often in Tamil cinema. Big loss to our industry when they take up bollywood assignments. Maddy is simply great – just the local guy next door.

I liked the way the film finished without much fanfare – such a comedy. The villain is not ‘taught’ a lesson – not sent to jail in govt jeep. The reformation is impressive but realistic. The gradual manner in which the don is tamed is convincing. Superb direction.

Long time since I saw such meaningful cinema. Very… entertaining.  And after all what is the budget for the film. And how much did it gross in first few weeks. Bollywood guys, you have a lot, lot to learn from southern film producers and industry.

Editing is another feather in the cap. I like editing in Indian films most. This is what gives our films that extra appeal. This is very important in pictures. Tamil film editors have won many a national award not surprisingly. Editing and cinematography and script are the strongest points in tamil cinema always.

‘Jigarthanda’ means ‘cold heart’ ofcourse but it is also the name of apopular drink in Madurai, the second largest city in TN, known for its lawlessness. Basically a temple town known for Meenakshi Temple, truly a marvel much and over Taj Mahal a 1000 times and in World Heritage list already and even more ancient, Madurai has descended into utter chaos in last 2 decades. It is all filth and violence accumulated in one place, known for brazenness, crudity everything. Still it is also a very popular tourist destination.

None who goes to Madurai will miss its famous ‘Jigarthanda’ drink which is a milkshake with nuts like badam but served hot. Its like a whisked lassi laced with cardamom flavour but served hot – but it is actually a cool drink! So the name. A hot drink with a cold heart!!!!!

Since the story takes place in Madurai, it has been given the title. Another reason is the story itself. It may refer to the slow change coming over the villain who is a hardcore criminal.

The screen opens with Siddharth failing to win a tv show as a wannabe film director. Armed with a script, he steps into the office of the producer who speaks to his defence in the show only to discover that the man had played a role before the sets. Undaunted, Siddharth vows to return to the producer with a script that he wouldn’t be able to refuse – like that of a living legend, a don. He leaves for Madurai and shadows the reigning don of the city but is caught in the act. Shocked to discover that the don wants to play the hero himself, how the story transpires from here is interesting. And so, so funny.

Had a real quality time with family – because my men do not like romance stories. They want action, humour (if possible double-meaning jokes), punch dialogues everything. I think they also wanted to see a sultry heroine but were disappointed sorely!!!!!

A thoroughly enjoyable 2.5 hours that flew away in jiffy. It had been raining heavy when we were in the cinemas but we had no clue. The film consumed us totally. Its a while since i’ve watched such an engrossing, gripping story. Nowhere I lost interest through the plot and like my son said, I also got myself stomach ache laughing too much. SEcond part of the film was something like a bolt out of the blue.

Siddharth’s vernacular, very race, was another great surprise. Hats off man!!!!! Even I had some tough time following up the Madurai slang.

Actually my son and his friends are totally into this kind of Tamil flicks. He is also recommending these pictures for his dad. The trend started some years back with ‘Chennai 28’  a film on street cricket in the city. Ever since this genre of films are a hit with Chennai crowds – especially the movie-going young men & women.

I watched a film titled ‘Naduvula sila pakkatha kaanom’ (a few pages missing inbetween) in tv. Knew none of the cast but I understand it is also a big hit. My son reels out the names – almost over half a dozen in last 1-2 years, low budget films with totally unknown faces for stars and debut directors who have all hit the jackpot.

This current crop of tamil pictures is so different and it appeals to my son’s generation. They are looking for precisely this kind of slick scripts, practical, happening stories with natural cast.

Would like to see more of Siddharth in south. I hope this will be a turning point in his career. And I hope sincerely they do not remake/dub this film into Hindi. Please save south Indian films! After seeing what happened with ‘Billoo Barber’ (really how do these guys make such lousy film in bollywood always out of a very nice & meaningful south film?!), I am totally against bi-linguals/dubbed films/re-makes.



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