'Jigarthanda DoubleX', produced by Kaarthekeyen Santhanam, S Kathiresan, and Alankar Pandian, has been released simultaneously in Telugu and Tamil. Director Karthik Subbaraj has a niche fan base in Telugu and a wide set of admirers in Tamil. With his latest film, which is a period action comedy, the director attempts to widen his horizons. Here is our review of the Diwali release:
Caeser (Raghava Lawrence) is a gangster who admires the work of Clint Eastwood. Ray Dasan (SJ Suryah), an aspiring cop, pretends to be a film director in order to make a coming-of-age, subversive gangster drama with Caeser as the hero. This unique attempt, unexpectedly, affects the lives of a tribal population in Kurnool district. The story, set in the 1970s, also involves a PM aspirant.
SJ Suryah dominates Raghava Lawrence in the first act. Later on, it is the latter who gets to showcase his tremendous acting skills. After his unbearable acting performance in 'Chandramukhi 2', Lawrence makes a comeback with a vengeance. As a gangster with an emotional past, he is superb. Suryah was whacky in 'Mark Antony'. In the film under review, he plays his career's most serious role.
Shine Tom Chacko of 'Dasara' fame plays the role of a CM aspirant who is a full-time actor. The character has not been fashioned after MGR or NTR and that's a big plus. Naveen Chandra plays a macabre cop with no mercy. Nimisha Sajayan, Sathyan, Aravind Akash, Ilavarasu, and others are seen in different roles.
Santhosh Narayanan's background score enlivens the coming-of-age drama in the second half. Although the songs feel like a rip-off, the BGM is solid. S Thirunavukkarasu's cinematography is a mixed bag. Shafique Mohamed Ali's editing choices are debatable. At more than 165 minutes, the film feels too lengthy. The Telugu version should have been cut short.
The production values are respectable. In keeping with the trend in Kollywood, the frames are deliberately dull because the story takes place in a backward region.
The political subtext is a highlight. However, the Telugu audience might not relate to it much.
The performance of Lawrence occupies the viewer's mind space.
Karthik Subbaraj's treatment scores marks.
The unpredictable character arcs. The 2014 film 'Jigarthanda' hasn't been exploited for commercial reasons.
The film pays a tribute to cinema, something cinephiles and serious movie lovers are going to love.
The revolt has been portrayed in a simplistic fashion.
The run-time is a major letdown.
The treatment may not be welcomed by the Telugu audience.
'Jigarthanda DoubleX' is an interesting film with a social and political subtext. While it is expected to do well in Tamil, the jury is out on whether the Telugu audience are going to appreciate the layered nature of the film.
Rating: 2.5 / 5