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Does the latest Rajini-starrer Jailer directed by Nelson measure up to the expectations?
In the past two decades, only two films – Sivaji directed by Shankar and Petta by Karthick Subburaj – were out-and-out Rajini films. They were cocktails of all the customary Rajinisms. Chandramukhi, Enthiran and Kabali tried to showcase Rajini slightly offbeat. Darbar and Annaathe could not hit the spot as they were confused over which road to take. The pre-2000 blockbuster Padaiyappa continues to be the benchmark for a win-win Rajini film.
The very title Jailer evokes expectations of Rajini donning the mantle of a jail official and indulging in his signature style. But the actual storyline of the film dashes to the ground all the expectations.
A retired jail official’s son works as Assistant Commissioner of Police investigating idol theft cases. The ACP disappears after arresting an accused in the idol theft network, triggering rumors that he was murdered. Now the retired jailer, provoked by the agony of his family members – wife, daughter-in-law and grandson – sets out on a revenge mission. The film delineates how he executes his mission, bringing to light his real face and real colors.
Director Nelson has conveyed the message openly very early that Rajini is not calm and composed as he seems to be. Then where is the need for maintaining suspense on this count? What kind of friendship the honest jailer has with gangsters is not explained properly
The film is not set in a jail, nor does it bring in drab prison experiences. Rajini does not indulge in duets nor does he hop on and off in action choreography. But it is a moot point if the film is a good fare worth watching by families.
Character in sync with age
In Jailer Rajini has appropriately essayed the role of a 60-plus man as he has done in his earlier films Kabaali and ‘Kaala.’ However, he seems to be fumbling, acting out as a 40-plus man in flashback. As he appears with a clean-shaven face, the furrows and wrinkles of age are quite manifest.
As Rajini is front and center in the film, Ramya Krishna, who comes as ‘Neelambari’ redux, has only four scenes. The actors Sivarajkumar, Jackie Shroff and Mohanlal play cameo roles just for evoking applause from the audience.
Rajini thundering deathly words is apparently just black humour. Yogibabu’s presence ensures that. The scenes wherein Telugu actor Sunil, Redin Kingsley and Tamanna Bhatia come and go seem to have been crafted as part of the ‘tragic comedy’ that the Jailer team has touted.
Villain Vinayagam’s gimmicks are reminiscent of the 1980s’ revenge thrillers.
Cinematographer Vijay Karthick Kannan and musician Anirudh have sweated it out to portray Rajini as a handsome character. It is thanks to their and other technicians’ joint efforts that fans go gaga as their idol fills the screen space.
The major drawback of the film that puts off even the ordinary Rajini fans and family audience as well is violence. The scene where Rajini measures with his eyes how high the blood spurts out of the beheaded body may be meant for the present generation, but is in bad taste.
Rajini has appropriately essayed the role of a 60-plus man as he has done in his earlier films Kabaali and ‘Kaala.’ However, he seems to be fumbling as a 40-plus man in flashback
Harks back to several films
Jailer reminds the audience of Kamal’s Vikram, Shankar’s Indian and Jeetu Joseph’s Papanasam. But the fact is that the stories of these three films were originally written for Rajini.
The 20-minute fight sequence before the interval in Kamal’s Vikram gave viewers lots of goosebumps. The Jailer does not have space for such exciting moments. The film, though, has certain shots that portray Rajini as a superman.
Director Nelson has conveyed the message openly very early that Rajini is not calm and composed as he seems to be. Then where is the need for maintaining suspense on this count? What kind of friendship the honest jailer has with gangsters is not explained properly.
There are scores of fans who want Rajini to be an evergreen screen idol on a par with Amitabh, Sean Connery or Clint Eastwood. And there are fans who want Rajini films to regularly hit the screen for entertainment.
Whether Jailer is a good watch depends on what sort of a Rajini fan you are!
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