With this week’s big release Jagame Thandhiram, Tamil superstar Dhanush and director Karthik Subbaraj collaborate for the first time ever. After directing Dhanush’s father-in-law, and Indian megastar, Rajinikanth in the superhit Petta, there were high expectations from the maverick director to deliver an entertaining blockbuster with Dhanush. With Jagame Thandhiram releasing straight to Netflix due to the pandemic situation, at least, there is no box office comparison. But is Jagame Thandhiram as good as the director’s earlier efforts, at least on par with Petta? Jagame Thandhiram Movie Review: Dhanush’s Gangsta Swag Is Lost in Karthik Subbaraj’s Unapologetically Flawed Netflix Saga.
Sadly, Jagame Thandhiram comes across an overstretched, predictable gangster fare whose only spark comes from Dhanush’s showy performance. Dhanush plays Suruli, a Madurai-based restaurateur-cum-gangster who is brought to London by a British don Peter (James Cosmo) to eliminate his rival, a Tamil mob boss Sivadoss (Joju George). Aishwarya Lekshmi plays Attila, a singer at a pub who is a single mother and a love interest for the hero.
Jagame Thanthiram crams in immigration problems, Sri Lankan Tamil crisis and white supremacy in an over-stretched screenplay. The one saving grace of the film is the climax that feels more like it has that Karthik Subbaraj stamp that is sorely missing from most of the film. So what happens there? (Warning: MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD!)
After killing his aide, Peter forces Suruli to kill a left-wing politician who is against the immigrant extradition law. However, Suruli turns over the play, murdering most of Peter’s men. In what could have been the white supremacist’s biggest fear (reversal of what British did to India 200 years back), Suruli and his men lay siege on his castle, killing rest of Peter’s gang-members and traps Peter in his room. Suruli also bribes a ‘white ‘rat’, someone in Peter’s gang to damage his gun, rendering him defenceless.
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However, against his aides’ wishes, Suruli doesn’t want to kill Peter and have an easy way out. Instead, Suruli wants him to have a taste of how terrible an illegal immigrant’s life is. So they pack Peter off to Israel-Arab border, and gives him a fake passport of a non-existent country to making a person without any nationality. Russo Brothers Wish Dhanush Good Luck for Jagame Thandhiram, the Actor Responds.
Peter threatens that he will return, and Suruli tells his aides that it might happen. However before they go, the local who drove them there, gives Peter a canister of water.
What Happened There?
By leaving Peter alive, the movie opens the door slightly ajar for the villain to return for a possible sequel (though the less-than-average reception to the film could bring that chance to nil). However, it remains to be seen how Peter can survive the unfriendly terrain for a man of his age and without proper papers. Considering that his passport was his ‘white power’ the privilege that he thinks elevates his status among the non-white folk, it is an apt punishment for the murderous bigot to die in a land, that has been ravaged in oil wars promoted by his country.
But the icing on the cake for his punishment was the kind act by the local who left him the canister of water – a person whose skin colour was a factor enough for Peter to thrown out of Britain as an immigrant. So even if Peter returns (if he can manage to reach a Britain embassy), he might not be the same man again. That act of kindness will haunt and taunt him. And when he returns, Suruli would be a ruling gangster of the town, but he will be carrying forward the work of the slain Sivadoss (Joju George), helping the illegal immigrants there. With the arrest of the MP who was supported by Peter, the BICORE law that would have expelled the immigrants would be put on a backburner, thus making their lives easier. Though Jagame Thandhiram is set in UK, the BICORE issue also reminds of the CAA-NRC controversy back home. What say? Jagame Thandhiram is streaming on Netflix.
(The above story first appeared on Stock Market Pioneer on Jun 18, 2021 07:41 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website stockmarketpioneer.com).