Initial release: August 27, 2020 (India)
Official Release: 18 June 2021 (Netflix)
Director: Karthik Subbaraj
Cast: Dhanush, James Cosmo, Aishwarya Lakshmi, Joju George, Kalaiyarasan, Sharath
Music by: Santhosh Narayanan
Producers: S. Sashikanth, Chakravarthy Ramachandra
Cinematography: Shreyaas Krishna, Nijai Gowthaman
Synopsis: A local thug in Madurai goes to London to be a mob spy. What happens when he starts unveiling deeper truths within?
Disclaimer: This review is 100% my own opinion. If it offends anyone, I am not responsible as this is just my view on the film as an avid moviegoer and fan of Dhanush and Karthik Subbaraj equally.
The film is a drag to sit over for over three hours. But Jagame Thandhiram wants to discuss certain important concerns, such as the immigrants’ situation, especially the Sri Lankan Tamils, who are struggling for acceptance in the UK. This is a wonderful idea, but what is the point when you do not have a movie investing most of its time. Despite the hard work of Dhanush, Suruli is not somebody you can relate or root for. He seems primarily self-centered, and everything he needs is a tale in the flashback of Sri Lanka to turn him into a more enthusiastic person. Uhmm??
Let us start with the positive things that appear in JT. Firstly, DHANUSH. He basically saved the movie. Throw any character to him and he will mould it perfectly. Dhanush is at that level. Suruli is certainly one of the best characters he has played. Dhanush himself said he really enjoyed being Suruli and given a chance, he would love a part 2. He loved that role so much that he nailed it easily. The actor par excellence indeed.
Secondly, Santhosh Narayanan. The combo of SaNa and Dhanush has been extremely wonderful since Kodi. Need not say about Vadachennai and the recent blockbuster Karnan. SaNa elevated so many scenes in JT with the electrifying background scores. If it were not for SaNa, I guess many of the scenes would go slow and blank. Thirdly, social messages in the film. There was too many hard hitting, reality slap kind of dialogues addressing serious issues; Immigrants lives, refugees, racism, xenophobia, white supremacy, how humans should be treated, treason and backstabbing, Sri Lankan war.
Source: Twitter Joju George
The element of the film is certainly seen targeting foreign Eelam Tamils who live in many other parts of the world who would be able to connect to the film BUT the message of the film was not sent across clearly. There is a lot that could have expressed in depth, better where screenplay was concerned because the social message is strong.
Karthik’s 2nd attempt of addressing Eelam Tamils sentiments after his first short film; Kaatchi Pizhai. The intention and the idea are really appreciated but the execution where Jagame Thandhiram was concerned was disappointing. As a person who has been Karthik’s fan since Pizza, I was shocked by the outcome of the film. I am just wondering if there is a way, we can watch the uncut version of the entire film because there are so many scenes cut off which I felt would have made the audience feel a tad bit better about the film? Mass scenes would have been celebrated by fans!
In its violence and humour, Jagame Thandhiram never thrives, as the Jigarthanda did. The trouble is that Suruli, his persona, I cannot ever get a hold of it. You acquire brief information, as when his mother says she is not a good parent. But you have more questions than answers concerning him in the film. Who is he? Why did he end up like a thug in Madurai? What about his cooking love? The parotta shop? What about the assassinating spree with Baba Baskar? What about the longing for money? And if he was so cruel, how is he deeply touched by a small story by Atilla? (Aishwarya Lakshmi) You would not be able to connect the dots and that was a huge loophole.
Most importantly, cut scenes. Due to a release on Netflix, they had to cut off some scenes but boy oh boy… the consequence of cutting the scenes has cost fans to lose their interest as we were watching the film. The editing was bad where you had to suddenly figure out why this scene is here and what is happening. It was not neatly done. It is understandable due to a Netflix release scene cutting was required but guess it became a blunder. Sadly..
FUN FACT: Jagame Thandhiram was released in 190 countries and in 17 Languages! Huge thing for Actor Dhanush 🥰
It is deceptive and fragile in the narrative of love itself. The film urges you to relate to Atilla’s great feeling, yet this bond is never deep. Suruli sees this woman and states that he is in love and wants to marry. Atilla, the singer, seemingly, only accepts to sit in a chat with him randomly for a single scene. And she is meant to have formed affections for him before you know it. For only a minute in this movie, I did not understand the growth of their relationship. Fully ineffective fake despite Suruli sort of being in love. With Bujji and Nethu song deleted, the love scenes sort of does not link well. Songs do play a part after all.
Source: Netflix Twitter
This film must enlighten us more about its characters. Who, for example, is Peter (James Cosmo)? What are his profound thoughts on people of colour, apart from his general, racial commentaries? How much impact does he have on the government? Sivadoss (Joju George) is a main character, but then again, there is no time to introduce him. We hear of him through a basic flashback narrative that archives a political catastrophe in one burst. Incomplete again!
Jagame Thandhiram by Karthik Subbaraj appears as an ambitious film about policy on immigration. The message is there but not clear enough and less depth in it. Sadly, despite its enticing concept, what ends up is a ravaged gangster drama about a local goon, Suruli from Madurai, portrayed by Dhanush flawlessly. Jagame Thandhiram is not Karthik’s best but still, it is watchable. It is not bad, but it could have been way better. Well done to the team for such effort. 6.5/10 for me. I’m no movie expert and I do not want to be seen criticizing the team, it is merely a point of view. Nevertheless we have to congratulate them for the bold move of releasing it on Netflix!
What did you think of the film? Let me know in the comments! Cheers. #LetsRakita