Karthik Subbaraj was one of the directors to watch out for who surprised the audience with his fresh and unique way of story telling in the early 2010s. The director went into hiding in the past 3 movies succumbing to various aspects. Fortunate for tamil cinema, Karthik Subbaraj has announced his return to form with a captivating and possibly one of the best tamil films of the year, Jigarthanda DoubleX. Jigarthanda DoubleX is a cinema about cinema presented in a profound way to leave an impact on the audience.
In an interview, Karthik said that he never wanted to cast Bobby Simha as Assault Sethu in the first part of the movie but he had to choose him 'cause he couldn't find any other suitable actor. While that turned out to be casting masterclass, Raghava Lawrence as Allius Ceasar is another excellent casting choice by the director.
While the dancer-actor was hell bent on self sabotaging his career with crap movies, Karthik has ordered a jackpot of a role that Lawrence aces so very well. There's an amazing screen presence to the actor. When he's on screen, you cannot watch any other characters, such arresting performance delivered by the actor.
The versatility of SJ Surya is a well known asset. While he went enjoyably overboard in Mark Antony, DoubleX offers SJ Surya an opportunity to prove that he's not just an actor who has to shout loudly to prove his eccentricity. There are simple expression and reaction that he does so wellthat you forget it's SJ Surya on the screen.
The story is well written that perfectly fits the period setup. Tamilnadu politics and cinema has always been intertwined, hence when the crux of the movie is showcased the audience can actually buy it without any hesitation. I do wonder if this plot could work in any other region of the country. The story is dense with ample characters and enough subplots that we are hooked to it right away. The screenplay albeit being predictable keeps you engaged with splendid staging. The final 30 minutes of the movie reaches a whole new dimension with unexpected turn of events and the making of those scenes couldn't be more stellar. Karthik Subbaraj proved his mettle as a writer once again with well written emotional scenes. The dialogues as well from Karthik are simple yet effective.
Moving to technical aspects, Santhosh Narayanan is the hero behind the screens. The movie laces a western, period and tribal theme into one and the score of the movie as well is an amalgamation of these 3 that's mixed perfectly to provide an absorbing score. There are certain portions in the climax that would have heavily misfired if not for Santhosh's music, top tier work. The cinematography and camera work was fantastic in presenting the 70s outlook perfectly on the screen.
For a movie that mostly ticks all the boxes does a few mistake that pulls down the overall experience a bit. Firstly, the movie could have been trimmed atleast 10-20 mins to provide an even better experience. Secondly, I wished the character of SJ Surya is sketched better. The movie wants us to root for him as we are initially introduced to him as the "hero" but it doesn't provide enough points for us to support his cause. Finally, the movie reaches a whole new level in the final 30 minutes and it could feel like exaggeration. But then, what's cinema without exaggeration.
𝗢𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗹𝗹, 𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰 𝗺𝗼𝘃𝗶𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗞𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗸 𝗦𝘂𝗯𝗯𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗷 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗵𝗲'𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗴𝗼𝘁 𝗶𝘁.
P.S.: Jigarthanda DoubleX is my movie of the year surpassing Maaveeran and Por Thozhil. Loved it!