Jigarthanda – Movie Review


Every once in a while you come across a movie which is so refreshingly different and has the director’s trademark style written all over it without necessarily pandering to the ‘lowest common denominator’ (read ‘box office collection contributing viewer’) tastes.

Jigarthanda by Karthik Subbaraj is one such whiff of fresh air to grace Tamil movie screens in the recent past. Along with the upcoming release of Kaaviya Thalaivan co-starring a personal favorite Prithviraj Sukumaran, this was one movie which I have been eagerly anticipating for quite a few months now after having seen their teaser on Facebook. And man, was the wait worth it or what!!!

Touted as ‘a musical gangster story’ in its promotions, the premise of this movie deals with Karthik, a struggling film maker who sets out to make a ‘gangster movie’ and comes to Madurai to research the life of ‘Assault Sethu’ (played wonderfully well by Simhaa of Neram fame), a gangster of some note there. While his initial efforts to get closer to Sethu via his minions come to naught, circumstances end up in a situation where he ends up convincing Sethu himself to volunteer for more information regarding his life.

One would assume that things would ease out for Karthik from this point onwards, but the beauty of the plot is that things take a sudden twist and the movie is pretty much turned around on its head from this point onwards. And that to me, was the beauty with which this movie turned from a relatively brow-beaten plot to something that ended up being immensely enjoyable. Obviously, I am not giving up any more plot points here as that would end up spoiling the entire movie for any potential viewers.

The director Karthik Subbaraj was somebody whose work I immensely enjoyed in his first outing Pizza and true to his trademark style, Jigarthanda also carries his signature all over it. Right from his choice of Simhaa (who seems to be a favorite of his even in his short films) as Sethu, to the choice of the lovely background music score by Santhosh Narayanan, to the awesome cinematography by Gavemic U Ary, this movie is the director’s ‘dark comic’ tribute to all gangster movies of yore.

All said and done, this is one movie which all lovers of cinema must watch in a theatre without fail. And it comes as no surprise that it is the talk of Chennai and its crazy fanatic movie fans nowadays. It appeals to the serious cine aficionado with its technical brilliance and to the regular average Joe movie fan who likes his punch dialogs and punches more. There’s something in it for everybody and that to me is the hallmark of a movie maker who knows his craft and his economics quite well.

One small complaint I have with this movie though is that in my personal opinion (and this is just me, as more than a few others who have seen the movie disagree with me) the ending could have been structured a little differently. In fact, I would even do away with the last three to four minutes at the very end, and this movie would still have been equally, if not more enjoyable to me. But as I stated earlier, this is just my personal opinion.

Just in case, you are not convinced about watching Jigarthanda yet, the movie trailers below will just help you change your mind.


7 thoughts on “Jigarthanda – Movie Review

  1. There are many Tamil movies which I think do justice to Cinema in general. I still remember enjoying Aaniyan more than I have enjoyed any MPD related movies in Hindi. But then that was Vikram we were talking about 🙂
    Nice one, will make a note of this movie as well.

    • @Seeta, while Tamil cinema has its own share of stars and superstars and the surrounding ‘star culture’ with the big budget movies and big opening weekends and all that, there is almost a parallel cinema movement which has sprouted in the industry over the past 4-5 yrs with new directors, smaller budgets, novel themes and committed passionate professionals. Jigarthanda is a prime example of how one of these parallel movies becomes successful even in a conventional sense.

      As for Anniyan, it was directed by Shankar of Jeans and Enthiran fame, and it therefore had to be memorable. Plus it was also Vikram at probably his best as well 😀

  2. I had been wanting to watch this movie for sometime now and your review has come right on time. Shall see if I can catch it during the weekend 🙂 Good review Jai 🙂

    • @pixie, am sure you will get access to the movie with subtitles sometime soon in the US of A and do make sure you watch it, it is more than just quite interesting, it truly is a lovely movie 🙂

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