Sometimes, to escape from the harsh reality of the world around us, we need a simple film that puts our brains to rest and cheers us up. Karthik Subbaraj’s Jagame Thandhiram is that kind of film. Although it speaks about the Tamil refugee issue, the treatment is so light that it becomes an easy watch.
The film opens with three gangsters. The first one is an English xenophobe named Peter [James Cosmo], who wants his land to be free from the refugees. Second is Sivadoss [Joju George], a Tamilian living on the English land, who stands up for these émigrés while keeping up with Peter’s rivalry. The third is a local gangster of Madurai whose master is money and dapper-ness his weapon. Surili [Dhanush], as he is called, makes for a flamboyant protagonist. Now, in order to get rid of Sivadoss, Peter hires Surili and gets the work done. Surili too is content working for his master until his love interest, Attila [Aishwarya Lekshmi], makes him realise his ill-considered decision while picking sides. Self-centered till this point, Surili now gives in for the united motive of the refugees as his remorse takes over.
It might sound like a basic gangster plot hanging on the hinges of revenge and rivalry, but the way it moves ahead makes it a refreshing watch. Especially on a Friday when you have had enough from the week and all you need is something to de-stress. There are quite a few interesting twists that hook you to the screen. Be it Surili’s quirkiness or Attila’s surprising revelations, everything just accurately fit in. The movie is two hours and 38 minutes long, but not even once it feels like something is going off track. Kudos to the director for this unwavering graph.
Dhanush too warrants accolades for making it entertaining with his swag and performance. James Cosmo fits rightly into Peter Sprott’s shoes. Aishwarya Lekshmi and Joju George deliver well. For a Hindi viewer like me, Tamil songs didn't make much sense, but still served the purpose. I had my feet moving to the beat when Surili danced and my heart ached when the song of separation spoke of the refugee struggles.
If you are an action lover who prefers ample doses of humour and quirk, Jagame Thandhiram is definitely a must watch.
Title: Jagame Thandhiram
Director: Karthik Subbaraj
Cast: Dhanush, James Cosmo, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Joju George, Roman Fiori and others
Rating: 3½ stars