Jagame Thandhiram Review
The 2021 action thriller Jagame Thandhiram, which translates to "The Universe is a Ruse," was written and directed by Karthik Subbaraj and was made by YNOT Studios and Reliance Entertainment. The movie stars Dhanush, Kalaiyarasan, James Cosmo, Joju George, and Aishwarya Lekshmi. James Cosmo and Joju George are making movie debuts in India and Tamil, respectively. Suruli, a carefree gangster in Madurai whom a foreign crime lord hires to help him take down a rival, is caught off guard by the ethical challenges resulting from the movie.
Gangster Suruli, who owns a parotta restaurant, is from Madurai. He struggles to find a spouse because of his thug-like lifestyle, and even when his marriage is fixed, the bride runs when she learns about his criminal past. An Englishman named John, the right-hand man of a famous white racist with roots in London named Peter Sprott, learns of his reputation. John promises Suruli £200,000 weekly in exchange for helping Peter defeat rival Don Sivadoss, who is Peter's enemy and holds significant power within London's Tamil-speaking community.
While in London, Suruli learns more about Sivadoss and his gang and their activities, including smuggling weapons from conflict-ridden nations in exchange for cash. Suruli accepts the offer to use the money to settle down and eventually give up his criminal activities. Peter's gang raids Sivadoss's boatyard, where the smuggling is being carried out by Sivadoss's right-hand man Rajan, under the leadership of Suruli and John. Suruli also murders Rajan during the attack. After realising that Suruli killed Rajan, Sivadoss and his gang kidnap the man.
In exchange for £600,000, Suruli and Sivadoss agree to murder Peter by pretending to invite him to Parotta restaurant in London for a "peace talk" to end their conflict. Suruli betrays Sivadoss at the "peace talk" and gives Peter an arrival (an agricultural tool), which he then uses to stab Sivadoss to death. Peter gives Suruli a specific space in London to launch his business and permits Tamils to live there as payment for Sivadoss's murder, naming the region Little Madurai.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Tamil singer Attila captures Suruli's heart. He first approaches Attila, who says she is a widow with a kid named Dheeran, who is seven years old. Attila, though, quickly reclaims Suruli's affections. Deepan and Dharani, the last two of Sivadoss's supporters, assault them when they are out on a date in a park. They vowed to exact revenge on Suruli for betraying Peter and assisting in the killing of Sivadoss.
Suruli is shot by Deepan and is left in critical condition. However, with Attila's assistance, Suruli quickly makes a full recovery. One day, after injecting an unknown substance into Suruli's drip bag to murder him, he recognises her. When questioned about why she wanted to kill him, Attila explains her reasoning.
Let's understand Attila's intention in two parts, past(why she intended to kill Suruli) and present(how they manage to escape together).
Past: During the Sri Lankan Civil War, an aircraft attack on their hamlet left just Attila, Dheeran, and Attila's brother alive. In addition, it is revealed that Dheeran is her brother's child rather than Attila's. They convince themselves to join Sivadoss' gang at a refugee camp by his assistant, who offers them fake passports and promises to help them go to London under the pretext of being a husband, wife, and child. While travelling, Attila and Dheeran's brother is captured and imprisoned at Peter's private facility that houses refugees and unauthorised immigrants, but Attila and Dheeran arrive in London without incident.
Attila goes on to say that Sivadoss was involved in smuggling to utilise the money to legally and financially assist all refugees and illegal immigrants, and she also planned to struggle for her brother's release. Sivadoss decided to provide Suruli with security and arrange for him to marry Attila after learning of his affection for her. Attila's brother has little chance of being released from prison due to Sivadoss's passing because no funding was available to fight for immigrants' rights. As a result, Attila had intended to have Suruli killed when he, Deepan, and Dharani met in the park, but she still managed to save him because of her love for him.
Present: Peter and a few other lawmakers are supporting a bill called BICORE in the British Parliament to limit immigration. Suruli knows about this bill as well. If adopted, most refugees and undocumented residents would be deported or imprisoned, favouring Peter. Suruli changes his mind after learning this and chooses to support Attila, Deepan, and Dharani in their struggle against Peter and BICORE.
Suruli can get back the money that Sivadoss had collected for the immigrants with the help of Deepan and Dharani, and this money is used to free some of the immigrants, including Attila's brother. Attila and Suruli begin dating again. Later, Peter requests that Suruli goes to Birmingham to murder Andrews, a minister who opposes BICORE. Suruli understands that Peter wants him to murder Andrews so that his death will be attributed to an immigrant, increasing the likelihood that BICORE would be approved by Parliament and gaining more support. Suruli does not kill Andrews. In revenge, Suruli's close friend Murugesan is killed during an attack on Little Madurai by Peter, John, and their men.
Suruli agrees to Peter's demands out of necessity and departs for Birmingham. However, Suruli, Deepan, and Dharani kill John and divert to Peter's residence. They take out Peter's thugs and break into Peter's room. Suruli decides against killing Peter despite Deepan and Dharani's desire to do so and instead sends him to a distant area near the Afghanistan-Iran border. After destroying all documentation proving Peter's British citizenship, Suruli, Deepan, and Dharani leave him in the "Republic of Mattuthavani" with a fake passport, leaving him there to live the rest of his days as a stateless refugee.
Review from Different Platforms
Unfortunately, Jagame Thandhiram overpromises and underdelivers on its original premise, which has never been explored in Tamil cinema, and star-studded group. The movie, released to extreme excitement, was one of the worst disappointments of the year. Fans of Dhanush will be impressed by his energetic performance, although the slow-moving narration will try patience.
Because so many directors have examined this subject from all perspectives, gangster films no longer surprise audiences. The story of Suruli, who went from being a small-time criminal in Madurai to a paid gangster in London before finding righteousness, is similar. In essence, "Jagame Thandiram," directed by Karthik Subbraj of "Pizza" and "Petta," is a crime drama. However, the filmmaker skillfully incorporated the struggle of Srilankan Tamils and the immigrant issue into his standard mafia plot.
Karthik Subbaraj has a good idea but hesitates before getting to the point, which is revealed much later in the movie. Before getting into the film's central theme of "home" and immigrant concerns, "Jagame Thandiram" relies on familiar gangster action scenes. The movie is presented to us as being about Suruli's rise to gangster status in London and his confrontation with Peter.
Additionally, the plot may explore the possibility that Suruli will become a double rat for Peter and his opponent. However, there are other focuses of the movie. Karthik Subbaraj finally gets to the point in the final act after wandering everywhere.
Despite Dhanush's best efforts, the slow-moving drama doesn't hold people's attention. The two action episodes are artistically filmed. Before the interval, one occurs involving Dhanush, Joju, and Cosmo. The pre-climax battle is the other. The best parts of this predictable gangster thriller are the stunts and the superb cinematography. The villain's portrayal has to be improved. After all the hype, the villain becomes a cartoon character, and the abrupt conclusion with the line "You can only start the war, but can't finish it" leaves the audience feeling unfulfilled.
Overall, "Jagame Thandhiram" falls short of expectations. It is a massive letdown despite the gorgeous presentation. Karthik Subbaraj's effort could be better.
Hit or Flop
The movie had high expectations but needed to live up to them. Analysing the box office collection of the movie "Jagame Thandhiram," which made only 7 Crore INR as its profit, it proved to be a significant "flop" with insignificant views on the OTT platform "Netflix." The film reportedly had an INR 60 Crore budget, and its digital rights were sold to an OTT platform, "Netflix," for INR 55 Crore. Vijay TV paid an enormous amount of INR10 crore for the satellite rights to the Karthik Subbaraj movie. Overall, the movie has a fantastic star cast. The only drawback the movie has faced is that the viewers might get attracted to their favourite character's acting skills but not to the movie's narration, as it could have been more exciting and varied for them.