Readers Write In #621: Venns of Jailer and Indian

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Readers Write In #621: Venns of Jailer and Indian

By Krishnaraj Sambath

As I walked out of a packed but sedate theatre in the burbs of Houston, I kept thinking why they bothered with that “twist”.  It was a perfectly contained movie without it, and the movie would’ve ended on a high (with superstar and fellow stars sharing the screen). Instead, it ends on a somber note with Nelson’s name appearing to some pathos music by Anirudh. Is that what Jailer wanted us to leave with? What happened to #AlaparraKelaparom? Anyways, all of this reminded me of another movie with similar father-son angle, which does end on a high. Here goes thoughts on both.

Common themes between them ():

  • Both Senapathy & Muthuvel Pandian were forthright fathers with strong principles, patriotic servants, while also willing to take justice into their hands when they deem appropriate. Both had mass elements. Senapathy’s was Varmakalai. Muthuvel’s was well, Rajni himself (and Anirudh’s rousing score, which peaked at Hukum).
  • Both Chandru & Arjun were compromised sons. While there wasn’t the “surprise” element with Chandru, he had a great arc of gradually getting corrupted – starting with briberies for license forms, to break inspectors and then to cover up the major bus accidents involving kids (somewhat like Breaking Bad). No such arc (or space) for Arjun.
  • Senapathy’s love for Chandru is established through this terrific line: Avanukaga meesaiya izhandha Senathapathy inniku avanaye ezhaka poren. (God, I miss Sujatha!) Muthuvel’s love for Arjun is established through his pendant carrying Arjun’s tooth.
  • [Spoiler] Both fathers take out their sons in the climax (after failed attempts in making them surrender).

What Jailer had beyond Indian ():

  • Muthuvel is too cool to do the “grunt work” of taking down the villain. He uses his team / leverages his network to get things done, like how CEOs do. Poor Senapathy was seen jumping between airport luggage trolleys.
  • Quirky humor embedded in mass scenes like tissue box for blood spattered faces, bat spin from a fan and no pechu, only veechu. No such emulsification of emotions in Indian. The televised murder scene seemed ripe for one, but then it would’ve been a different movie.

What Indian had beyond Jailer ():

  • Beyond Senapathy-Chandru, there was so much going on: Larger social problems (of corruption), Kasturi’s backstory, Senapathy-Suganya’s past in the pre-independence era, varma kalai. It all came together so coherently despite its density. Jailer had a blinding superstar, but not many planets around to light up.
  • A terrific terrific album by ARR. What a range from Akada to Kappaleri (with imaginative choreography) to Telephone manipol (Shankar’s foreign songTM). Sorry Vignesh Shivan & Anirudh, but Rathamarey is no match for Pachaikiligal.
  • It was an interesting idea (which I think paid-off) to have Senthil & Goundamani, but not pair them up for comedy (which had become formulaic by then). Kamal-Goundamani continued their scintillating chemistry from Singaravelan (Methu methu nu ethane atha ponnunga pa unaku; Rasana ketta mummy daddys, neenga kudhinga ladies). Yogibabu’s track in Jailer was not necessarily bringing down the roof but was adequate.

This comparison doesn’t take anything away from Jailer, but just tells me how much more Indian had in it.Time will tell if Jailer is this gen’s Baasha (as is being hypothesized by some). But I’m plenty content that this gen is seeing and soaking in the glow of Rajni. I did and do!

PS: I have seen Thangapadhakam (on KTV perhaps). It was a movie of its times, with different sensibilities – neither were mine. And I wasn’t keen on doing three-set venn diagrams. 🙂

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