Jailer: Rajinikanth Shines, The Film Doesn’t

‘Jailer’ is like a trailer of the hit films of the mighty Rajinikanth that glorifies him to the point of grovelling hagiography.

Still from Rajinikanth's 'Jailer' (Photo: YouTube/Sun Bangla)
Still from Rajinikanth's 'Jailer' (Photo: YouTube/Sun Bangla)

Subhash K Jha

Rating: **

‘Jailer’ is like a trailer of the hit films of the mighty Rajinikanth that you may or may not have seen. It matters little or not at all whether you have seen the superstar’s entire body of work. They all are designed for only one thing: glorifying the Thalaiva to the point of grovelling hagiography.

Seldom has Rajini been in a brilliant film that uses his potential as an actor to his advantage. ‘Jailer’ is certainly not that film. It is a creaky curious mix of an old and not-so-old Rajinikanth. But like Tom Hanks in Road To Perdition or nearer home, Dilip Kumar in Shakti, Rajini will have his pound of flesh from a villain Varma (played by Vinayakan in two shades: black and black) who threatens his family.

Admittedly the action scenes are designed with tremendous care, spotlighting the Superstar’s enduring prowess as an entertainer while showing a respectful restrain for his age. Yes, Rajini can still beat the sweat out of his enemies. But there is also that point of ceasefire where the Superstar will not play to the galleries beyond a certain limit.

If only this restrain was evident in non-action sequences where the characters are shown either clinging to every word the Superstar utters or if by chance he is missing from a frame, they are all shown talking about him in a hectic huddle. Consequently, even actors of the caliber of Ramya Krishnan, Vinayakan and the legendary-in-his-own-right Mohanlal (in a disappointing cameo) are reduced to props.

This is a film about a hero protecting his family but the family is such a blur, one wonders if they deserve protection!

Yogi’s comic relief is excruciatingly non-entertaining. This ubiquitous comedian needs to be banned for at least five years from Tamil and Telugu cinema.

Nelson’s writing and direction are mutually obsequious. Over the years, I’ve come to believe that fanboys should not direct Rajinikanth. But then, who? Is there any director in Tamil Nadu who is not a Rajini fan? Please raise your hand. Your services can save a legend from plunging deeper into self love.

As for Tamannaah Bhatia’s special number, Annirudh Ravichander’s tune is peppy but pointless. The dance steps are a drag. Ditto to the film. The intention is to eulogize Rajinikanth. The execution is strictly turgid.

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