Jigarthanda DoubleX was the kind of film where I felt like asking Karthik Subbaraj to rewrite the whole first half because I enjoyed the film’s climax, and it felt like it deserved a brilliant movie. Unlike the first one, which had a very rooted feel with the ultimate love channeled towards cinema, here the tone of the drama is very loud, and it is more of a political film that uses cinema as a tool to spread its cause.
The film revolves around two individuals, Alias Caesar and Kirubakar. Caesar is this rowdy who helps the political leaders who are closely connected to mainstream Tamil cinema. The clash between two heroes for theater screens eventually leads to the involvement of Caesar, who destroys one particular movie’s print. The hero of that movie wanted to end everyone who destroyed that movie, and Kirubakar, who wanted to be a police officer but got arrested for multiple homicides, was chosen for the task of finishing Caesar. We see how Kirubakar plans to do that and what happens after that in Jigarthanda DoubleX.
Karthik Subbaraj knows the over-the-top nature of this spiritual prequel will have acceptance issues with the people who had enjoyed Jigarthanda because of its grounded and innovative setup. So he sort of justifies that pitch with the whole Clint Eastwood fanboy backstory of the main lead. This is not the first time Karthik Subbaraj has tried to address political issues in his movies. Jagame Thanthiram and his short in the Netflix anthology were about the Srilankan Tamils. And this time, Subbaraj talks about the exploitation of the tribal people by the people in power in a more generic way.
Seeing Raghava Lawrence in a relatively less eccentric space as a hero was pretty interesting. The rough edges and ignorance you expect in that character were depicted neatly by Lawrence, and in the climax of the film, what Karthik Subbaraj had in mind was actually in the safe zone of Lawrence. The synchronization of both really helps the movie to achieve a high. SJ Suryah, as Ray Dasan, works mainly in the hilarious bits of the film. The way he fakes the confidence in front of Caesar creates a lot of hilarious moments in the movie. Nimisha Sajayan gets to portray the character of Caesar’s wife in the film, and she was convincing in that role. Naveen Chandra, as the ruthless antagonist, was also memorable. The other prominent names in the movie include Shine Tom Chacko, Aravind, Ilavarasu, and Sathyan.
As I already said, when the movie reaches that third act, you sort of get the feeling that Karthik Subbaraj has finally infused a soul into this movie. The problem is that when you backtrack the whole screenplay after seeing those visually elevating last minutes, you sense the insignificance of many things we witnessed in the beginning and middle. It was almost like the current stature of SJ Suryah, and Lawrence forced Karthik Subbaraj to play it for the gallery, like how Pa Ranjith had to do when he got the dates of Rajnikanth. In the movie’s first half, where we see Caesar in an entirely negative shade, there is this red and green neon light element in Tirru’s cinematography. In the second half, where the movie shifts to the forest, the neon element disappears, and the color elements come from natural sources. The songs by Santhosh Narayanan that sort of depict the culture help the movie a lot, especially in that massacre sequence. The visual effects in the film, especially the creation of those CG elephants, were good.
I am someone who loves indie films because of the way they use their constraints to deliver something that is innovative and creatively satisfying. A major reason why Jigarthanda worked and aged well, in my opinion, was because of how it showed the power of cinema and a filmmaker’s craft on a mainstream platform. Jigarthanda DoubleX is definitely a movie worth a watch, as the final act of this movie shows us Karthik Subbaraj in his elements. But the sort of delight the first one created for the cinema lover in me was not there in DoubleX.
Unlike the first one, which had a very rooted feel with the ultimate love channeled towards cinema, here the tone of the drama is loud, and it is more of a political film that uses cinema as a tool
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended