noirnoun; a genre of crime film or fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity.
As soon as the movie starts with an encounter in the background of ‘Malarum Malaraadha..’ from ‘Paasamalar‘ you know you have not bought ticket to any other tamil movie. As legends go, the director Karthik Subbaraj first went to a director with the script of this movie, but was discouraged by producer who wanted a paranormal thriller, (a similar scene at the opening of this movie where cinematic “Karthik” is discouraged and asked to do a gangster movie) and he went to do ‘Pizza‘ which announced his arrival in Indian Cinema but which was nowhere as good as this movie.
In both his movies so far the quality of production of movie is so high that it adds gloss to even simple locations. A film devoid of neither high budget nor foreign locales, neither of which this film doesn’t require, the cinematography is so good that it shows ordinary streets of Madurai as colorful as the streets of Paris.
Usually film about film making falters a lot, but for rare exceptions like ‘Udhayanu Tharam’ because to see the process of film making is a extremely boring process unless the script is smart enough to focus on subplots within characters than film making itself.
The first half of the film is a pseudo-sleuth cat and mouse game between the most feared goon in Madurai and a wannabe amateur director in search of his script explodes post intermission where characters keep changing their tones, where hero becomes villain, villain becomes hero, then goes onto become a psycho and then a comedian and heroine turns villain and finally at climax everybody becomes human.
The centre piece of the film is the
Villain Hero Bobby Simhaa as ‘Assault Sethu’ where he lives, kicks, kills, roars, gets kicked and finally cries as the most menacing at the same time most funny villain Indian Cinema has ever seen. A rendition that very much deserves National Award if not any.. Its amazing to see the transition of this actor who started as dim-wit ‘Pagalavan’ in ‘Soodhu Kavvum’ to this ego-maniacal super-villain that makes us wonder if he himself underwent all those acting “classes” Sethu underwent in the second half of the movie.
His gang of goons acted by Ramachandran Durairaj , Soundara Raja , Sangili Murugan given unique characters equally funny and menacing with a side story of their own, showing this isn’t yet another gangster film.
Siddharth as the underdog hero, starts off as the clueless wannabe director, goes on to transform into person struggling to control the gang of goons acting in his film, and then finally in the climax as the uber-cool “Gangster Director” shows how matured as an actor he has come.
And Lakshmi Menon as “saree-stealer” heroine of the movie given considerable weight in the limited time frame she comes.
Karunakaran once again excels in his role as hero sidekick post ‘Yaamiruka Bayamey’ as Oorani especially in his monologue about “hallucinations”, his dream about being cut-throat and his reference to Thalapathy intro.
Vijay Sethupathy returns his gratitude to the director who gave him his first major break, by acting as himself, in a role as much funny as his cinematic ones.
With a tag line “A Musical Gangster Story” the director should have placed a lot of trust in his musical director and debutant Santhosh Narayanan renders a music fest as good as World classics go. Some of the best BGMs I liked in the movie were the situational BGMs where he uses nothing but the background chattering of TV, old songs running in TV or radio, odes to other music directors, which exactly sync with the situation of the movie.
But finally this film belong to the imagination of Karthik Subbaraj. Creating a very realistic world of gangsters life since ‘Pudhupettai‘ with a interwoven plot of director trying to capture it cinematically, without once being boring or stereotyped, is a brilliant mind I respect and as a Cine lover worship to _/\_
As noir films go, they are genres which are not suited for family audience because of its sleaze and gory violence but director succeeds in creating for the first time a “Family Noir” film which doesn’t make us cringe one bit.
At the last dialogue of the film the hero says “Jigarthanda” name depicts the cold hearted nature of the assassins, a corner of my brain said that literally Jigar-thanda means ‘Liver-cooler’ but for a film that is 99.999% flawless we can forgive that one factual error, can’t we?
VERDICT: THIS IS A GOLDEN ERA OF TAMIL CINEMA CREATIVITY WISE AND TECHNICAL BRILLIANCE WISE AND ONE BETTER ENJOY AS LONG AS IT LASTS AND HOPE FOR MUCH MORE OF THE SAME. A FILM WHICH LITERALLY, POETICALLY, AND CINEMATICALLY HAS IT ALL..
(As Tarantino is a term loosely used nowadays to compare the level of film making, the director at many places purposefully uses anecdotes, graphical references and cinematic references to his film making. But my personal point of view this is one film which even Quentin Tarantino would be proud of)
P.S: No, this is not a copy of the Korean film ‘A Dirty Carnival’ that is not even 1% as good as this.