The Tamil movie Jailer is now playing in cinemas across the UAE. It is directed by Nelson Dilipkumar and stars Rajinikanth, Mohanlal, Shiva Rajkumar,  Jackie Shroff, Tamannaah Bhatia, Ramya Krishnan, Yogi Babu, Vasanth Ravi, Vinayakan.

How to watch Jailer in the UAE

Jailer is currently showing in cinemas across the UAE, such as VOX Cinema and Novo Cinemas. It will probably be a while before the film hits streaming services in the UAE.

Jailer review

The best thing that can happen to any up-and-coming director is an opportunity to direct Rajinikanth, the biggest star Tamil cinema has ever seen. The toughest thing that can happen to any up-and-coming director is an opportunity to direct the biggest star Tamil cinema has ever seen, Rajinikanth. For, what can a director come up with creatively when some of the Rajinisms that his countless fans expect in his starrer are practically cast in stone?

It is an existential dilemma that Jailer director Nelson Dilipkumar was also in the throes of. It shows, especially in the first half, when he is not sure whether to play his own brand of deadpan black humour or give in to Rajni’s standard staple. In the event, the film takes time to get going. But once it hits the halfway mark, post-interval, Nelson drops all his pretence, goes the whole hog with the Rajni magic, and gives his fans the most whistle-worthy moments. And the cameos of the other stars from the south and Hindi (Mohanlal, Shiva Rajkumar and Jackie Shroff) add to the mainstream acceptability.

The story is understandably wafer-thin. It gets going with Muthuvel Pandyan (Rajinikanth), a retired jailer, now confined to everyday domestic chores. But he has infused his son Arjun (Vasanth Ravi), a cop, with the idea of honesty and integrity. Things in this what seems an idyllic family go haywire when Arjun is taken out by an idol smuggling gang he was after. Muthuvel’s wife (Ramya Krishnan) blames him for the son’s loss. The villain gang led by the evil-dripping Varma (Vinayakan) are out for more. They threaten Muthuvel with further consequences (like targeting the rest of the family members) should he not fall in line. But — no prizes for the guesses — Muthuvel is no push-over. He has a past in which he was Tiger.  And now he has to show the malcontents that Tiger Zinda Hai! And amidst this predictability pattern, there is a twist too. But revealing that would be a spoiler.

The film may be uneven, but Rajni’s scene-stealing show is steady and stylish. At over 70, the man retains his comedic flair and presence to capture the bigger, massy moments. The portions in the flashback, when he is a jailer, are a hoot. Verily, it is what the mythology of Rajni is built on. The cameos by Mohanlal, Shiva Rajkumar and Jackie Shroff add to the rousing sentiments —- they work in the flow of the script. But the portions involving Tamannaah and Sunil don’t give the film anything tangible. If anything, they slacken their pace. It is where the writer Nelson has slipped. But the director, Nelson, compensates it with his brand of zany humour in unexpected places, adding an extra zing to the proceedings. Yogi Babu and the other comic gang do have lol-worthy moments. Vinayakan as the arch villain is terrific.  Anirudh’s music is adequately over the top, which is what a film of this type needs in the first place. However, the songs don’t service the film as they ought to.

Rajni-Ramya Krishnan pair — after the extraordinary exchanges as Padayappa and Neelambari 24 years back — was highly anticipated. But there is hardly anything memorable in this outing. It is time. So is Vasanth Ravi as Rajni’s son. But the superstar’s great form compensates for all the minuses in the script. Like Lokesh Kanagaraj in Vikram, Nelson has provided a script that pays tribute to the star. And talking of Vikram, the film’s take-off point is the killing of the son and the attempts to save the rest of the family. Rajni, as ever, saves the family and the film.   

Overall, despite the flaws, Jailer is not a disappointment. It is a crowd-pleaser, much like its leading man.

Balakumar Kuppuswamy
Balakumar Kuppuswamy

An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.

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