The Tamil movie Japan is now playing in cinemas across the UAE. It is directed by Raju Murugan and stars Karthi, Anu Immanuel, Sunil, Vijay Milton, Sunil, K S Ravikumar

How to watch Japan in the UAE

Japan 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.


  • Karthi


  • Lackluster direction
  • Leaky script
  • Annoyingly generic

Getting out of one’s comfort zone and trying out new and unexplored things is always tempting. This is true for many directors. And it is a feeling that must have also come to director Raju Murugan when he conceived the idea for Japan. The director is known for sober and reflective movies like Cuckoo, Joker and Gypsy.  And Japan is an out-and-out commercial entertainer.

So, has Raju Murugan succeeded in marrying his essential sensibility with the loud demands of the masala genre that Japan decidedly belongs to? We will come to the answer later.

Well, Japan is also actor Karthi’s 25th film. In his fledgling but eventful career, which has been a mixed bag so far, the man has shown a large heart to attempt various kinds of roles in different types of films. But his strength so far is that insouciant, devil-may-care type individual — a character that he is exactly cast in Japan. He plays the intriguingly named Japan Muni, a thief, a crook with an odd-ballish personality.

The film is about a robbery at a jewellery shop where gold articles worth Rs 200 crore are looted. The police team try to zero in on Japan (Karthi), who is already on the history sheet for many such thefts and crimes. He is also HIV-positive. But has he committed the crime? Or is there more to the shenanigans?

There is a filmmaking angle in the story. The director tries to contrast the worlds of high jinks and the mundane and, in the process, throws up a striking caricature of life in general. 

On paper, it all looks promising and interesting. But on screen, it is all too generic and pedestrian. A gaggle of characters come and go without registering anything worthwhile. A cop, a minister, some criminals, and an actress are also on the lookout for Japan. They have their own reasons. The director tries to make some larger points — a commentary on the society — but nothing lands. They stretch for effect and don’t belong to this movie.

Even though Raju Murugan is on a new wicket, Karthi is in familiar territory. This mismatch, unfortunately, shows. The director seems totally lost, and the plot, being most generic, also hampers any kind of sustained interest in the scheme of things. Apart from the swag of Karthi’s character, there is nothing really redeeming in the movie. Karthi is full of energy and effervescence in a character that is said to be based on a real-life criminal in Chennai. Karthi’s commitment to the role cannot save this otherwise leaky plot and lacklustre treatment. 

Raju Murugan should cop a lot of flak for the way he has approached the film. Except for Karthi, others in the cast have a reason to feel let down.   Sunil, who is now a regular in Tamil films (Jailer, Maaveran, Mark Antony), Vijay Milton, Anu Immanuel, Jithan Ramesh, K S Ravikumar, Vagai Chandrasekar are all in the cast, not knowing what to do and totally lost. A feeling that they probably share with the audience.  

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What are the other critics saying about Japan?

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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