Will Jigarthanda bring about a change in Kollywood?

Sreedhar Pillai

August 01, 2014 12:15:17 IST

Popular Tamil, Telugu, and occasional Hindi actor (Rang De Basanti) Siddharth is waiting eagerly for the release of his Tamil film Jigarthanda. The film is titled after Madurai’s popular cold drink and is listed one among five Indian films to watch out for this year by Forbes India.

Jigarthanda is the second film of Karthik Subbaraj, the sensational young Tamil director of the super natural thriller Pizza (2012), which was recently remade and released in Hindi. Karthik Subbaraj and Siddharth coming together have made Jigarthanda, the coolest film among new generation audiences in Kollywood.

Courtesy: Facebook

Courtesy: Facebook

The trailers of Jigarthanda, which became an instant hit, had the
tagline – ‘A musical gangster story’. The voice over explains that
jigar means heart while thanda is cold in Hindi. So, Jigarthanda
refers to someone cold-hearted?

Karthik Subbaraj explains: “Yes, it is a gangster thriller, set
against the milieu of urban Madurai and stars Siddharth and Lakshmi Menon in the lead with Bobby Simha playing the antagonist. The treatment and presentation is different.”

Siddharth and the producer of the film Kathiresan had stirred a huge controversy in Kollywood, when the actor took to Twitter to express his displeasure for not being informed about the postponement of the movie's release. Jigarthanda was to release in May but got postponed as the producer got angry with the director for getting a UA censor certificate. Remember in Tamil Nadu only a film with U certificate is eligible for entertainment tax exemption.

Later Siddharth and Karthik announced that it will release on 25 July, but the producers without informing them quietly postponed the release by a week. The producer told the powerful Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) that he is postponing the release to 1 August, due to non-availability of theatres as Dhanush’s Velai Illa Pattadhari, which released earlier turned out to be a super hit.

The issue snowballed into a war of words between the producer and the hero. Siddharth was censured by TFPC for his “provocative tweets against the producer.” Speaking exclusively to Firstpost, Siddharth said: “ Jigarthanda is a film close to my heart. 2014 is an important year for me as three of my films – Jigarthanda, Kaaviya Thalaivan and Lucia are releasing. My first film of the year is releasing in the 8th month, to be precise on August 1. I wanted to space out my films especially after my last release, the super hit Theeya Velai Seiyyanum Kumaru was released early last year.”

Siddharth wears his emotion on his sleeves. The actor who had a
nomadic career in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi has now come home for good.

The actor says: “The wheel has come a full circle. I have taken a call to focus on south primarily on Tamil cinema. My last Hindi release Chashme Baddoor was a hit; still I feel as an actor it is not possible to ride on two boats simultaneously. Today my meal ticket and my identity is south cinema and I have an audience for my films in Tamil and Telugu.”

As far as Jigarthanda is concerned, Siddharth feels: “It is a kick-ass film. My image so far has been the boy-next-door kind. I want to get rid of this chocolate boy image. Karthik’s script and presentation offers me a role to showcase my versatility. I like to play the everyday man and this film is in different genre, which I have not done before.”

Karthik Subbaraj has said that viewers will notice a completely
different Siddharth. Added Siddharth: “ If you have noticed in the trailer, the director has attempted to show me in a different light and the focus is more on the deadly villain than the hero because my character has a few twists that cannot be revealed.”

The film is said to be a triangular love story between an aspiring
filmmaker, an Idli seller and an ageing gangster set in the city of Madurai, in south Tamil Nadu. The villain in the film Bobby Simha has a powerful role, the pivot around which the film revolves. The buzz is that Karthik Subbaraj has made it like a Quentin Tarantino style blood and gore movie with a smattering of local Tamil swear words along with nice music by Santosh Narayanan. Already the songs from the film have turned out to be chartbusters.

The hot and happening Lakshmi Menon, who has an awesome track record of hits in Tamil is playing the heroine in the film. Siddharth pointed out: “Lakshmi is a natural actress and has a connect with the audiences. She is just 18 but her performance in Jigarthanda reflects a maturity far beyond her young age.”

Madurai has been portrayed in Tamil cinema as some kind of Wild West, as there are enough real life crime stories happening there. Karthik Subbaraj says unlike other films set in rural Madurai, his milieu is Madurai city. He says his story is based on some real incidents in the city which happened during his college days.

Apparently, he had written the script of Jigarthanda much before his path-breaking debut film Pizza.

The entire trade in Kollywood is waiting eagerly for the release of Jigarthanda. If the film works at Tamil Nadu box-office it will give more freedom to budding directors, waiting in the wings with bold themes. Remember now Tamil cinema, due to entertainment tax structure, is stuck in a cocoon of feel good films with U certificate. Karthik Subbaraj and Siddharth are trying their best to bring about that change into placid Kollywood style filmmaking.

Updated Date: Aug 01, 2014 12:21 PM