Jailer review: Nelson’s directorial is a perfect comeback for the Superstar

The director deserves credit for the way he fashioned Rajini's character Tiger Muthuvel Pandian with a measured tone and limited dialogues.

ByManigandan KR

Published:Aug 12, 2023

A poster of the film Jailer
A visual treat for one and all!

Jailer (Tamil)

  • Cast: Rajinikanth, Vinayakan, Vasanth Ravi, Yogi Babu, Mohan Lal, Shiva Rajkumar, Ramya Krishnan, Jackie Shroff, Master Rithvik,  Mirnaa Menon, Sunil, VTV Ganesh, Aranthangi Nisha, Saravanan, Tamannaah Bhatia, and Redin Kingsly
  • Director: Nelson Dilipkumar
  • Producer: Sun Pictures
  • Music: Anirudh Ravichander
  • Runtime: 2 hours 49 minutes

Director Nelson Dilipkumar delivers an entertaining action thriller in his latest outing Jailer which is likely to make not just Rajinikanth fans but also common audiences smile.

Nelson has been careful not to commit the same mistake that some other directors who directed the Superstar made.

Some of Rajini’s earlier films did not work because the respective filmmakers were looking to make movies that would satisfy the fans while forgetting completely about the common audiences.

However, Nelson seems to have a good understanding of the fact that his priority must be the common audience; if they are pleased, the fans invariably will celebrate.

Accordingly, his Jailer is a film for the common person and not just Rajinikanth fans.


Rajinikanth in Jailer

Rajinikanth in ‘Jailer’. (sunpictures/ Twitter)

Tiger Muthuvel Pandian (Rajinikanth) is a retired Jailer, living happily with his wife (Ramya Krishnan), son Arjun (Vasanth Ravi), daughter-in-law (Mirnaa Menon), and grandson (Master Rithvik).

Life is peaceful for the jailer who is proud of the fact that his son Arjun is an upright police officer.

Arjun, who is not scared to act against criminals no matter how powerful they are, chooses to go after a powerful gang that is into stealing ancient idols and smuggling them to foreign shores for fancy amounts.

The nefarious network in India is led by Varman (Vinayakan), an unforgiving gang leader who knows no fear and is known to be both ruthless and brutal.

When Arjun begins to investigate the idol thefts and the incredible number of murders associated with them, he earns the ire of Varman who kills him.

The death of his son shocks the docile, soft-spoken Pandian, who until then was very content to spend time with his grandson and not concern himself with other issues.

He decides to respond strongly to his son’s death and kills one of Varman’s men (Saravanan), who he believes was responsible for his death. This act triggers a war between Varman and Tiger Muthuvel Pandian, each determined to strike a blow for a blow.

What happens then is what Jailer is all about.

Rajini makes a comeback

Rajini in a still from Jailer

Rajinikanth in a still from ‘Jailer’. (Twitter)

Nelson Dilipkumar’s story, which has a generous dose of genuine humour and action, is the perfect vehicle for Rajinikanth to make a sterling comeback. In fact, he uses it with gusto to announce his return to superstardom.

Rajinikanth has always been known to excel at both comedy and action. Jailer‘s story provides him with the space and the platform to exhibit his mastery over these departments.

Nelson, in particular, deserves credit for the way he has fashioned Rajinikanth’s character (Tiger Muthuvel Pandian) with a measured tone and limited dialogues. These seem to have been done with the intention to amplify the intensity of everything he utters, and it works like magic.

Add to that Anirudh’s scintillating background score, you have scenes that can deliver goosebumps, reminding you of a Rajinikanth who ruled the roost.

Also Read: Candid interview with ‘The Vijay Deverakonda’

Second half falters

While Nelson’s handling of the first half of the film is exceptional, his handling of the second half is not as impressive. The movie loses a bit of the intensity and thereby, its sheen.

This is despite several twists and turns that genuinely are surprising.

Jailer has the director’s trusted comedy kings delivering humour, time and again. This time, VTV Ganesh who plays a psychiatrist and scores handsomely. Yogi Babu, too, does his bit.

An equal antagonist

Vinayakan in Jailer

Vinayakan in ‘Jailer’. (Twitter)

However, if there has to be an actor who has to be picked for the finest performance, it is undoubtedly Vinayakan who plays Varman.

The strength of a hero is directly proportional to the tyrannical nature of the villain he takes on in a film. Vinayakan lifts Jailer with his masterful depiction of Varman.

Right at the beginning, he sets the tempo for the movie.

There is not a boring moment when he appears on the screen. He owns the character and plays it with so much passion and intensity that we can see the monster that lurks within him.

Related: ‘Jailer’ tickets sold for nine times the original price in Chennai

Performances and cameos

Telugu actor Sunil, who plays a small but significant role, comes up with a performance that is nothing less than fabulous.

The flick also has fine performances coming from Mirnaa Menon, Master Rithvik, and Vasanth Ravi.

This apart, Jailer has some neat and admirable cameos coming in from Kannada superstar Shiva Rajkumar, Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, and Bollywood actor Jackie Shroff.

Vijay Kartik Kannan’s visuals are just perfect and so is Nirmal’s editing.

Final take

On the whole, Nelson’s Jailer is a fantastic entertainer that is not just for fans but for audiences of all types.

(Views expressed here are personal.)