Director Nelson Dilipkumar’s ‘Jailer’, starring Rajinikanth, Vinayakan and Vasanth Ravi, is a proper paisa-vasool commercial entertainer. With solid performances and good camera work, ‘Jailer’ is strictly a theatre watch, says our review.

Rajinikanth is truly back and how! Whenever Thalaivar scores a hit, it almost feels personal. After ‘Annatthe’, which received unfavourable reviews, it has been quite a while since Rajinikanth delivered a solid entertainer. And for Nelson Dilipkumar, who is coming back from Thalapathy Vijay’s ‘Beast’, getting ‘Jailer’ right was much-needed. And he did a great job!

‘Jailer’ opens with a group of people involved in idol smuggling, with its main leader as Varma (Vinayakan). Arjun (Vasanth Ravi) is an honest police officer who wants to track the idol smuggling network and bust them. However, Arjun gets kidnapped by Varma, and everyone in the police department fears that he is dead. His father, Muthuvel Pandian (Rajinikanth), an ex-police officer himself, is distraught.

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Muthuvel Pandian is a doting father as well and now wants to take revenge. He goes on a killing spree, which leads him to Varma. But that’s not the end. Varma gives Muthuvel a daunting task as well. And Muthuvel agrees to it on one condition. The whys, whats, and hows are explored in nearly three hours.

Director Nelson Dilipkumar is known for his impeccable comedy timing, and he incorporates dark comedy in all his films. ‘Jailer’ is no different. In fact, Rajinikanth gets a subdued introduction as a retired man taking care of the household chores. He helps his grandson with his YouTube channel, buys vegetables for the house, and has absolute fun. It is great to see Thalaivar do mundane stuff as opposed to the stylish antics we’d always see. But Nelson has struck a balance in tapping into both sides of Rajinikanth, which is essentially why ‘Jailer’ works.

It is Rajinikanth who does all the heavy lifting in ‘Jailer’. The story of ‘Jailer’ has shades of Kamal Haasan’s ‘Vikram’. The two films are about a father going to any lengths for their sons, even if it means taking on a criminal gang. While ‘Vikram’ sticks to its genre righteously, ‘Jailer’ is a commercial actioner, with the right doses of action. The initial portions of Jailer have Rajinikanth attempting black comedy. While the comedy works in some parts, it also falls flat in many places. The film takes its sweet time to get into the main conflict. But Rajinikanth makes up for his subdued performance whenever the film lags.

‘Jailer’ is a film that celebrates the film industry at its core. We have Shiva Rajkumar, Jackie Shroff, and Mohanlal with their explosive cameos setting the screen on fire. And seeing these greats share screen space with Rajinikanth offers several whistle-worthy moments. The film also has many callback moments to Rajinikanth's superhit movies like 'Baasha' and 'Enthiran', among others, which add a nice touch of nostalgia.


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