“Jailer,” written and directed by Nelson Dilipkumar, features Rajinikanth in the role of a retired lawman who takes justice into his own hands, eliminating wrongdoers with determination. Despite the movie’s blockbuster elements, Rajinikanth’s character is not the traditional action hero; instead, he embodies a measured and understated persona, reserving action for when it becomes the only option.
The story revolves around Muthuvel Pandian, a former warden of Tihar Jail, known as “Tiger,” who once commanded fear among prisoners. After retiring, he dedicates himself to his police officer son’s career, instilling honesty and fearlessness in him.
Muthu is portrayed as a model of integrity, a devoted family man, and an unwavering thalaivar who protects what he holds dear. His transformation from a seemingly mild-mannered grandfather to a revenge-driven avenger wielding a deadly scimitar unfolds gradually in the first half of the film.
The film’s music, composed by Anirudh Ravichander, contributes to its impact, especially a theme song celebrating Rajinikanth’s enduring appeal. This song bridges the gap between the fictional world of Muthuvel Pandian and Rajinikanth’s iconic presence in reality.
While “Jailer” is a Tamil film, it boasts appearances by actors like Mohanlal, Jackie Shroff, Shiva Rajkumar, and Makarand Deshpande, resulting in dialogues in multiple languages, including Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, and Hindi. This multi-lingual approach makes it evident that the movie targets a pan-Indian audience.
Unlike some of Rajinikanth’s films intended for nationwide viewing, “Jailer” isn’t just a Tamil movie dubbed into other languages. Watching the original version with subtitles provides a better understanding of the film’s intent.
The movie doesn’t aim to resurrect Rajinikanth’s aura, which is already widely recognized. Instead, it emphasizes his identity as a versatile star cherished across generations and regions.
In terms of execution, the first half of “Jailer” captivates the audience, while the second half loses some of its momentum. Although it offers a couple of surprising twists, the latter part appears sluggish and disjointed.
One scene in the second half features Muthu confronting a film director, urging him to provide clean and wholesome entertainment to audiences rather than commercial gimmicks. While “Jailer” does center around a family, it doesn’t entirely meet Muthu’s prescription. The film includes excessive violence, rendering it unsuitable for all age groups. Both the antagonist and the hero contribute to the graphic violence, challenging the notion of a “clean” cinematic experience.