‘Jada’ movie review: A confused mess that’s neither a sports-drama nor a horror flick

Kathir in ‘Jada’  

The first 20 minutes of Jada plays out like a movie directed by M Rajesh. You have the hero Jada (Kathir) who’s shown exhibiting his football skills amidst a visibly awkward Yogi Babu, who, by the way, gets his moment that comes in the most unexpected interval. There’s Yogi Babu’s look-at-your-face jokes. There’s also a sex joke, which isn’t funny after all. There’s a heroine (Roshini Prakash) who’s only instruction seems to be this: take a stroll looking at the hero affectionately, as we roll the camera. She does get to speak, thankfully. But her presence — like most female characters written in Tamil cinema lately — neither propels nor derails the narrative, and filmmakers continue to have these characters just to have some sort of female representation.

If you overlook these portions, Jada gets interesting when the director shifts focus from M Rajesh’s movie to Vetri Maaran’s, particularly Aadukalam: a football league tournament organised by the rival camp sets off the drama. At the outset, Jada is centred around Sevens football; the setting is a nod to last year’s affecting Malayalam drama, Sudani from Nigeria. But the underlying emotion for that movie was acceptance. Here, it’s revenge. We never really get to know who Jada is, except but the fact that he’s a passionate footballer. Jada goes against his coach Elango’s wish to partake in the Sevens tournament, a dark underbelly of football where the only rule is there’s no rule — if you’re thinking about Fight Club, you’re not alone.

  • Cast: Kathir, Kishore, Yogi Babu and Roshini Prakash
  • Director: Kumaran
  • Storyline: Jada forms his own A-Team to participate in an illegal football tournament, in a quest to find answers to the death of his idol, Sethu

Why would anyone put themselves up for it, knowing it’s a one-way road? Which brings to the film’s central character, Sethu (Kishore), a star footballer who’s made it big and is part of the national selection committee. Sethu is not just some random player, but a symbol of hope for kids among the locality — the dynamics between Sethu and Jada remind you of Anbu and Rajan from Vada Chennai. If Rajan was responsible for Anbu’s rise in that movie, it’s Sethu here.

Jada opens with an animated sequence, tracing the early history of football and how it came into existence. If you come to think of this, it’s interesting the way Kumaran shoots the football sequences — it comes across as if we’re watching gladiators involved in armed combat inside the Colosseum. The director shows some spirit in telling his story, which goes for a toss in the second half. Which brings to fore this question: What’s with Tamil filmmakers’ obsession with spirits? The film loses its sense and seriousness when the whole supernatural element comes to plague what could have been a passable movie.

Kumaran mounts a revenge story on the backdrop of football, but the results are middling. Jada could have been a fine sports-drama. Or it could have been a fine revenge-drama. It’s neither.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 3:12:00 PM |

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