‘Jackpot’ movie review: Jyotika aces her ‘mass’ avatar in this comedy

Women power: Revathy and Jyotika serve up a smashing combo in ‘Jackpot’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

There are three timelines in Jackpot — 1918, 1999, and present day, where the film is set.

Singer Antony Dasan appears in the black-and-white era, and is shown stumbling upon a vessel in the compound where his hut is located. He discovers it to be the mythical atchaya pathiram — a vessel that keeps giving. Cut to the next shot, and the once humble milkman is now a rich, landowning zamindar who lives in a palatial house. Learning of his good fortune, thieves strike the place to uncover his secret and, in the process, the vessel is lost.

Onto 1999, now. A boy plants a sapling in his house convinced that it will bear a ₹100 note in three days because a godman said so. Not to dash his child’s hopes, the father discreetly staples a currency note to the plant. But it is revealed next that it was all part of the boy’s mischievous plot to nick some cash off his father! Masha (Revathy, whose character shares her name and personality from her role in Gulaebaghavali) sitting with a young girl is shown listening to the boy’s conversation, and is convinced that honesty has no place in the world.

Cut to 2019: we’re introduced to Akshaya (Jyotika), who nicks a ₹2,000 note from the boy from 1999 (he’s all grown up, and his character’s name is revealed to be Ragul), under the guise of helping him get past a strict ticket examiner at the railway station. This is followed by a sequence of events that establishes how Akshaya and Masha operate in tandem to dupe people to make money.

Now comes the reveal. None of this really matters for you to enjoy the film and that is where Jackpot hits the mark.

The core of the film is outlandish, and the screenplay travels in this meter from start to finish. Kalyaan, who made his mark with Gulaebaghavali, has delivered a film along similar lines. Only, this one is better because Jackpot’s plot is not needlessly weighed down by a romantic angle. It is a comedy that features a mass heroine (yes, Jyotika shines in her kick-ass avatar), and it is proud to wear that label throughout.

It is also a colourful film. There are bright, dark and some more colours, and credit for the vibrant visual presentation rests with the cinematographer, RS Anandhakumar.

What about the logic? There isn’t any, and that is not a reason to worry. Very few Tamil masala films make you not crave for logic, and Jackpot sits in that zone partly because the film takes itself lightly.

The film’s comedy works because the director did not let his lead cast take on the burden all by themselves. Look at the sheer number of character actors packed into the film — there is Manobala, a guduguduppukaaran (soothsayer) — who is the reason we have Yogi Babu in the film. Then, there is Anandharaj (in a double role, and unsurprisingly the strongest comedian in the cast), Mansoor Ali Khan and the hilarious duo of Thangadurai and Kingsley among others.

  • Director: S Kalyaan
  • Cast: Jyotika, Revathy, S Anandharaj, Yogi Babu
  • Storyline: Two con women attempt to steal the mythical ‘atchaya pathiram’ from a rice mill owner’s house in a hilarious fashion. Do they succeed?

Which means Jyotika does what she set out to do in this film — be an action star! She aces the stunt sequences with aplomb, and her combination with Revathy is a clincher. Her one-liner dialogues could have been written better, but it is tough depicting someone as ‘mass’ in a film that is a full-blown comedy.

It is a return to form, of sorts, for Yogi Babu too because his comedy seems to have worked. He has minimal scenes, overall, and that perhaps could be the reason. But a lot of the humour is self-deprecatory, and pokes fun at the actors’ physical appearance. If it offends, remind yourself that a generation of Tamil movie fans grew up watching Goundamani-Senthil, Vadivelu-Vivek and then Santhanam doing the same kind of humour.

For Revathy, it is yet again a reminder of the talented performer she is (something the older generations can vouch for), and how severely under-utilised she has been in present day Tamil cinema. She shakes her leg with the much younger Jyotika, and throws a few punches at bad guys for good measure too!

Overall, Jackpot is good fun. There is no logic. You will have to put up with a few preachy scenes in the middle (it seems to be the common thread that connects Suriya’s and Jyotika’s films of late), but the cleverly written, witty bits more than make up for it. At long last, Tamil cinema delivers a fun masala film in 2019.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 12:47:12 AM |

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