Cast: Jyotika, Revathy, Yogi Babu, Rajendran, Anandraj
Perhaps the best thing about Jackpot is that Jyotika – in yet another brash, thigh-slapping role that’s become too familiar, idiosyncratic even, ever since her second coming – heavily trolls husband Suriya during a scene. Granted, it may not be trolling in the true sense of the word, more of a cutesy wink at him, but it does lend a feel for a hero – a woman mouthing one of those rote, fiery dialogues that threatens violence, displays naked aggression, and is almost too regular in the vocabulary of a male hero. Jyotika doesn’t mean it, of course, when she says ‘ongi adicha ondra ton weightu-da!’ like the way her husband does in Singham 2. She’s dressed as a cop, and is picking her way through a situation, one that is devoid of all seriousness. It’s probably why a line from Singham was chosen, instead of say, Gautam Menon’s Kaakhka Kaakhka. The latter would have rung the bell on the trolling meter.
The good things are far and few between, though, for all through Jackpot, a distinct 90s flavour prevails – not just because of the presence of Anandraj, Mansoor Ali Khan and others, but because of the disconnect that is apparent: a number of disparate – but interesting – elements thrown together, and hurriedly connected to form an unconvincing whole. When the film opens, a dairy farmer thinks he’s struck gold while out with the plough one morning; it’s copper, he finds later – a copper pot that multiplies its contents. For the farmer, first it’s the milk that flows, followed by wealth. In another scene, a young boy religiously waters a plant believing it would grow money; his father despairs of him, yet reluctantly indulges his whim. The money does grow though, and when it does – wouldn’t spoil it for you – it makes for the funniest scene in Jackpot. Yet another finds Samuthirakani in the role of a father worrying over the bizarre condition that his child has, while one more features a lad who is part of an elaborate con.
All these make for a great premise; the kind of nuttiness typical of an erstwhile CV Kumar production, or to an extent, even Mysskin, that would eventually give way to a larger scheme of things: in this case, a screwball comedy headlined by Jyotika and Revathy. But, the interest that director Kalyaan manages to generate in the first half hour, dissipates over the length of time it takes to engineer various settings – each one wilder, and more earnest than the last. The settings themselves aren’t great, though. The jokes arrive deflated, mostly devoid of the kick of surprise that often gives way to laughter, and buoyed only by the leads Jyotika and Revathy. And let’s face it, Jyotika, who scatters thugs with her punches in scene after scene in Jackpot, and is almost single-mindedly pursuing the same set of traits in every film since 36 Vayathinile – isn’t a great facilitator of humour. Neither is Revathy, who repeats her act as a con named Masha – a throwback to the 1990 film Arangetra Velai with Prabhu and VK Ramasamy, and one that was called back on in Kalyaan’s last film Gulebhagavalli.
Yogi Babu, who is perhaps the only actor who can be called upon for an instant recipe for comedy, is made a meal of. The writing is terrible at times, using Yogi Babu in a way that constantly dehumanises him, makes allusions to the colour of his skin, his looks, and generally engages him in unhealthy banter. In Kolamaavu Kokila, Yogi Babu wasn’t just the butt of jokes, he moved the plot along, an important cog in the wheel, and even as he found himself in the 1732635th act of an elaborate play called his filmography that chooses to focus on a singular aspect of him to make comedy, Babu was accorded a certain respect – it was a subtle this treatment, just enough to let on that Babu was in on everything that you laughed at. You were laughing with him most times. In Jackpot though, the emphasis is on a different preposition. There’s scant regard for the artiste, and the writing constantly preys on Babu’s looks, poking and prodding the audience to laugh along with it, much like a high school bully. There’s scant regard for much else too for the script, through Jyotika, even draws on the mannerisms of the disabled to pass off as humour. It’s not a great turn of events for the actress who valiantly tries to lighten the mood after Raatchasi; even if Jackpot achieves that to a certain extent, in most parts, it’s jarringly tone-deaf.
The Jackpot review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.