Three ring leaders. Two of them are into drug trafficking. The third one specializes in kidnapping and oil gouging. They all need to survive by cashing out, as the socioeconomics of the world around them is pushing them to their brinks, because such is the time in future they live in. In short, theirs is a Kokkumaakkaana Ulagam . Then there is a chemist/pharmacist, who is capable of disguising drugs in the form of everyday objects through his magical scientific inventions. And, that is enough reason for the first drug don to hire him. This don has a driver and a yes-man assistant to travel with, even though the latter decides to betray his boss by colluding with the second drug traffic crime leader. Remember, all three crime leaders have their own battalions of henchmen, who all are also trying to survive in this kokkumaakkaana ulagam. The oil gouging specialist, in the meantime, gets a whiff of that last hurrah of a drug peddling heist that his arch enemy, aka, the first drug smuggling kingpin, decides to indulge in, before law enforcement & all things apocalyptic in the world catch up with him. How does he get a whiff of it? Through a series of unfortunate events set in motion by three small time crooks, who were hired by the first drug smuggling kingpin. Now, these three crooks are neither trying to mastermind a hijack of the heist of their lifetime, in their favor, nor are they trying to show off their heroics, but they are simply being caught in the moment, as they heuristically try to come out of dire life threatening situations, they are made to encounter one after another, as a result of their continuous incompetent & comical errors.
That pretty much is the plot of “Jil Jung Juk”, where Deeraj Vaidy (Note: No H in his name) tries to go Guy Ritchie and in the process brings out a completely original and a localized shade of Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrels to Thamizh cinema. An absolute refresher of a movie and a thoroughly enjoyable ride this one, where Deeraj follows these three crooks, played deftly by Siddharth (Jil), Avinash (Jung) and Sanath (Juk), as they try to disentangle the knot, they messily made in the first place.
The screenplay is taut but not very crisp. Radharavi’s and Nasser’s roles stand out, while the direction is above par for a debutante. However, what make the ‘Jil Jung Juk’ experience unique are the graphics/art, the choice of ‘color’ for the movie, editing and music in that order. Dialogues, in particular are likely to keep the younger audience alive & laughing in the movie halls, while the plot itself may keep some audience away from the movie halls, simply because of how dark the screenplay is, albeit in a comical way. As much as it is a comedy, it is not your run of the mill slapstick humor, so Deeraj forces you to pay attention to the lines, which is good and bad. Many subtle funny one-liners may go unnoticed, but that’s mostly due to how dialogue rich this movie is. I wonder if less dialogues would have worked better to keep the humor tight.
By setting the story in future, Deeraj and his creative team have done a great job of avoiding any lavish sets. I guess the art director had to work on only two big outdoor sets – one being the ‘movie set’ and the other being Rawther’s oil silo storage. Rest of the outdoor shots are quiet cleverly shot in barren lands and roads, while the indoor sets for a pharmacy, bar, the second drug lord’s den were adequately done. Again, the cinematographer’s brilliance and the lighting ensured that a totally unseen futuristic time is brought in front of our eyes. But I wonder, why not set this story a little far away in future? Like 2030 or 2040? 2020 seems too close to us from 2016 that the kokkumaakkana ulagam Deeraj wanted to project seems a little hard to relate to, only because it is 2020 – only 4 years ahead.
This energetic team deserves a pat on their backs for taking a road, not taken before. And they have done that with a whacky, dark sense of humor and abundance of original creativity, which has been evident right throughout the pre-release promotion time.
PS: Wish Deeraj had stayed away from using that ‘dark skinned African’ refrain, when he hilariously wrote that Uganda bit. The Uganda humor bit worked, but this refrain left a slight bad taste in me.