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Movie Review: Jairam (2004) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 80%%80%% 80% (11 votes)
Movie Still Tamil movies that have tried to marry romance and patriotism have spanned the length of the watchable scale. On one hand we had Manirathnam's Roja, that has pretty much set the standard with a perfect mix of the two. One the other end we had Majunu that was amateurish and silly. Jairam, unfortunately, leans more towards the latter than the former. While the romance is handled quite well, the patriotism aspect proves too much for the director to handle and ends up being on the same level as Majunu.

Jairam(Navdeep), a college student, is starved of love and affection from his mother(Ayesha Jhulka), a globe-trotting, always busy businesswoman. Farah(Santoshi), who studies in the same college, has always had a soft corner for him. When Jairam takes a beating at the hands of other students, Farah takes him to her father, a canteen owner, who trains him as a boxer. Meanwhile, Jairam's mother arranges a boxing match between the foremost boxers in India and Pakistan as part of a business deal. When the Pakistani boxer emerges victorious and taunts Indians, Jairam challenges that he will defeat him in a boxing match.

Teja, a Telugu director, has so far been known for successful romantic ventures like Chitram and Jayam (the latter was successfully remade into Tamil under the same name and was very noticeable for its excellent screenplay and direction). But the romance in Jairam belies his reputation. It is very low-key and is rarely charming or cute. Worse, there are just not enough scenes to lay a strong foundation and give us a sense of a deep love between the lead pair. The only consolation is that the religious aspect of the romance is rarely focussed upon. Other relationships, like the hero starved of his mother's love, are cliched and revolve around two-dimensional, cardboard-cutout characters.

The movie takes a nosedive into amateurism once patriotism makes an entrance. The sight of the Pakistani terrorists speaking in Tamil, the way they are terrified of Navdeep and the Pakistani boxer's training sequences are all handled very amateurishly. The frequent statements about India's strength and Pakistan's weakness also sound hollow and jingoistic because of the way they are delivered. Messages are delivered with no subtlety whatsoever and even scenes on a smaller scale, like the enthusiasm of people belonging to all religions to feed Navdeep, are ineptly handled.

The anticipation of an underdog going up against a more powerful opponent and the accompanying, mandatory training sequence usually turn out to be big strengths (Rocky, on which this movie's boxing sequences are obviously based, had five entries using this same formula). Here too, these scenes are handled well with both the picturization and the background score contributing to that. But then Teja goes overboard by injuring Navdeep rather badly. So as Navdeep decides to use his weaker hand in the fight with only a few days left, the movie becomes completely unrealistic. But the last fight has been picturised skilfully with one particular shot(where the colors of Navdeep's glove mirror the Indian flag) catching the eye.

Navdeep is pretty good considering that it is his first movie. He is sincere in emoting and is believable in the fight sequences. Santoshi fits the part of the quiet Muslim girl though her "En support unakku thaan..." doesn't have quite the same effect as Po... po... poyya..." delivered by Sada in Jayam. Ayesha Jhulka, the old Hindi heroine, is barely recognizable and doesn't have much of a role either. >

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam