Jackson Durai, directed by Burma fame Dharanidaran is another addition to the assembly line of horror comedies coming out of Tamil cinema every other week. The film features Sathyaraj, son Sibi, Bindu Madhavi along with celebrated comedians like Motta Rajendran, Karunakaran and Yogi Babu in the lead. The plot goes like this:
A rookie cop, ‘Bullet’ Sathya (Sibi) is sent on an assignment to a village where a bungalow is supposedly haunted by ghosts. Beyond a point, he is forced to actually live in this bungalow for a week, with a sidekick (Karunakaran). The two vie for Bindu Madhavi’s hand and her dad dares them to survive in this bungalow to prove their bravery. How the two of them encounter the ghosts in the property and whether they manage to get rid of these forces is the film’s plot.
The first half of the film is rollicking fun and things are set up really well for the second half. Yogi Babu, Sibi and Karunakaran are in good form and the laughs keep coming in the first half. After the action shifts to the bungalow, till the intermission point, it is really entertaining indeed. Director Dharanidaran delivers a breezy film in this part and it looks like a sureshot hit after the first half. But after that, Jackson Durai sadly dips and turns out to be just a watchable affair due to a rather insipid second half which is nowhere near the levels of the first, despite the odd good moment or two.
Sathyaraj and Motta Rajendran don’t live up to the immense hype generated by their terrific makeovers and turn out as caricatures, sadly. The idea of having a pre-independence, freedom struggle angle in the story and connecting it to the horror factor is interesting but it doesn’t click. In the brief flashback, the director tries to arouse our patriotic feelings.
Bindu Madhavi gets a largely dispensable part as a village girl who falls in love with Sibi. Her career just doesn’t take off! There are some foreign actors in the cast, and the small kid is milked for few good laughs.
Good work has been done on the production design by TN Kabilan and makeup by Vinod. The camera work and lighting patterns employed by DoP Yuva are also impressive. There is big scope for these departments as majority of the film happens inside the haunted bungalow and with the ghosts, and all of them have delivered. The makeup isn’t too gory and serves the purpose.
There aren’t needless songs playing spoilsport and the background score by ‘Demonte Colony’ fame Chinna is apt for the horror moments. But there is some blatant plagiarism (from RocknRolla), in the BGM theme that is used for Sibi’s introduction.
To sum up, Jackson Durai is a disappointment as it had the platform to be a genuine horror-comedy Hit at the halfway mark.