Jailer is a 2023 Indian Tamil-language action comedy film directed by Nelson Dilipkumar and produced by Kalanithi Maran of Sun Pictures. The film stars Rajinikanth in the lead role, alongside Vinayakan, Ramya Krishnan, Vasanth Ravi, Tamannaah, Sunil, Mirnaa Menon, and Yogi Babu in supporting roles. Mohanlal, Shiva Rajkumar and Jackie Shroff play guest appearances.
The film was officially announced in February 2022 with the working title Thalaivar 169, being the 169th film of Rajinikanth, while the official title Jailer was announced in June. Principal photography began in August 2022 in Chennai and wrapped in June 2023. The music is composed by Anirudh Ravichander, while the cinematography and editing were handled by Vijay Kartik Kannan and R. Nirmal.
Jailer was released theatrically on 10 August 2023 to positive reviews from critics who praised its screenwriting, direction, characterisation, cast performances, and background score. and became the highest-grossing Tamil film of 2023 and 2nd Highest grossing tamil film and one of the highest grossing indian film 2023 and worldwide.
Muthuvel Pandian is a retired police officer who lives in Kodambakkam with his family. Muthuvel’s son ACP Arjun is investigating Varman, an eccentric gangster operating from his base of operations in Arakkonam, who smuggles idols of gods and sells them to buyers overseas. Arjun confronts Varman’s henchman Seenu and demands him about the whereabouts of Varman. While getting closer in nabbing Varman, Arjun suddenly goes missing and the police department covers up his murder by spreading word that he may have committed suicide due to the stress. Grieving the loss of his son and partly blaming himself for raising him to be honest and fearless, Muthuvel goes after Seenu and murders him, disposing the body by coercing a clueless local taxi driver Vimal into helping him. Varman’s men attempt to kill Muthuvel’s grandson Rithvik, but Muthuvel manages to save him. Muthuvel tries to convince Varman to leave him and his family alone, but to no avail. Enraged, he decides to fight back.
First, Muthuvel blackmails a psychiatrist S. Dhandapani into providing asylum for his family. Muthuvel then visits Narasimha, a reformed criminal living in Mandya, who loans him four of his sharpest shooters. With the help of Narasimha’s men, Muthuvel steals Varman’s idols that were being smuggled and uses them to blackmail and humiliate Varman, who is about to kill his family. In retaliation, Varman tells a Bihari gangster named Kamdev to send people to kill Muthuvel and his family at his home, but Muthuvel and Narasimha’s men finishes them off. On discovering Varman’s target to be Muthuvel, Kamdev reveals to him that Muthuvel was the former ruthless and charismatic jailer of Tihar prison who disciplined the criminals harshly but also helped them reform, thus gaining a massive network of allies, including Kamdev.
Muthuvel corners Varman in his base along with a hundred men sent by another former criminal Sikandar Singh, but Varman reveals that Arjun is still alive and threatens to kill him. Both of them ultimately arrive at a compromise: Varman will release Arjun in exchange for retrieving a famous antique crown that is currently secure in a temple in Mangalagiri. Muthuvel plans a heist involving the Telugu actor Blast Mohan, who is a trustee of the temple where the crown is held. After various deceptions and with the help of a smuggler in Mumbai named Mathew, Muthuvel eventually comes into possession of the crown and sends it to Varman, but it is later revealed that the crown which Muthuvel sent was a fake.
Varman frees Arjun, who reveals himself as a corrupt police officer wanting to be cut in on Varman’s operations, willing to kill his own father for money. However, the fake crown also conceals a hidden camera and their entire conversation is seen by Muthuvel. He attacks Varman’s hideout with Kamdev, Vimal, and his allies, killing Varman and his men, while Narasimha protects Muthuvel’s family and Mathew destroys Varman’s smuggling operations. Muthuvel gives Arjun one last chance to surrender, but he refuses and attempts to kill him. Arjun is shot and killed by Narasimha’s men, while Muthuvel solemnly walks away.
- Rajinikanth as “Tiger” Muthuvel Pandian
- Vinayakan as Varman
- Ramya Krishnan as Vijaya “Viji” Pandian
- Vasanth Ravi as ACP Arjun Pandian
- Tamannaah as Kamna
- Sunil as Blast Mohan
- Yogi Babu as Vimal
- Mirnaa Menon as Swetha Pandian
- Rithvik as Rithvik “Rithu” Pandian, Muthuvel’s grandson
- Harshad as Dhanraj
- Jaffer Sadiq as Dokinath
- G. Marimuthu as Panneer
- VTV Ganesh as Dr. S. Dhandapani
- Redin Kingsley as Divya Nathan
- Sunil Reddy as Bagunnara Balu
- Saravanan as Seenu
- Aranthangi Nisha as Inspector G. Kanagalakshmi
- Mahanadi Shankar as a police constable
- Padam Kumar as Raja Rao
- Karate Karthi as Sanju
- Sugunthan as Narasimha’s henchman
- Billy Muralee as Panju
- Pavel Mani as Seenu’s masseur
- Sooraj Pops as Varman’s henchman
- Dancer Ramesh as Varman’s henchman
- Haji Mohammed as Kareem’s gang member
- Kishore as Jaffar
- Makarand Deshpande as Sikandar Singh
- Mohanlal as Mathew
- Shiva Rajkumar as Narasimha
- Jackie Shroff as Kamdev
- Naga Babu as Muthuvel’s former colleague
- Jani as himself in the song “Kaavaalaa”
- Uday Mahesh as a CBI officer (uncredited)
The music is composed by Anirudh Ravichander in his third collaboration with Rajinikanth, after Petta (2019) and Darbar (2020) and fourth collaboration with Nelson after Kolamaavu Kokila (2018), Doctor (2021), and Beast (2022). The first single titled “Kaavaalaa” was released on 6 July 2023. The second single titled “Hukum – Thalaivar Alappara” was released on 17 July 2023. The third single titled “Jujubee” was released on 26 July 2023. The album featuring 8 tracks was released on 28 July 2023.
Jailer released theatrically on 10 August 2023. The film’s Kerala distribution rights have been bought by Gokulam Gopalan. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana theatrical rights were bought by Asian Cinema, while the overseas rights were acquired by Ayngaran International..The film will be released by MCC Group in Sri Lanka.
The film began streaming on Amazon Prime Video from 7 September 2023.
Jailer grossed an estimated ₹72 crore on its opening day worldwide of which ₹52 crore crore was from India. The opening day grosses were ₹23 crore in Tamil Nadu, ₹5.85 crore in Kerala, ₹10 crore in Telugu states, ₹11 crore in Karnataka, ₹4.5 crore in North India, ₹40 crore internationally. As of 21 August 2023, Jailer had grossed ₹194.7 crore in Tamil Nadu, ₹75 crore in Andhra Pradesh and Telengana and ₹60 crore in Karnataka. It has also grossed ₹166.31 crore at the overseas box office. Hindustan Times reported that the film grossed ₹650 crore worldwide. While Pinkvilla reported the closing box office figure as ₹607 crore.
Jailer received positive reviews from critics.
Sridevi S of The Times of India gave 3/5 stars and wrote “It’s director Nelson’s show in the first half, superstar Rajini takes the baton in the second half.” Janaki K of India Today gave 3/5 stars and wrote “With solid performances and good camera work, Jailer is strictly a theatre watch.” Gopinath Rajendran of The Hindu wrote “Jailer might be far from perfect, but with the towering presence of Rajinikanth standing tall along with Nelson’s fortified writing, this is a commendable comeback for both the actor and filmmaker.” Kirubhakar Purushothaman of The Indian Express gave 3.5/5 stars and wrote “[the] Nelson Dilipkumar film is Rajinikanth’s version of Kamal Haasan’s Vikram, but with a twist. Saying that doesn’t take away anything from this fun-filled entertainer.
Manoj Kumar of OTTPlay gave 3.5/5 stars and wrote “Jailer is a highly entertaining crowd-pleaser. Nothing path-breaking but it is sure to become an enjoyable delight for the masses.” Pratikshya Mishra of The Quint gave 3/5 stars and wrote “Without Rajinikanth, Jailer might not have had the same magnetism as it does but since the star is on screen, flicking his shades and throwing lighters in the air, it’s a whole different story.” Priyanka Sundar of Firstpost gave 3/5 stars and wrote “One of the most memorable things about Nelson’s directorial Jailer, starring Rajinikanth, is the fact that the superstar doesn’t get into a zone where he performs unbelievable action sequences”.
Divya Nair of Rediff gave the film 3.5/5 stars and stated that “This is an altogether different version of a brutal Rajinikanth, something you and I had probably never imagined before.” Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave 2.5/5 stars and wrote “The guest stars do their bit and move on. It is left to Rajinikanth to shoulder the weight of the erratic script.” Sidharth MP of WION wrote that “Jailer is an entertaining film that offers glimpses of the vintage Rajini and the contemporary Rajini, ably assisted by cameos by Mohanlal, Jackie Shroff and Shiva Rajkumar.”
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