Jada movie review: Barring Kathir’s acting, nothing lingers long after you exit the theatre.
Jada movie cast: Kathir, Kishore, Yogi Babu
Jada movie director: Kumaran
Jada movie rating: 1.5 stars
Pariyerum Perumal (2018) came without expectations and worked big time for Kathir. Its success made him star in big-budget films like Bigil. Kathir’s latest release, Jada, features him in the role of a football player. Though the film revolves around ‘sevens’, a form of football, it takes a detour post-intermission. What follows is a ghost story and unconvincing flashback.
A few minutes into Jada, we are shown the history of sevens, and how the game evolved. Jada’s (Kathir) coach wants him to take football seriously so that he could play in an elevens team, but Jada is adamant that he plays ‘sevens’, which has no set rules. Kumaran justifies why Jada is particular about that. It’s for Sethu (Kishore), his mentor, a footballer-turned-coach, who Jada looked up to.
Jada begins with “fun”. Yogi Babu cracks jokes, but the humour falls flat. There’s a needless shift from the playground to the players’ personal space in a not-so-good way. You get a scene where a footballer rushes to the ground with literally a tight underwear, after having sex. You are expected to laugh at the situation. Why is it necessary for a film like Jada—is my question. No, this doesn’t “commercialise” the film, but, a desperate attempt to pander to the sex-deprived male audience. You get a romantic track involving Roshni and Kathir, which is useless. It looks like we-have-a-heroine-because-this-is-how-it-is.
Jada, in particular, becomes unbearable after interval. Kathir’s character and teammates visit a village for a tournament, but you get spooky things on the screen—a haunted house, a scary-looking hand, weird dolls, and a dog that won’t bark whatsoever. (Yes, you read it right). Of course, you are being told why, towards the end. Would any sports film, set against football, have elements of a horror film? It’s not about the mix of genres, but the style of writing and how the narrative moves forward. That’s why you refuse to buy the tonal shift in the second half. You don’t see why Jada needed such treatment in the first place.
Jada has too many characters that confuse you. Had the film focused on the lives of the residents and how they adapted to playing the game, Jada would have been a better film. But what we get is a shallow story, mounted on sevens football.
Kumaran neither explores the camaraderie between the players nor Jada’s relationship with his girlfriend. Their “romantic angle” is anything but real. Jada’s love interest doesn’t show up to a temple because she was chumming. It’s not about the period, but how the scene has been conceived and executed. It’s plain sick. Also, another friend character, (supposedly a footballer), is on a phone call and has a conversation with a woman, who says, “date thalli pochchu”. What is Kumaran’s obsession with menstruation? I am curious to know.
Barring Kathir’s acting, nothing lingers long after you exit the theatre. The lives of the players, the “moments” (since it’s a sports film), nothing gets registered in your head. Further, Jada doesn’t have a proper screenplay, and that’s where the problem lies. Maybe, Kumaran had so much to tell and doesn’t know how. A well-intentioned film always finds a way to connect with the audience, but here, the writing goes haywire. Most of the scenes look forced, and life-less. As an audience, you feel zero empathy for the characters. Even a final football match scene looks like a practice session. There’s no tension or the craze for football or the zest in players to win. Had Kumaran narrated Jada better, it would have been a decent heart-warming story, if not an effectively-made sports drama. Well, Kumaran might have attempted to make Sudani From Nigeria-like film, but ends up with a frustrating supernatural revenge-drama.