Creating “Little Madurai” in a world of Chinatowns and Little Italys. An interview with Karthik Subbaraj on Jagame Thandiram

With his gangster drama Jagame Thandiram set over Chennai and London, Karthik Subbaraj who rose to fame with films such as Pizza, Jigarthanda, Mercury, Petta, Putham Pudu Kaalai ( Segment : Miracle) has reached out to Indian and international audiences. It features Tamil cinema superstar Dhanush and Game of Thrones actor James Cosmo each representing one part of the world cinema. Produced by YNot Studios and Reliance Entertainment, the film also features Joju George, Aishwarya Lekshmi and Kalaiyarasan.

“I am from Madurai and I had explored the mafia world with Jigarthanda and I wanted to  merge both the worlds,” he said, adding that the film also taps into the theme of immigration.

The film is available on Netflix and as per Subbaraj, gets a world audience. “Content in Tamil, Telugu or Malayalam or Hindi is now being watched and praised across India and overseas due to OTT platforms and breaks all the boundaries.”

A fan of the mafia genre, Karthik, during my interview with him, the director stated that he wanted to tell a global story. His love for superstar Rajnikanth, made him choose the title of the film referring to a line from the song Sambo Siva Sambo, written by Kannadasan, from the 1979 film Ninaithale Inikkum. Karthik Subbaraj initially considered Suruli as the film’s title, but one day, he happened to listen to the Ninaithale Inikkum song, and also being a fan of Rajinikanth, the director felt that the Jagame Thandhiram would be the apt title for his script.

“Jagame Thandhiram” (Tamil for Tricky World) revolves around Suruli (Dhanush), a nomadic gangster who has to choose between good and evil in a war for what one can truly call home. For more, watch my interview with Karthik Subbaraj.




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