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Jagadhalapradhapan- Movie Review

                This movie, to me, was what the covenant’s ark meant to Arnold Toht… what the last chalice meant to Dr Elsa and the bad guys from the da Vinci code… what the whale was to Captain Ahab…  It was my Mount Everest. After scourging the seedy underbelly of the internet for a good eighteen months, I finally came across the movie in its entirety. Having watched bits and pieces earlier had piqued my interest and to know that this masterpiece was what ruined the career of our legendary magic mike, Mr. Mohan, I was never going to miss a chance to analyze Shankar Ganesh’s directorial magnum opus, Jagadhalaprathapan.

                Our story begins in the mid 17th century when a Hindu king in possession of the Shiva Linga that was the macguffin in Temple of doom. Just before being killed by Aurangzeb, he hid it in the Jodhpur forest, located in current day Uttar Pradesh (according to an archeologist), but back then in Rajasthan (according to Wikipedia, Atlas and common sense). The quest to find the archeological wonder worth several cores is the driving point of this classic. But we don’t start there. We start with a matinee show that consists of an armed bank robbery carried out by a bunch of guys who are employed in boring jobs. They are apparently part of a shady organization a la SPECTRE, only instead of suits, we have security uniforms. Sadly, one of their operatives is caught and they have to undertake a mission to retrieve letters that would implicate everyone.

                Enter our hero, JDP (Mohan), who is a petty thief who enjoys his life along with his buddy Charlie. Conspicuous by its absence is S.N. Surender’s voice for Mohan. During a botched robbery attempt, the duo crosses path with the girl sent to get the mysterious papers. A horribly conceived item number/duet (apparently to escape the cops) later, the spy is now in love with JDP. In the meantime, an archaeologist locates the Shiva Lingam, all from an amateur poem composed by a Tamil poet who had no shame and asked that king in exile for alms. A map is now created by the archeologist who, you would believe was legit, only were it not for the fact that he believes Jodhpur is in Uttar Pradesh. His assistant (Raks), despite her lack of lip sync or acting skills is the heroine and had earlier unintentionally conned Mohan.  
               
                SPECTRE, having realized that their agent is in love with JDP, has her brother, who had earlier proved his love for her in one touching scene where he fed her like a dozen idlies, kill her with the same tomato-sauce splashing gun  used in the bank robbery. Professor Archeologist attempts to fund his quest through the ASI, where that killer bro is working and not only ensures that the project is rejected, but also kills the professor, who in his dying breath saves his assistant, who has the map. A chase ensues, resulting in the lady spending a night at JDP’s and an amateur failed kidnapping attempt later, JDP is in. SPECTRE is convinced by Killer bro who has a war of words with Sarath who (rightly) believes that going after the hero would be futile in Tamil Cinema.

                Yada Yada, JDP in a holiday gear and Raks in a two piece (I’m no sexist, but is it advisable to show so much skin n the forest, with killer ants and big bees on the prowl?) enter the forest, followed by SPECTRE agents, a couple of whom are killed by JDP using a Molotov’s cocktail made from a bottle of alcohol that somehow made its way into the inventory list for the quest, but Raks’ pants didn’t. They are kidnapped by tribal people whose modus operandi would later inspire Captain’s hanging upside down from trees fight from Gajendra, who mistake them for pleasure seeking tourists (thanks to the attire). A horrible dance routine forces the tribe to conclude that these useless folks should be cooked and eaten.

                They escape as the tribe is annihilated by the SPECTRE agents following our lead pair, inspiring the Aayirathil Oruvan sequence of swords vs.  SMG. With barely 15 minutes left and another duet playing, my patience was running out. Thankfully, JDP got shot and SPECTRE was split and the lead duo stumbles upon the cave where previously Aladdin, Indiana Jones and countless treasure hunters had come, looking for ancient treasures. Then it is pretty straight forward. They get the Lingam, thanks to JDP’s hanging upside down maneuver that would later inspire Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, Part 1 of SPECTRE is annihilated, a hanging bridge scene inspired by the Temple of doom follows, killer bro is fed to a stock footage of crocodiles, JDP and Raks are awarded five lakhs and India beat Pakistan by 8 wickets. Peace out.

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