Tuck Jagadish movie review: Nani, what’s the point?

screenmixSeptember 10, 2021

“We are not promising this film has twists and turns and concepts that you have never heard before,” Nani had said at the trailer launch event of Tuck Jagdish. In retrospect, it feels like a preemptive statement against expected criticism that this film could face for being, say, too predictable or unoriginal. Nani could now come back and say, ‘Hey, I told you not to expect anything new, didn’t I?’

As Nani promised, Tuck Jagadish, at the risk of using a cliche, is old wine in a new bottle. Director Shiva Nirvana, who has also written the film, hardly makes an effort to make this film his own. He seems to have borrowed, rehashed and refurbished ideas and the philosophy of all hit melodramatic films that he has ever watched without any value addition.

The narrative of Tuck Jagadish works like clockwork. You know what’s going to happen in the climax about 10 minutes into the film. Composer S. Thaman’s score has some redeeming qualities but that is hardly a consolation in a film like Tuck Jagadish. Neither the visual style nor the performances of the actors are worthy of analysing. You can pretty much summarise them as functional.

Let’s talk about the idea of the family that this film presents. It was supposed to prove that our family is everything and it is worth going through any troubles to protect it. But, its very theory defeats the film’s sole purpose.

Judging from the film, the well-being of a joint family solely depends on the willingness of all its members to share the inheritance equally among themselves after the passing of the patriarch. If one is a little too greedy, or a tad stubborn, the idea of family collapses, as brothers and sisters turn against each other and the fabric tears.

In a scene, Nani’s Jagadish Naidu uses wealth as leverage to bring the warring members of a family to the negotiation table and broker a strategic peace deal between the parties. He uses this trick even on his own family. While it seems very prudent and paints Jagadish as a realist, it is anticlimactic for a film whose sole purpose is to make us see that the family is more important than material wealth.

Bosu Babu (played by a tired-looking Jagapathi Babu) hates his stepmother Anjanamma (Parvathi T) because she is not his actual mother. It is not the same blood, you see. And family bonds are stronger when they have a blood connection, right?

Spoiler alert!

Bosu Babu has a change of heart towards the end as expected. But, the change doesn’t happen because he understands that the idea of family transcends the barriers of blood relations. It happens for a more conventional and selfish reason.

Jagadish uses threats and money to fix family problems. This film doesn’t speak about the profound, heartfelt and intangible value of the family. All characters in this movie are willing to contribute to the idea of family as long as it is profitable and convenient for them.

So what’s the purpose of Tuck Jagadish?