JAGADAM – A CULT CLASSIC
Jadagam is the second film directed by Sukumar after the blockbuster Arya. This film might be a huge box office failure for the reasons which we will discuss later in this article but it garnered cult status among youth and it is one of the finest films in Telugu cinema. Check out our Analysis.
While analyzing Sukumar’s films, It is also important to talk about Sigmund Freud as Sukumar is completely obsessed with him and his philosophy’s. All of Sukumar’s films have Sigmund Freud involved or inspired in some or the other way, Remember the lengthy dialogue on Infatuation in 100% love? Also, here is another example to show Sukumar’s obsession on Freud.
So, Even Jagadam is based on Freud philosophy that every human being has animal instincts hidden in them and society gets better only when we curb them. Sukumar transformed this philosophy into a film in a very effective way.
Sukumar is best known for creating best and different characterizations for the protagonist and Seenu is also one such character. Seenu’s character and his attitude is what makes this film special.
Generally most of the films are about the character’s goal and how he achieves it in the end, But Jagadam is not about the goal it’s about the change and transformation, We are introduced to Seenu in the beginning as an Arrogant kid who is inspired by the violence and aspires to be a Gangster when he grows up. How someone like Seenu changes for good and transforms into a good person is what Jagadam is about.
A screenwriter named Blake Snyder writes in his book Save the cat! That Opening image and the Closing image is the most important for a film and there should be a certain transformation in the protagonist from the Opening image and the Closing image. Jagadam is one of the best films which deals the transformation very effectively. Let’s look at the Opening image and the Closing image of Jagadam
Opening image – Seenu is seen as a Gangster who is about to kill someone
Closing image – Seenu is seen as a changed man who doesn’t even want to hurt someone who irritates his wife While many film makers try to use many exaggerations to elevate the characters, Sukumar does it in a simple yet effective way in this scene which is the best scene of the film. The way the shot division is done shows the brilliance of Sukumar.
Cinematography by R.Ratnavelu is one of the highlights of this film. Jagadam is one of the few films in those days to use Super35mm camera which helped Ratnavelu to experiment with various lenses. Another important thing to mention of Jagadam’s cinematography is its color scheme. Ratnavelu used high contrast lighting and warm colors like yellow and orange for the childhood episode. He uses a bit of dark lighting and the black color in most of the scenes in present. Brother’s death scene is nicely shot with a blue tint for the emotional impact.
Sukumar takes his own time to show the Rise of Seenu as a gangster, it happens only after the interval after he pushes Manikyam down and succeeds in his first settlement but the scenes involving his rise and the aftermath are brilliantly written and shot.Check out the detailing Sukumar used in Seenu’s rise.
The moment Seenu hears that he is now famous and everyone is talking about him we can see his attitude start changing.
After he comes to his area we can see that now he has a van and Seenu is a changed man now. He is introduced in a low angle shot which suggests the character’s attitude that now Seenu’s head is up in the sky.
Also, notice the jewelry he is wearing, He has a ring to his right hand, Bracelet to his left hand and a chain which keeps increasing in the later part of the film after Seenu does more settlements
Look at the increase in his chains and rings. Sukumar is one of the few directors who does a perfect detailing.
There is an excellent scene in the film where Prakash Raj explains the life cycle of a gangster on the board. This is where Seenu’s transformation is about to start. Prakash Raj gives him a chance to change but Seenu ignores him. Observe the zoom on to the board after he writes Girl friend on the board, Which gives the hint on what’s going to happen next.
The very next scene is Seenu taking his girl friend Subbalakshmi to Srisailam where Seenu gets attacked by Manikyam’s people and realizes that Subbalakshmi is his weakness.
Jagadam has a very strong 3rd act. A character needs to have a strong set back in order to realize his mistakes and have a transformation. In this film, the set back is Seenu’s brother Chinna
Chinna’s character acts as a strong subplot to the film, Right from the beginning of the film we are shown that Chinna is getting attracted towards violence by looking at his brother the same way Seenu used to look at Manikyam.
We had no clue how this character was going to end but Sukumar effectively combines the subplot to the main plot.Chinna using the gun to kill Yadav breaks Seenu down and he decides to leave everything and his death makes him realize that violence is good for nothing but destruction.
Well, There might be many reasons why it didn’t work but we feel that it was ahead of its time. Had it been released now it might have been a blockbuster. Jagadam is not a perfect film it has its own share of low points like the heroine’s character, taking too much to time arrive at the main plot time, lengthy runtime etc. But the above stated analysis is enough to nullify those mistakes.
Hope you liked our analysis. If you want your favorite film to get analyzed, Comment below.
ARTICLE BY PRANEETH PRATTIPATI