which translates to The Universe is a Ruse is a 2021 Indian action thriller acted in the Tamil language. Karthik Subbaraj wrote and directed it while S. Sashikanth and Chakravarthy Ramachandra of YNOT Studios, along with Reliance Entertainment oversaw the production. Dhanush, James Cosmo, Joju George, Aishwarya Lekshmi, and Kalaiyarasan are the star actors. For Cosmo, it was his Indian film debut and marks the first Tamil film for George.
Jagame Thandhiram streamlines how Suruli, a nonchalant gangster in Madurai gets recruited to help a foreign crime lord tear down a major rival but is caught up in the dilemma of morality.
Covid-19 disrupted the theatrical release which was scheduled for 1 May 2020. The release was held off indefinitely while the situation created by Covid-19 was watched. Initially, the film was planned to be released only in theaters. However, this plan was canceled in February 2021 and it was subsequently announced that Jagame Thandhiram will be released on the worldwide digital platform Netflix on 18 June 2021. The film was dubbed and released in 17 languages spanning 190 countries.
Critics gave mixed reviews on the film. The screenplay, narration, and editing were criticized while the soundtrack, story, performance, characterization, and social theme were applauded.
Suruli who operates a parotta restaurant is a carefree gangster from Madurai. He’s without a wife because of his gangster lifestyle. Even when a marriage is arranged to take place, the bride flees after realizing Suruli’s criminal records.
Suruli criminality is recognized by an English man called John. John is a confidant to a London-based criminal don called Peter Sprott. John convinces Suruli to work for Sprott to pull down an arch enemy and rival, Sivadoss who was dominating the Tamil-speaking population in London. Suruli is offered £200,000 a week for the job. He accepts the offer with the plan to abandon criminality, leave London and use the money to start a new life.
Suruli starts the work and finds out much about Sivadoss and his gang who are involved in illegal weapon trade with troubled countries. Suruli and John who lead Peter’s gang strike Sivadoss’s gang at a boatyard as weapons are smuggled. A fight ensues and Suruli kills Sivadoss’s right-hand man Rajan. Sivadoss and his gang subsequently kidnap Suruli. Suruli agrees with Sivadoss to kill Peter when comes to ‘peace talk’ with the reward of £600,000 and a parotta restaurant in London. But Suruli betrays Sivadoss at the critical moment by handing an arrival to Peter who uses it to hack Sivadoss to death. Peter rewards Suruli for the death of Sivadoss by allowing a special area in London to him to begin his business. Peter allows Tamils to reside there, and names the area “Little Madurai”
As life goes on, Suruli falls in love with a Sri Lankan Tamil singer named Attila. As they get to know each other, Suruli finds out Attila is a widow with a seven-year-old son called Dheeran. While having a date at a park, they get attacked by two men, Deepan and Dharani who happen to be the remaining members of Sivadoss’s gang. They’re on a mission to avenge their master’s death. Suruli is shot by Deepan and is left in a critical state. Attila takes care of him and he recovers gradually. But one day, Suruli sees Attila injecting a substance into his drip bag with the aim of killing him. He confronts her and Attila opens up.
Attila, Dheeran, and Attila’s brother are the only people who survived an aerial attack in their village in Sri Lanka during the Sri Lankan civil war. She explains to Suruli that indeed Dheeran is not her son but her brother’s. She tells him how an aide to Sivadoss convinced them at a refugee camp to join Sivadoss’s gang. They complied and were promised to be taken to London under the guise of husband, wife, and son. They were given fake passports but her brother was caught and thrown in a private prison belonging to Pete were kept many refugees and illegal immigrants captive. Attila reveals to him that Sivadoss was in the illegal weapon trade to raise enough funds to help rescue those illegal immigrants and refugees and help them financially. Sivadoss was also planning on rescuing Attila’s brother. With Sivadoss dead, Attila tells him that all hope to rescue his brother is gone. She reveals to him that she had staged the attack on Suruli at the park. But had saved him because of her love for him.
After finding out so much truth about Peters’s criminal activities, Suruli embarks on a new mission to help rescue the refugees and illegal immigrants including Attila’s brother.
Suruli teams up with Deepan and Dharani and kills John. When they capture Peter eventually, the latter want to kill Peter but Suruli stops them. They relocate Peter to a remote land on the Afghanistan–Iran border. There they abandon Peter to live a stateless life after destroying all proof of his British citizenship.
The film stars Dhanush as Suruli, James Cosmo as Peter Sprott, Joju George as Sivadoss, Aishwarya Lekshmi as Attila, Kalaiyarasan as Deepan, and Vadivukkarasi as Manimegalai, Suruli’s mother.
The teaser trailer for Jagame Thandhiram was released by Netflix India on 22 February 2021 through their YouTube channel without prior announcement. This confirmed the film would be released by the digital streaming platform.
The digital rights of the film were sold for ₹550 million (US$7.3 million), making it the highest-paid Tamil film for direct digital release.