On the occasion of the second anniversary of Karthik Subbaraj’s Jigarthanda, we celebrate one of its iconic scenes…

– Mani Prabhu

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Sethu, a ruthless gangster, is having some harmless fun in a theater canteen, sharing a loud joke about one of his gang members.

He soon gets up, picks up a bhajji from his plate and starts walking further.

We follow him as he makes some random small talk with a cook and proceeds to cross over to the adjacent theater premises, by using a plate to protect himself from the heavy downpour.

The tense unease keeps mounting as we continue to follow him through the hall’s winding passages to the toilet premises, where he bumps into the cleaner, who asks Sethu to specifically use the first rest-room.

He continues walking. Still nothing.

We wait in bated breath for the scene to explode. But not yet.

Where is this leading up to?

As Sethu proceeds to enter the first room, a nauseated alcoholic stops him, insisting on using it in an clumsily annoying way.

Is he about to get nonchalantly thrashed? Is it? No, not happening.

What the hell! With a smug expression, Sethu walks on and is about to get into the third room, when ‘it’ happens.

The alcoholic opens the door of the first room, and gets shot several times by someone already inside.

Sethu is found stranded at his place, just behind the scene of action, watching the intended assassination in a moment of shock. All this in a wink of an eyelid.

The assassin now walks out of the bath room and informs someone over the phone that the job is done, but Sethu seemingly is not in the pink of his health, his appearance having changed a lot over the years.

Sethu’s alarmed henchmen come sprinting to the spot, hearing the gun-shots.

The assassin sarcastically asks the bemused aides to take home Sethu’s body before its too late, without realizing that the person he had supposedly killed is actually just behind his heels.

As the sidekicks stare on, the assassin turns over and and on seeing Sethu, instinctively pulls the trigger, only to realise that he had fired all six shots on the alcoholic.

He looks on, terrified and flabbergasted, glancing alternatively at Sethu on one side, tranquility written all over his face and the enraged gang on the other.

The pomposity of the scene is underscored in the way it unfolds in the background of the antithetical “Namma Ooru Singari” track from ‘Ninaithalae Inikum’.

But its not yet over. After an eerily calm second of mixed emotions, when Sethu casually proceeds to do the ‘thing’ he actually came for, we just can’t help but smile and clap.

Pure Celluloid brilliance.