Jilla (English: District) is a 2014 Indian Tamil-language crime-drama film written and directed by R. T. Neason. It stars Mohanlal, Vijay and Kajal Aggarwal in lead roles as well as Soori, Mahat Raghavendra and Sampath Raj in supporting roles. The film, produced by R. B. Choudary, features soundtrack composed by D. Imman with Ganesh Rajavelu and Don Max handling cinematography and editing respectively.
The story revolves around Sakthi, the adopted son of a local crime boss. Sakthi is forced to join the police force, despite his hatred of the police. A horrific incident changes his perspective, and he decides to take the police job seriously, in addition to reforming his father.
The film released on 10 January 2014 and received positive reviews from critics. Jilla completed a 100-day theatrical run on 19 April 2014. As of 5 February. 2014, the film had earned ₹85 crore at the box office.
Sakthi (Vijay) is the adopted son of a Madurai-based don Sivan (Mohanlal) and is also his right-hand man, bodyguard and driver. He hates the police due to a police officer killing his father, who was Sivan's driver, in his childhood. His hatred is such that he hates the khaki colour (which is worn by policemen in India), constantly teases his friend Gopal (Soori), who is a sub-inspector, and even loses romantic interest on a woman named Shanthi (Kajal Aggarwal) after he finds out that she is a police inspector. However, when Sivan is insulted by the new Police Commissioner of Madurai (Pradeep Rawat), he forces Sakthi to become an IPS officer to save his crime syndicate and prove the Commissioner's words wrong (A policeman can think like a criminal, but a criminal can never think like a policeman). Reluctantly taking charge as Assistant Commissioner of Police of Madurai city, Sakthi gives free rein to Sivan and his henchmen, who wreak havoc over Madurai, until one of their activities inadvertently causes a gas leak which destroys a school and some nearby buildings, killing several people, including women and children. This incident, along with the assault of a woman (Meenal), whose husband was killed in the gas leak, by Sivan's henchmen when she had come to the police station to lodge a complaint against Sivan, causes Sakthi to take up the path of an honest and upright police officer. Sakthi's new persona is not liked by Sivan and after a heated argument between the two, he disowns Sakthi. A cat-and-mouse game then begins between Sivan and Sakthi, with Sivan, his henchmen and his family determined to humiliate Sakthi at every opportunity, while Sakthi, assisted by Shanthi and Gopal, tries to rid Madurai of Sivan's influence. Sakthi is soon promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Police for his efforts.
Later, Sakthi finds out that Sivan's other adopted son, a minister Aadhi Kesavan (Sampath Raj) is plotting to kill Sivan in revenge for Sivan killing his police officer father (the same police officer who killed Sakthi's father) in his childhood. Since Sakthi had inadvertently thwarted his earlier plans to kill Sivan, he also plans to get Sakthi killed at the hands of Sivan by killing Sivan's son Vignesh (Mahat Raghavendra) and putting the blame on Sakthi for Vignesh's death. Unfortunately for Aadhi, Sivan sees through his plan and reconciles with Sakthi, both of whom team up to kill Aadhi.
In the end, Sakthi reluctantly arrests a reformed Sivan for his misdeeds, on Sivan's request.Principal characters
Upon the completion of Velayudham (2011), Vijay announced his next project to be with R. T. Neason, who had worked in Velayudham as an assistant to director Jayam Raja. The project however commenced only two years later, after Vijay completed three other films. Neason described Jilla as a "Madurai-based movie" and also revealed that right from 2009, he had this story line about two powerful characters and their emotional interaction, making it his second directorial after Muruga (2007). Vijay who had several collaborations with R. B. Choudary decided to produce the film. Vairamuthu was chosen to pen the lyrics for a song in Jilla, who would be writing a song for a Vijay-starrer after 12 years. Mohanlal liked the script and accepted the film. Master Raju Sundaram will be choreographing the dance sequences in the film.
Nisha Agarwal was rumored to be performing in the film, but she denied these rumors on Twitter, stating that she had not been approached for a film role. Kajal Aggarwal and Poornima Bhagyaraj were also slated to perform in the film. Gautam Kurup was signed up as the second antagonist. Niveda Thomas said that she would be playing the daughter of Mohanlal's character and sister of Vijay's character. Due to clash of dates, cinematographer Natarajan Subramaniam was replaced by R. Ganesh. During a photoshoot with the main cast, Nesan announced that filming would take place in Madurai, Chennai and Andhra Pradesh, while songs would be filmed overseas.
The opening ceremony for the film was held on 11 March 2013 at R. B. Choudary's Chennai office. The first schedule of film shooting took off on 13 May in Madurai and Karaikudi with Mohanlal and Poornima Bhagyaraj. Vijay was reported to join by the end of the month, but this didn't materialise. For the next schedule the film crew shifted to a Chennai-based studio where large sets resembling the city of Madurai were built up for the film. In September 2013, it was reported that Vijay and Kajal Aggarwal would be playing police officers in the film.
The fourth schedule of the film was supposed to start on 14 August. However, the shooting got cancelled due to heavy rain. In October it was reported that 80% of the film had been completed with only the song sequences remaining.
The satellite rights of the film were purchased by Sun TV for a record price of ₹16 crore (US$2.4 million).
Jilla received positive reviews from critics. Sify stated that the film is a "Mass Masala Entertainer" and wrote, "Jilla is masala entertainment and a full course meal that leaves you with a smile on your face", calling it "a perfect outing with your family this festival season and rated 4/5". The Times of India gave 3.5 stars out of 5 and stated "As far as commercial films are concerned, Jilla is definitely assured filmmaking", while adding, "the main issue with Jilla is that it is overlong. Neason, probably in an effort to make it a wholesome entertainer, keeps packing in scenes oblivious to the running time.
Indiaglitz gave 3.25/5 and stated that the film is racy and pure family entertainer and movie entertains all audience". Behindwoods gave 3.75 out of 5 and stated, "The charismatic screen presence of Vijay and Mohanlal,enjoyable musical tracks and comedy scenes and power packed action sequences marks Jilla that satisfies audience. Bangalore Mirror gave 3.5 out of 5 and called it "a perfect festival film that has all the trappings of a blockbuster"
International Business Times gave 4/5 and stated Vijay's and Mohanlal's performances makes the movie entertaining to the audience. Gautaman Bhaskaran of Hindustan Times gave the film 3/5 stars and stated,"Vijay and Mohanlal captivating style and powerful performance makes the movie a solid family entertainer". S Saraswathi of Rediff gave 3.5/5 and wrote,"Vijay and Mohanlal easily keep the audience entertained with their powerful performances, both equally confident and secure in their own ability, undoubtedly making the film a solid commercial entertainer for the masses."
Jilla's opening netted around ₹10 million (US$150,000) in Tamil Nadu alone. IB Times stated it opened well in Kerala too. It grossed around ₹25 million (US$370,000) wordwide on its opening day and ₹70 million (US$1.0 million) worldwide in its extended five-day weekend. In Chennai city alone, the film netted ₹3.24 million (US$48,000)in the first week with an average theater occupancy of 97% and stood first for the weekend. The second week had an occupancy of 85-90% in the city and netted around ₹3.60 million (US$53,000)
The film still stood at the number ten position in Chennai by the third week resulting in a total collection of ₹5.98 million (US$89,000) Jilla grossed around ₹5 million (US$74,000) by the fourth week in Kerela. After 8 weeks at the Chennai box office, the film netted around ₹5.8 million (US$86,000)
Jilla released at 44 screens in UK. The film collected ₹1.54 crore (US$230,000) Jilla has grossed £4,815 from five screens in its third weekend at the UK box office. It had a collection of £243,029 (₹2.54 crore (US$380,000)) in 17 days. In Australia. The film has grossed a total of A$43,899 ₹24.06 lakh (US$36,000) in 17 days at the Australian box office. Jilla opened at Number 2 in Malaysian Box Office and was released in 69 screens. Jilla has made ₹24.06 lakh (US$36,000) from 36 screens in the first weekend.
In a meeting with his fans' association at Srikakulam in January 2014, Chiranjeevi announced that he wants V. V. Vinayak to direct the remake of Jilla (2014) starring himself and his son Ram Charan after the 2014 Indian general elections. It was supposed to be Chiranjeevi's 150th film as an actor. Chiranjeevi opted to choose a script that would reflect the sentiments of Telugu people and walked out from the remake. Charan felt uncomfortable to reprise a role where he has to oppose his father and being dissatisfied with the story, he dropped the remake's proposal.
In late March 2014, R. T. Neason, the director of the original, wanted to direct the Telugu remake bankrolled by Super Good Films. Neason wanted Nandamuri Balakrishna and N. T. Rama Rao Jr. to reprise the roles played by Mohanlal and Vijay in the original respectively. It's possibility was doubtful because of the strained relationship between Balakrishna and Rama Rao Jr. in the past few years. After the release of Gopala Gopala (2015), its co-producer Sharat Marar acquired the remake rights of Jilla and approached Daggubati Venkatesh and Ravi Teja with the proposal of its remake to be directed by Veeru Potla.
In the past, Potla approached both Venkatesh and Ravi Teja with a storyline in July 2014 which upon their consent was developed into a script, which remained in scripting stage according to Ravi Teja as of late September 2014. Kona Venkat was reported to pen the remake's screenplay. Ravi Teja evinced interest to be a part of the remake and the film's production was expected to begin in April 2015. However, there were reports stating that Jilla would be dubbed into Telugu with a duration of 140 minutes including a separate track shot on Brahmanandam. Also, Rama Rao Jr.'s elder brother Nandamuri Kalyan Ram planned to remake Jilla in Telugu with Balakrishna after arranging a special screening for the latter.
The Telugu dubbed version was confirmed in mid April 2015. Tamatam Kumar Reddy and Prasad Sannidhi of Sri Obuleswara Productions acquired the Telugu dubbing rights while R. B. Chowdary was announced to present the film. Surekha Vani and L. B. Sriram were confirmed to be a part of the separate track shot on Vijay and Brahmanandam. Shashank Vennelakanti penned the dialogues for the Telugu dubbed version. After considering many other titles, Jilla was retained for the Telugu dubbed version.