The year is 1918. A milkman is tirelessly digging a well when he stumbles upon a brass vessel. To his astonishment, he discovers that whatever is put inside the vessel keeps multiplying inexhaustibly. Yes, this could be the Akshaya Patra which Draupadi possessed in Mahabharata. And this indeed is the Jackpot that forms the title of this film (dubbed from Tamil). In fact, the director (who also wrote the film) seems to have used this very vessel to make this film. Wondering how? Allow me to take you step-by-step through the process.
A piece of paper lies on the director/writer sir's table, containing the following words. "Akshaya (Get it? Akshaya! Akshaya Patra? Oh, I am so clever!) and Maha are two badass con women who don multiple disguises in bids to make money. Both sprout out punch dialogues at the drops of their hats, and Akshaya even fights 10 people single-handed, that too in slow motion. And when they are not doing any of these, they indulge in body-shaming other people, stripping them naked, or stealing their vehicles. Oh, and they are trying to lay hands on that inexhaustible brass vessel."
The director/writer sir then stuffs these 92 words in the magic vessel, and then lo and behold, the words keep multiplying repetitively to form the script of this 133-minute long movie. The events will keep repeating, and all that sir needs to do is insert a couple of supporting cast members, a few locations, and various disguises to induce variety into the script, and then done!
This isn't to say that Jackpot is unwatchable. On the contrary, quite a bit of it is enjoyable. For someone whose throat has probably taken a beating from shouting herself hoarse asking for more screen-space for women in films, it was indeed delightful to watch two women not only shouldering an entire movie, but also kicking some ass while they are at it. Akshaya (Jyothika) and Maha (Revathi) are no self-sacrificing angels, but are women who won't stop at anything to get what they want. (Of course, there are hints of a tragic past and their inherent goodness, but those are relatively low-key.) Jyothika and Revathi play off each other very well, and together bring the house down.
However, having cool female protagonists does not mean that the film can get away with a lack of plot, utterly repetitive scenes, and "jokes" involving dipping pizza slices in tea. It also doesn't make up for the way the movie gives you a few interesting characters - like the girl who cannot smile or the boy who strongly believes his money plant will bear a 100-rupee note - only to give them abrupt and unflattering conclusions.
And it definitely does not mean the movie can be excused for the way it awfully body-shames some characters. Rajendran's voice, his baldness and his voice are all poked at fun at, but what is truly distasteful is the way the film treats Yogi Babu. Sample this: A young man angers a soothsayer who "punishes" him by turning him into Yogi Babu. And as if it were not enough that he spends the rest of the film lamenting about his "disgusting face", we have scenes where people literally run away from him in fear and disgust. His face even makes a short-tempered bull back off. It is 2019, and we are still shaming people for the way they look?
After a point, the only things that make you sit through the movie (apart from Jyothika and Revathi) are Vishal Chandrasekhar's energetic background score and the supporting cast. Anandaraj in particular is a riot as Masthan, the so-called don whose house hides the inexhaustible brass vessel. However, the part where he plays a woman cop is again tasteless.
Jackpot had all the elements to become an Akshaya Patra offering endless fun and entertainment, but it ends up being just an ordinary brass vessel. But if our male stars can get away with being part of several nonsensical "entertainers", for once we can allow our female leads that same liberty.