SKETCH (2018)

Critic - No.143

Director: Vijay Chandar
Casts: Vikram, Tamannah, Sriman, R.K.Suresh
Music: S. Thaman
Language: Tamil
Genre: Action / Thriller

Sketch (Vikram) works with a local goon who seizes vehicle of people who default on loan repayment. When he seizes the car of a notorious gangster, he unwittingly places himself and his friends in a dangerous situation.

Even though Vikram has succeeded in commercial avatars in films like ‘Gemini (2002)’ and ‘Saamy (2003)’, his recent luck in commercial films have been a little low with ‘Rajapaatai (2011)’ and ‘10 Endrathukulla (2015)’ being panned by both audiences and critics. But ‘Sketch’ somehow brings back his heydays look and mood. Even though, Vijay Chandar’s debut film ‘Vaalu (2015)’, was a straight on masala romance flick, it had certain sense of experimental and new age touch to it. But ‘Sketch’ is more template driven, predictable but with a few sparkles of realism and rawness in the depicting the gangster life in North Madras. 

‘Sketch’ enables Vikram to loosen up and perform his heart out with sheer casualness and spontaneity. That charisma evolves by scene and makes him the most prominent reason for the audience to stay engaged in this predictable action flick. The film has two main tracks which are the romantic track and the main plot of Vikram, his friends and the problems they encounter with the notorious gangster. 

The latter track is loaded with emotional scenes depicting the friendship of the four of friends (Vikram, Sriman, Vishwanath and Vinoth) earnestly. The suspense factor of that track is well kept until the climax that is a complete shocker. As much as it surprises you and makes you ponder deeply about the social message given, after a while when you head back home, you will question whether it is really convincing. And the answer you get is ‘no’ unfortunately. 

Nevertheless, a good attempt by the director to weave in a thought provoking message about gangsterism backed up by a decent research. 

So what didn’t work? Ordinary man rubbing the wrong side of a gangster, falling in love at first sight with a girl and violence revenge episodes are some basic templates for masala flick and ‘Sketch’ ticks all the checkboxes diligently. The romantic track is weak and insipid oozing with outdated situations and dialogues. Nothing about it looks sincere or original. So when it disappears suddenly in the film, no one actually notices. Tamannah look beautiful in traditional look but that’s pretty much it for her thinly written character. 

Another problem the film has is the lack of a formidable villain for this masala flick. RK Suresh who shows lots of promise in the initial stages of the film, fizzles out very quickly. 

The songs that pops up frequently during those scenes act as a major speed breakers in the film. With just one fast number and four melody tracks, the album looks a little one dimensional as well. Especially being embedded with so much melodies, the stretch of time is even more obvious and tiring. But Thaman scores big in his theme music that elevates the entire film to a whole new level. Without his inspiring score, ‘Sketch’ would have fallen even more. 

The natural dialogues and high voltage action scenes are other engaging factors of the film as well. These are some packaging Vijay Chandar does to cover up the thin story and it works at parts. 

That said, ‘Sketch’ doesn’t stoop low to give scenes that underestimates the intelligence of the audience but also doesn’t really give us something new as well. The realistic gang wars laced with a sincere depiction of friendship and the structure of suspense does make us feel better watching this, otherwise an underwhelming experience. ‘Sketch’ might be your choice for this Pongal if you are a masala flick lover who is not very picky with content.

‘Sketch’ is a template driven, predictable masala flick that stays afloat, thanks to Vikram’s charming screen presence, Thaman’s uplifting BGM and the pre-climax twist. 



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