Cast: Vikram, Tamannaah, RK Suresh, Soori
Director: Vijay Chandar
The year was 2002 and I still remember the smile of satisfaction I had while walking out of the theatres, holding my parents’ hands. Vikram’s Gemini had come out and it was easily one of the most enjoyable films of that decade. Of course, the actor has come a long way since then and has done similar roles in films such as Bheema and Rajapattai. But the promo material of Sketch gave me the same vibes as Gemini. It must have been the North Madras backdrop, the loose-fitting checked shirts, the unique hand signs Vikram posed with… Unfortunately, the similarities all end there.
Director Vijay Chandar, who gave us Vaalu in 2015, is back, and again, he attempts to nail a commercial entertainer. Sketch is yet another film about a group of friends, gangsters who control the city, corrupt politicians, and of course, a run-of-the-mill love story. Jeeva aka Sketch (Vikram) is a rough man who can take down a dozen men at one go but is also a big softie — “just like a jackfruit”, as his girlfriend Amuthavalli (Tamannaah) introduces him to relatives.
Vikram looks smart and his swag appeals. Though he doesn’t offer anything we haven’t seen from him before, he scores, as always, in the close-up shots and action sequences. Considering the genre, Tamannaah’s screen time is more than what one expects but the clichéd romance portions and forced songs really spoil the show.
The film has a huge cast but not everyone gets the space they deserve and we’re left with half-baked characters. Be it the main villain, Royapuram Kumar (Baburaj), Settu (Hareesh Peradi) or characters like Guna and Ravi played by Kabali Vishwanath and RK Suresh (who are heroes in their own rights now), they all fail to leave a mark. Soori appears in an extended cameo that the film could’ve completely done without.
On the bright side, Thaman’s music is a big strength. The Kanave Kanave track is a chart buster already and so is the peppy Atchi Putchi. The young composer also aces the background score and the theme music adds the ‘mass’ factor for our hero. The action and camera departments too deserve special mention.
Vijay Chander’s screenplay takes its own sweet time to develop and the film finally does justice to its genre only in the second half. Sketch also changes gears at the climax in a completely inefficient move and ends with a message to the public which feels out of place.
The film has a few good moments, like when Vikram ‘puts a sketch’ for a mission and how a bunch of middle-aged men pull it off. There’s also a shot in which Vikram appears in his get-up from Dhruva Natchathiram. But thanks to the majority of the film bringing nothing new to the table, Sketch is only something that might, to an extent, satiate the hunger of Vikram’s fans.