Sketch, the title gives away the kind of movie this will be, an action entertainer where the hero knows how to perfectly plan and execute a heist. A Vikram movie is always interesting because of the choices that he makes. He either challenges himself with a mountain to climb (like in I) or takes a walk in the park (like in 10 Enradhukkulla). It is easy to guess which side of the fence Sketch falls on. It is a kind of character that Vikram takes on with consummate ease. It is up to the director and crew to make sure that the outcome is not ‘sketchy’.
Sketch begins in perhaps the most clichéd way known to Tamil cinema, a voiceover narrating the genesis of a rivalry between two gangs in North Chennai. And immediately thereafter we have the customary intro song, some parts of which even Vikram does not seem to enjoy dancing in. Honestly, the opening act of Sketch is all clichés of Tamil cinema in one bag. Just as you begin to wonder that this is going to be a yawn-fest comes a little spike in the plot, and the introduction of the lead antagonist. This props up proceedings for a bit. But, of course, the writer (Vijay Chander) is adamant that things cannot be interesting for too long and introduces Tamanna to the customary BGM of a sitar/veena. Thereafter, the screenplay oscillates between one scene that builds up the rivalry between gangs and one scene where Sketch tries to attract the lady’s interest. A couple of scenes in the love track are genuinely interesting, but the rest is just pure fluff. And, as expected, the lady has to fall sooner or later and then we have a duet on a beach (not to mention that the hero has already had a dream song before). But, Vijay Chandar comes back strongly close to the interval with the first real ‘sketch’ act of the movie. The 15-20 minutes before the interval are really pacy, interestingly written and shot. Things are nicely set up for the second half.
But, it is difficult to understand Vijay Chandar. Just when the plot gets interesting he seems to have some internal compulsion to self-destruct. Here, he does it via an artificially twisted romance track for which he inserts two more songs in the second half, and a mini song to go along with them. One cannot understate the drag down effect they have on the movie. Take away those elements and you have a second half that is quite taut. Vijay Chandar has not backed off from putting his leading man in a spot of bother or making him look lost and confused. This makes proceedings interesting. However, a bit more detailing of the lead antagonist (Baburaj) would certainly have helped. The best part of Sketch is definitely the finishing 15 minutes. It is a master sketch by the hero and the theatre was in raptures the moment it was executed – full marks to the cast and crew for the way this scene has come out. And, Vijay Chandar finishes the film with bolt from the blue – no more spoilers!
This is an out and out Vikram showpiece, even though there is nothing in the script that challenges him. The director has been careful not to take hero glorification too far; this was a fear we had considering his earlier product Vaalu had an overdose of the same. Dialogues are not too great, just passable with one punch line being repeated far too many times. One doesn’t hear too much of the North Madras slang even though the movie is set entirely in these parts. The songs, as said before, are just speed breakers and serve no real purpose at all, while the BGM is interesting initially, getting repetitive later.
Sukumar’s frames are a huge factor in not letting the viewers feel jaded even when the script was unleashing clichés in truckloads. An aerial shot of a terrace just before a fight sequence stands out. The action is just about passable with the regular gimmicks of henchmen bouncing off the ground and shattering glass being seen abundantly.
The problem with Sketch is its unwillingness to part with the extra flab that drags it down. The love track and songs play spoilsport and Tamanna has absolutely nothing to do, a certain disappointment for her fans. And, the police inspector, who was hyped up before his introduction, fizzles out with nothing to offer. It is Vikram, Sreeman and two other friends who hold fort quite strongly. RK Suresh just gets to make crude faces while Soori is in perhaps one of the weakest roles he has done in recent times. One wonders why the director made Harish Peradi give all those suspicious looks and expressions when his characters amounts to nothing in end!
These flaws apart, Sketch has a pretty interesting story under the surface which could have been narrated much more briskly. The director chose to take the other way and gave us a product that is interesting in patches, and totally underwhelming in others, and delivers a solid punch right at the end. This is not a great sketch, it has many rough patches and missing shades, but it still can be looked at without being frowned upon.
TimesOfCinema Verdict : A mildly interesting plot and solid climax save this Sketch!
TimesOfCinema Rating : 2.5/5
Sketch Movie Review Retrospect