Director: Vijay Chandar
Cast: Vikram, Tamannaah
So what’s new in Vijay Chandar’s Sketch? The hero’s (Jeeva aka Sketch, played by Vikram) meant-to-be-kewl hand gesture, for one: it resembles how you’d show the number five, except that the ring finger is folded in. (Wait! Could that be a metaphor for his commitment phobia? Nah! This isn’t remotely that kind of movie.) Sketch’s line of work is somewhat new — he seizes vehicles whose owners default on EMI payments. And at least a bit of the plot is new. It takes a long time coming, but someone starts killing Sketch’s friends, and this track is resolved with a twist I didn’t expect.
The rest of the narrative is as old as… at least, say, Gemini? Once again, we have a good-hearted ruffian, whose girlfriend calls him a jackfruit. He’s prickly on the outside; soft and sweet inside. Who’d have guessed that? (Said girlfriend is played by Tamannaah, who goes by the name of… Amuthavalli. Yes, I gulped — but as screen names for blank-faced north Indian actresses go, it’s a little easier to digest than Koperundevi, which is what Tamannaah was called in Veeram.) Usually, we have to suffer romantic tracks in the first half, till the script catches fire. Here, the duets begin to spring up post interval. You may feel like hurling something at the script — say, a jackfruit!
And we come to the writing. I’ll let go the Soori comedy. (“A bike with gears is like a wife. It listens to what you say. A bike without gears is like a mistress. You listen to what it says.” Now, imagine this line in Tamil.) But let’s look at the tired angle of an educated woman falling for a North Madras thug. A girl who rejects Sketch (his father sets up this surprise meeting) says she wants a husband who works in IT, someone clean-shaven, someone who’ll be able to educate their kids in a convent. Sketch promptly whips out Amuthavalli’s photo and says she’s prettier than this woman. And what does Amuthavalli seek in a man? That he has a beard. That he wears his shirt with the top buttons open. Where’s that jackfruit again?
This isn’t about whether a man like Sketch can prove attractive to a woman like Amuthavalli, who, in an early scene, is seen clutching a Financial Management textbook, tossing off terms like “electronic data interchange.” This is about the screenplay giving us a few — just a few — convincing scenes to make us buy this union. But the script has bigger problems. The twist is a surprise, yes, but it does not carry the impact it should because of poor character development — especially for something that ends with such a major message. It’s like a mystery story where the butler did it, and you didn’t even know there was a butler lurking around.
I kept asking, “Why is a good actor like Vikram in this generic a movie?” This is the kind of hastily put-together wannabe “mass” entertainer that a young hero should be eyeing, so he can prove to the Tamil audience that he can sing, dance, laugh, cry and spend every fifth minute walking towards the camera in slow motion. I was reminded of Kamal Haasan’s career, after Moondram Pirai and Salangai Oli, when he kept making mindless masala films like Kadhal Parisu and Mangamma Sabadham. Had Sketch featured another actor, you’d walk out exasperated. With Vikram, you walk out… sad.
Watch the teaser of Sketch here: