Sketch Movie Review: Vikram-starrer Sinks Into A Murky Mire
Of late, Tamil moviemakers have taken a fancy to set their stories in North Madras, sorry Vada Chennai – a neglected and the original part of the city that the English built in yonder days. Today, it is still awfully congested and rundown, but boasts of a Sowcarpet, where the essentially rich North Indian trading community has been spinning big money. Yet, Vada Chennai continues to be treated like a poor cousin by the city administration, and so, the spurt in tinsel town's interest in this area may well lead to a new chapter in its fortunes.
The Vikram-starrer, Sketch ( an underworld slang for a notorious plan, usually to eliminate an adversary or conduct a heist), penned and helmed by Vijay Chander, plants its camera in North Chennai's Royapuram to trace the life of a gangster, called Jeeva (Vikram). His never-miss style of confiscating cars whose owners have defaulted their monthly repayments has earned him the title of Sketch. Never mind his off-screen “title” is Chiyan.
In all fairness, Vikram can be a good actor – that is when he wants to be or when the script or the director calls for this. But in Sketch, he is reduced to a caricature, that of a thug, who works for an automobile financier (who uses his boys for strong-arm tactics) and hangs out with three other men – all in the same business of impounding vehicles.
But, when Vikram, egged on by his boss (in white and white, a perfect camouflage for his evil designs), “kidnaps” the precious red-coloured car of Royapuram Kumar (Baburaj), a goonda who uses chopsticks to eat his food (and this will be touted as novel!), all Hell breaks loose. He vows to vanquish Vikram and his three buddies, and when Vikram watches them die one after another, he is sure that it is Kumar who is behind all this.
Yes, there is an interesting twist at the end, but poorly narrated with a boringly moral icing. Who needs this now?
Equally annoying is the way women are treated in Sketch. Tamannaah, plays an educated girl, Amuthavalli, who falls for Sketch. For years, she has remained uninterestingly wooden (maybe her lack of Tamil speaking ability contributing to this), and her latest outing is no different.
What seems scandalous is that Tamil writers, helmers and even actors appear callously oblivious of the fact that stalking is illegal. So are racist remarks. “I will get a white girl”, Sketch tells his friends, and it seems pathetic to watch Amuthavalli being treated like a mere object. It cannot get more ridiculous than this.
Honestly, our morally correct censors do not seem to have a problem when it comes such nonsense on the screen. Maybe, they would say, but this is only a story. But Udta Punjab was not! Padmavat too! Standards vary as sharply as day and night.
In the final analyses, Sketch is yet another hotchpotch attempt to tell a story and pass it for entertainment. There is, indeed, plenty. The first five minutes see the movie burst into a dance with Vikram jumping around, and big women swaying to his beat. If there is no melody worth its name in these numbers, the choreography is shoddy to the core.
I admit the subject of cars being impounded is a serious one (many years ago, credit cards companies got into a spot, because of the manner in which they treated defaulters), well worth the effort of a film, but the tendency to wrap it around silly sequences and unbelievable sub-plots (now pray why will an educated girl be drawn to an uncouth rascal in this time and age? ) pulls Sketch into a murky mire.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is an author, commentator and movie critic)