Kollywood
Vikram is absolutely comfortable oozing ‘local’ machismo, while Tamannaah’s character appears to be inserted for visual effect.
YouTube screenshot

If you’ve ever sat through a Kollywood potboiler and fervently wished that, just once, the director would change the formula just a little bit, Vikram’s Sketch should serve as fair warning.

In what is otherwise a completely paint-by-numbers masala entertainer, the last 10 minutes suddenly throw up a surprise twist and social message all rolled into one. And that pushes what should have been a moderately entertaining time-pass action flick into a tailspin of frustration.

But starting from the beginning: Sketch, as Vikram’s titular character is affectionately called, is something of a collection agent for a financier in north Chennai. His job is to seize vehicles from borrowers late on their vehicle payments, and by his own admission he’s really good at it. As he repeatedly declares, “If Sketch puts a sketch, it never misses!”

Standing on the outer fringes of the law, Sketch never hesitates to raise a fist in anger, though he’s basically a softie at heart. Just when things are going really well for him, though, he decides to repossess the pride and joy of the city’s biggest gangster, and things descend into generous bloodshed.

Especially in the first half, this journey takes a very conventional arrangement of light-hearted bromance, romance, punch dialogues and fights. What saves the audience from boredom is that Vikram is absolutely comfortable oozing ‘local’ machismo all over the screen. For the most part that keeps you entertained, even as you realise just how done to death each element in the plotline is.

Some of the action sequences, especially, the chase through north Chennai’s streets just before the interval are good enough to hold attention, even if the plot takes too much time setting itself up.

The romance thread involving Tamannaah follows a rockier path, and it often seems like her character has been inserted into the plot just for visual relief. The songs that emerge from this romance though ease some of the burden of this storyline that doesn’t know what to do with itself.

If that was all that Sketch had to offer, the film might have passed unremarked as a safe action entertainer made purely to pull Vikram’s fans into the theatres. But, director Vijay Chandar decides to give the film a bit of a mystery angle that never gets off the ground. And when that thread finally unknots itself, it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth that has you wondering why you sat through the rest of the film for such a bizarre ending.

Minus the climax, Sketch can be a one-time watch for fans. But if you can’t catch the film in theatres, there’s not all that much you’re missing out on.  

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.