Director: Lokesh Kangaraj
Cast: Vijay, Vijay Sethupathi, Malavika Mohanan, Arjun Das, Andrea Jeremiah, Shanthanu Bhagyaraj
Catching a mass entertainer on a Pongal morning at the theatre is an experience by itself. The wolf whistles for the hero entry, the fanatic applause which is followed by punch dialogues and collective glee as the hero makes mincemeat of an array of villains make the Pongal movie experience immensely fun. Master is a film tailored for such a community experience.
Vijay’s fans are in for a treat as the actor brings all his signature moves to the yard. Writer-director Lokesh Kangaraj’s fans will, however, be disappointed. After making a mark with Managaram and Kaithi, this is Kangaraj’s weakest film yet. It has all the trappings of a mass entertainer, and as a result, the film as a whole suffers.
Thematically it’s interesting as it’s about reformation, the state of juvenile homes and prisons. But what could have been a much better film is reduced to a star vehicle.
Vijay plays professor JD and is a strangely revered alcoholic. He’s barely functional but students and teachers cover up for him and worship him at every step. This much-revered alcoholic goes to reform a juvenile home.
The film serves as a vessel for Vijay’s many messages to his fans. From his opinion on entering politics to why college elections prep the first time voters for participating in democracy to the dangers of addiction, the actor has some heavy preaching messages for his devoted fans.
By referencing Ajith’s Aaluma Doluma and Surya’s Varanam Aayiram Vijay also subtly tells his fans to lay off the star wars they indulge in. These are honourable messages and intentions, but that alone does not a good film make.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that the word ‘government’ is censored in the dialogue “the government doesn’t listen to its people”. Whether it’s self-censorship for full occupancy or mandated, it’s a puzzling move.
Vijay Sethupathi sinks his teeth into the role of a formidable adversary and steals the show as long as he is allowed to. It’s a predictable climax and you can guess who comes out on top.
Malvika Mohanan who plays the female lead has hardly any screen time. Some of the kids at the juvenile home have more to do in the film than her. She adequately looks up to the hero which is the role she’s meant to play.
Andrea Jeremiah has a blink and miss role which minimally redeems itself in the climax, but the rest of the cast such as Ramya Subramaniam, Sriman and Nassar are wasted in this star vehicle.
Anirudh Ravichander’s foot-tapping music is the legacy Master will leave behind. It’s possible for a film to entertain without being good, Master is an example.