Master Tamil Movie Review

Feature Film | Action, Drama | 2h 57min
Lokesh Kanagaraj humanizes Vijay's character in Master. Vijay does not play a messiah in the film. That he has some personal demons make the character interesting. And, that Kanagaraj is not afraid of deviating slightly from commercial film formulas make Master worth watching, despite its flaws.
Jan 15, 2021 By Sreejith Mullappilly

Master is a typical Vijay film on paper, but its director Lokesh Kanagaraj makes it different from many of the star's other movies. As far as the plot goes, it is a straightforward Vijay movie with clearly defined heroes and villains. Vijay is not playing his usual role of a savior of the masses here. His JD is a college professor, or the 'Director of Student Affairs' as one of the characters describes him. That designation explains why Vijay's hero introduction scene has him bashing some amoral college students up. It is a matter of student affairs that JD must deal with.


JD has serious flaws in his personality. He drinks a lot of alcohol, dozes off in the middle of conversations, and is often late for functions. This personality makes him get involved in college politics, which then leads to a situation that eventually lands him at a juvenile jail. There, he should oversee juvenile convicts. JD needs to be corrected as a person, and where else but a correctional facility to do it? What an irony that is.


This is the same facility where the film's antagonist, Vijay Sethupathi's Bhavani, spends a good part of his growing up years. Master starts with a backstory of the young version of the Sethupathi character, who is sent away to the jail for doing nothing wrong. Being orphaned as well as physically tortured at the jail, turn Bhavani into a monster with a powerful fist. Kanagaraj's introduction for the villain of Master is cool and commendable.


So is his deliberate attempt to humanize the hero character of Vijay. It is uncommon to see Vijay being vulnerable in his 'star vehicle' movies. There is a reason for JD's personality flaws, but the filmmaker does not spend much time explaining those. Instead, he gives us one of the best mass scenes in any Tamil film yet, featuring a vulnerable Vijay. The key here is the build-up to the scene that orchestrates the action with some genuine emotion. It is unlike the usual stunt scenes in movies like Theri and Mersal that do little except appease Vijay fans.


Anyhow, that is not to say Master is masterful. Be warned, this is not a flawless Vijay entertainer. There are long stretches here that should have been edited out. The movie is 3 hours long, so one wonders why the makers kept a stunt scene honoring Vijay's previous film Gilli in the final cut of Master.


I love Vijay Sethupathi, and the actor is in fine form here as the devilish and conniving Bhavani. However, I just wanted more duels between Sethupathi and Vijay. I also wanted Bhavani to be more wicked. The filmmaker makes us wait long for the first meeting scene of the hero and villain. When that scene finally arrives, you would wonder whether it was worth the wait or not. It is easy to understand what Kanakaraj is trying to do here. He clearly seems to have wanted to keep Master from being a typical Vijay film where the star and his villain actor take up the maximum running time.


Master has the other issues present in most Vijay films. The female actors have little to do here. I could not fully understand who the heroine of the movie is. Conceptually speaking, Malavika Mohanan plays Vijay's heroine. But then, Andrea Jeremiah gets a big scene where that heroine should exist, or so you would think.


Vijay's Bigil fixed that lack of female involvement in his films, but the issue is back here again. Kids play a bigger role in Master than the ladies. In a terrific scene, one of the kids does the sort of thing that Vijay usually would in his star ventures. The movie does not have some great songs, unlike most other Vijay films. But Anirudh's background music and themes make many of the film's stunts more fun to watch.


Sreejith Mullappilly

   

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