‘MASTER’ | 14 January, 2021

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XB Film Creators’ Master (dubbed from the Tamil film of the same name; UA) is the story of a master, JD (Vijay), who first teaches in college and later joins a government reformation home for children. There is another college teacher, Charu (Malavika Mohanan), who admires JD for his popularity with the college students. JD has a past which may have been traumatic for him and because of which he is an alcoholic. Once at the reformation home, an incident changes JD’s life forever.

The reformation home is actually a hotbed of drugs, alcohol and everything illegal. Bhavani (Vijay Sethupathi) supplies drugs and alcohol to the children there so that they get addicted to them. He then uses them for framing them for crimes they don’t commit. JD vows to save the children from the clutches of Bhavani. Of course, Bhavani gets all his dirty work done by Das (Arjun Das) who is also one of the children being reformed at the reformation home.

What is that incident which changes JD’s life forever? Does JD succeed in reforming the children? Is he able to save the children from Bhavani’s clutches? What happens to JD? And to Bhavani?

Lokesh Kanagaraj has written a story which has many turns and twists and, therefore, keeps the audience hooked on to the unfolding drama. The track of JD ‘revealing’ his past is both, interesting and entertaining. The screenplay, penned by Lokesh Kanagaraj, Rathna Kumar and Pon Parthiban, keeps the interest of the viewers alive from the start till the end. There is so much happening in the drama that it is difficult for the audience to disconnect at any point. The first half is more light-hearted and it serves to establish the characters and their typical characteristics. The second half becomes more tension-ridden and action-oriented. Of course, there are several action sequences in the pre-interval portion too but the second half seems to be dominated by them. The film is too long-drawn after interval, leading to some boring moments. But the boredom does not take much away from the entertainment quotient.

The screenplay has a lot of highlight sequences. Instances in point: JD revealing his past to different people; JD’s song-dances; JD’s action sequences; Bhavani’s action sequences; the trucks-trailers chase sequence; the kabbadi sequence; the action sequence between JD and Bhavani; etc. Dialogues are fantastic.

Vijay is outstanding as JD. He breathes fire in action scenes, is endearing in light-hearted ones, and is grace personified in dances. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the audience falls in love with his overall persona. Malavika Mohanan has a brief role but does justice to it. She looks very beautiful. Vijay Sethupathi is fantastic in the role of Bhavani. He spits fire as the evil man. Arjun Das lends able support as Das. Shanthanu Bhagyaraj leaves a mark as Bhargav. Andrea Jeremiah has her moments as Vaanathy. Nassar is effective, as always. Mahendran makes his presence felt as young Bhavani. Gouri Kishan (as Savitha), Dheena, Sanjeev, Srinath, Sriman, Nagendra Prasad, Ramesh Thilak, Prem Kumar, Azhagam Perumal, Chetan, Ciby Bhuvana Chandran, Soundarya Bala Nandakumar, Brigida, Lintu Rony, Lallu, VJ Thara, Sunil Reddy, Mahanadi Shankar, Kalyani Natarajan, Mathew Varghese, Udayaraj, Poovaiyar, Sai Dheena, Praveen Kumar, Arun Alexander, Pandian, Kulappulli Leela and the rest shine in their respective roles.

Lokesh Kanagaraj’s direction is splendid. He keeps the audience’s participation (as viewers) intact all through the drama despite it being very lengthy. He has also extracted very good work from out of his actors. His only abberations are that the drama gets boring at a few places, especially after interval, and the subject matter is a bit too micro (just one children’s reformation home) rather than macro. Anirudh Ravichander’s music is superb. The songs are very catchy and melodious. Lyrics are pretty effective and fun. Song picturisations deserve special mention because they are very imaginative and fresh. Background music is extraordinary and heightens the impact of the drama manifold. Sathyan Sooryan’s cinematography is just too wonderful. Action scenes are phenomenal and will be loved by the masses. Satheesh Kumar’s art direction is lovely. Philomin Raj’s editing is sharp. Dubbing is too good.

On the whole, Master is a masala entertainer which will be loved by the masses. Despite not finding the same favour with the classes and a section of the family audiences, it will do well in the Hindi-speaking belt. Business will be adversely affected because of lack of promotion of the Hindi dubbed version. As for the original Tamil and dubbed Telugu versions, business will be simply outstanding. In fact, the original Tamil and dubbed Telugu versions will prove to be super-hits.

Released on 14-1-’21 at Maratha Mandir (daily 2 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay thru Raksha Entertainment. Publicity: not upto the mark. Opening: so-so. …….Also released all over. Opening was ordinary at most of the places because of dull promotion. Opening of the Tamil and dubbed Telugu versions (on 13-1-’21) in Southern India was terrific.