‘Doctor’ movie review: An enjoyable comedy-caper that has Sivakarthikeyan playing down his strengths

Sivakarthikeyan in ‘Doctor’  

Let me make a confession first: I had great fun watching the BTS videos that the team of Doctor put up. One of them has director Nelson waiting desperately outside composer Anirudh’s studio for a song. The composer strolls out, phone in hand, “Ippo lam directors studio vella padhuturanga (These days, directors have started sleeping outside the studio). They don’t understand that music composing is a creative process.

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There’s another funny interaction between the director and hero Sivakarthikeyan, where the former pulls the star’s leg about the Kalaimamani award he bagged recently.

Most of these videos are delivered seriously, but are packed with humour and witty repartees. Nelson continues that irreverence on the big screen in Doctor.

With his earlier film Kolamavu Kokila, the filmmaker proved that he could captivate audiences with the story of an ordinary family doing extraordinary things. He repeats the same trope in this outing, and the result: an intriguing tale of a family going to great lengths, to save a loved one.

Read More | Sivakarthikeyan on ‘Doctor’, the lessons he learnt from ‘Hero’ and why Siva 2.0 is just starting

That’s the gist, but the film begins with Varun (Sivakarthikeyan), a doctor with a stickler for discipline. He’s also practical about life, which is why the girl he likes (Priyanka Arul Mohan, who doesn’t have much to do) doesn’t reciprocate his feelings; she wishes for someone with more emotions, more heart.

In a while, she’ll see all that; when a child from their family is kidnapped, Varun jumps into action. Will he triumph?

  • Cast: Sivakarthikeyan, Vinay, Priyanka Arul Mohan, Yogi Babu
  • Director: Nelson
  • Storyline: A doctor urges a family who has lost a loved one to take things in their own hands

The biggest USP of the film is that it isn’t about Doctor himself; Sivakarthikeyan, in this case. In fact, this is probably his most understated role so far. It literally robs him of his cheery and boisterous self, a quality that has endeared him to the family audiences. In Doctor, he’s like a Rishabh Pant staying quiet on the crease (Pant is known for his aggressive style of batting). Even his dialogue delivery is staccato-like. You could have placed Chitti from Endhiran here, and it wouldn’t have made too much a difference.

However, much like the Professor from popular series Money Heist, Sivakarthikeyan stays in the background while trying to galvanise a family to do something that is normally the police department’s job. The family is filled with memorable characters, and so are the people they meet in the roller-coaster process of saving their loved one.

The first half crackles with humour, with comedy actor Kingsley having us in splits with his brash dialogue delivery. Nelson packs a lot of comedy in the scenes, so much so that even action sequences have a dose of humour (check out the one shot inside a Metro train compartment). Though he loses the plot to an extent in the second half, the interesting set of characters he has designed and their performances keep you invested till the end.

Much like many Tamil films in recent times, Doctor too highlights a cause, that of human trafficking. Statistics and dialogues proving the cause are but a line or two… that’s such a relief. Also refreshing is watching Unnale Unnale Vinay play a character with shades of grey; it isn’t much to write home about, but boy, Vinay does still look fit and fine. Anirudh’s music and background score are major highlights of Doctor; the use of a Carnatic melodic phrase (‘The Soul of Doctor’ track) to a slow-motion fight sequence surprisingly fits, as does the foot-tapping ‘Chellamma’ song. The cinematography — by Vijay Karthik Kannan — also gives us some greatly-lit frames. All these are richly packed in the 148-minute roller-coaster comedy that Doctor is. All these augur well for Beast, director Nelson’s next biggie with Vijay.

Doctor is currently running in theatres


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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 9:03:04 AM |

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