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Old wine in a new bottle best describes new Vikram film Sketch. Sadly the old wine fails to impress.

Vijay Chandra, who last directed Vaalu, returns with a story set in north Chennai — a neighbourhood known in Tamil cinema for its gang culture.

Jeeva (Vikram), better known as Sketch, is an uneducated tough guy working under Settu (played by Malayalam actor Hareesh Peradi), a loan financier for cars.

When the owners default on their monthly car payments, it’s Sketch’s job to take the car back. Sketch takes pride in his ability to do a thorough job and he can never go wrong with a ‘sketch’ he has planned, hence the name.

Settu also manages a garage and car servicing unit where he employs young boys. He has an old score to settle with a ruthless gangster Royapuram Kumar (Malayalam actor Baburaj). So he instructs Sketch to steal Kumar’s favourite car — a vintage red Fiat.

Sketch succeeds in his mission earning Kumar’s wrath in the process. Sketch and his friends become Kumar’s targets to kill.

There is nothing new about Vikram’s character here.

With a larger-than-life portrayal of his role as Sketch, Vikram indulges completely to his star image. As for the romance in the story, you don’t have to guess how it plays out. The hero stalks his love interest, Amuthavalli (Tamannah) — a common scenario in Tamil films. The college student inevitably falls for his tough exterior that seemingly hides his soft nature.

Isn’t it time to let go off this obsession for a fair skinned lover and its glorification? Not to forget that in our cinema love blossoms with ease between an educated woman and an uneducated thug. Amuthavalli is brazen about her choice.

Tamannah is mere eye candy here while Sketch is all about wooing Vikram’s fans. And what was that inane comedy track with Soori? His jokes fell flat.

What makes one sit up and ponder is the unexpected twist in the climax. With a message on juvenile criminals, Sketch could have been a sensible story.

For now, Sketch remains a mere sketch that needs a better screenplay and fewer frills.

I couldn’t help missing Vikram, the intense performer of Anniyan and Pithamagan, to mention some of the feathers in the actor’s cap.

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Sketch is now showing in the UAE.