How Lokesh Kanagaraj kept his promise of 50% Vijay and 50% Lokesh movie in Master

**Spoilers ahead**

What impressed me most about Master is how Lokesh Kanagaraj kept his promise of making it a 50% Vijay and 50% Lokesh movie. Never in the movie, Vijay and Malavika get in a duet dance and that is almost an impossible feat for a Vijay movie. When was the last time you see first 15 minutes of a superstar movie entirely dedicated to show flashback of the villain- how he grows from an innocent kid to a brutal villain. Master’s USP is its villain – Bhavani and the movie may not have worked if not for Vijay Sethupathi in the role. The actor talks softly, looks calm and is even hilarious at times. But in the process, he also give us one of the finest villains in Tamil Cinema.

Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi in Master

When few guys chase Malavika, its a small kid who smartly saves her through phone while Vijay stands by helplessly. It is another example how Lokesh shows Vijay is not here to solve all the problems in the movie. When John(Vijay) meets Bhavani (VJS) finally in the movie and when he sees a punch from Bhavani missing him and piercing through a piece of meat, he is surprised and scared at the same time. That is another rare for a Vijay movie.

Now when it is 50 % Vijay movie, Lokesh still writes some very clever scenes for the superstar. You first see Vijay’s classroom scenes where he gives instructions to students during drill activities. Because these same instructions would help him later to separate the goons from the students in the post election scene before he starts beating them up. The Kabaddi sequence works for many reasons. It does not only serve up as a Ghilli Tribute. It comes at a point in the movie where Vijay is stuck helplessly without being able to hit back Arjun Das and Gang – and just when he learns they are above 18 years old and did not really belong in the juvenile home.

Anirudh keeps up with his habit of elevating mass scenes so much higher with his background score. Both the first intro where Vijay comes in front of the screen from behind a bus or the second intro when he enters the juvenile home as a new man signaling the kids to enter the class rooms – both work well thanks to Anirudh’s music.

On the downside, Lokesh doesn’t write his woman characters well. What is with Andrea appearing and disappearing randomly through the movie ? Why did Malavika tell only the kids to talk with Vijay but not give him any indication of what he should expect at the new place ? ( It doesn’t help the fact that Malavika puts in a very weak performance). The last 30 minutes lack the punch and thrills of what Kaithi gave. After the Kabaddi scene, the movie doesn’t really find another high point.

“Master. this is not something new to you. But I will still go ahead and say it – ‘I am waiting’ “- says Bhavani to John in the interval of Master. Lokesh uses his skill in nicely executing the pre-interval portions of Master, shuffling the fight scenes with Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi in two different locations. But then at the interval, he goes full Vijay mode as the one-liner continues to be part of Vijay intervals even after 8 years. ( Read: Thuppakki And Its Frames – Why It Is A Classic In Action Thriller Genre) As its almost clear that Tamil Cinema may not see another big Superstar as Vijay, the actor gives his best outing since Kaththi.

Master is fun.

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