Let me make a confession first: I really enjoyed watching the BTS videos put up by the doctor’s team. In one of them, director Nelson is waiting eagerly for a song outside composer Anirudh’s studio.
- Release date: 9 October 2021 (India) Trending
- Director: Nelson Dilipkumar
- Music by: Anirudh Ravichander
- Produced by: Sivakarthikeyan
- Production companies: Sivakarthikeyan Productions; KJR Studios
Musicians walk out, holding phone in hand, “Ippo lam director studio Vella padhuturanga (These days, directors are sleeping outside the studio). They don’t understand that composing music is a creative process.”
There is another funny conversation between the director and the protagonist Sivakarthikeyan, where the former pulls the star’s leg about the recently received Kalimamani award.
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Most of these videos are taken seriously, but full of humor and witty feedback. Nelson continues that irreverence on the big screen in Doc.
With his previous film Kolamavu Nightingale, the filmmaker proved that he can captivate the audience with the story of an ordinary family doing extraordinary things. He repeats the same trope in this outing, and the result: an intriguing story of a family going to great lengths to save a loved one.
That’s the gist, but the film begins with Varun (Sivakarthikeyan), a doctor with a stick for discipline. He is 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 more feelings, more heart.
In a little while, she’ll see all that; Varun jumps into action when a child from their family is kidnapped. Will he be victorious?
The film’s biggest highlight is that it is not about the doctor himself; In this case Sivakarthikeyan. In fact, it’s probably his most understood role to date. It literally robs him of his cheerful and boisterous self, a quality that has endeared him to family audiences.
As a doctor, he is like the quiet Rishabh Pant at the crease (Pant is known for his aggressive batting style). Even his dialogue delivery is like staccato. You could have put the chitty from Andiran here, and it wouldn’t have made much difference.
However, like the professor from the popular series Money Heist, Sivakarthikeyan stays in the background while trying to inspire a family to do something that is usually the work of a police department. The family is full of memorable characters, and so are the people they meet in the roller-coaster process of rescuing their loved one.
Comedy actor Kingsley has stunned us with his stellar dialogue delivery. Nelson packs a lot of comedy into the scenes, even with a dose of humor in the action sequences (see a shot inside a subway train compartment). Though he loses the plot somewhat in the second half, the interesting set of characters designed by him and his performances keep you hooked till the end.
Like many Tamil films in recent times, Doctor also throws light on one cause of human trafficking. There’s a line or two of causal statistics and dialogue… it’s such a relief. It is also refreshing to see Unnaal Unnale Vinay playing a character with shades of grey; It’s not much to write home about, but boy, Vinay still looks fit and fine.
Anirudh’s music and background score are the major highlights of Doctor Who; The use of the Carnatic melodic phrase (the track ‘The Soul of the Doctor’) for the slow-tempo fight sequence fits in wonderfully, as does the foot-tapping ‘Chellamma’ song.
The cinematography – by Vijay Karthik Kannan – also gives us some very light frames. All of these are packed into the 148-minute roller-coaster comedy Who is the Doctor. All this augurs well for director Nelson’s next film with Vijay, Beast.