Tamil Movie Review 101: Doctor 2021 – A Cheap Mockery Of Human Trafficking Issue

Doctor Tamil Movie Sivakarthikeyan

I caught Sivakarthikeyan‘s latest Tamil movie, Doctor at Netflix recently and let me tell you upfront – it is probably one of the worst movies starred and produced by him. But surprisingly the reviews of the movie have been good so one has to wonder what the reviewers were drinking when they reviewed this movie. It was also reported to be one of the highest-grossing movies for 2021. Or did I miss something? Image source: IMDB

Read these first:-

Some Disclaimers

I had always loved Sivakarthikeyan’s movies namely because it often has good-natured comedy and seriousness in the right moments. But something terribly went wrong with his latest venture in Doctor. Perhaps the concept of dark comedy is something new and I am unable to accept it after getting used to the usual type of Tamil comedies on sensitive matters.

P.s. there’s plenty of details of the movies in this post so spoiler alert.

Don’t be misled by the scenes in this trailer – you may think that you are going to watch a very serious movie but the actual result is totally different. Human trafficking is not a joke – it is estimated more than half a million people are trafficked across the borders (see here).

The case of missing children is even serious. It is estimated 4 children go missing every day in Malaysia which is already very bad. In India, the figure is even higher at 260 children going missing every day. The US has the worst records with almost 1,300 children going missing every day. It is not a laughing matter and some of the children may not be found alive again. Imagine the agony of the families of the missing children.

The General Plot

From Wikipedia:-

Varun (Sivakarthikeyan) is a military doctor who is engaged to Padmini (Priyanka Mohan). Varun is practical while Padmini is emotional. While returning from a mission he receives a voicemail from her saying that it would be better for both of them to call off the wedding.

Varun, despite being in love with Padmini, maintains an apathetic front that is repulsive to Padmini, and on going to enquire with her family regarding the rejection, is belittled by Padmini for being emotionally unavailable.

As Varun leaves, the family learns that Chinnu, Padmini’s niece, is said to have gone missing. Varun promises them that he will rescue Chinnu. They initially lodge a police complaint. An incognito officer named Bhagat is appointed for the family’s protection, a measure which Varun sees as minimal.

After realizing Chinnu is one among many girls who have similarly gone missing, Varun takes command and plans to kidnap the Assistant Commissioner of Police’s daughter, convinced that it will trigger a competent investigation, and keeps track of the investigation with Bhagat’s help. Varun and the family feign ignorance and simultaneously begin an investigation of their own.

After the police mass arrest a number of kidnappers in Chennai, Varun returns the ACP’s daughter and nabs three of the arrested kidnappers, among who he believes is Chinnu’s kidnapper, and manipulates Prathap, one of the three, into accompanying them for assistance.

The rest of the story is about how Varun and his fiance’s family will find ways to defeat the criminal mastermind (played by Vinay) and get their kidnapped daughter back.

Huge Holes in Plot

If you had read the plot or watched the trailer before watching the movie, you will be very excited to see this movie. After all, the core subject of the plot is human trafficking & missing children and you have a very practical military doctor as the hero on a mission so one will be expecting URI like surgical mission and brilliant cat & mouse play between Varun and the mastermind.

No such thing happens in this movie but instead, they make fun of things. And all these happen with Sivakarthikeyan keeping a very straight face. Damn!

Even it is just a comedy, I hate it when directors and writers don’t do their homework and proper research before coming up with the scenes. I consider it as an insult to the audiences’ intelligence. Entertaining is fine but please don’t make stupid movies. There are plenty of plot holes in this movie as well.

1. The school closed early due to the death of someone important so they had to release the students early. It does not make any sense but perhaps they do this in schools in India. But this is so, wouldn’t they inform the parents early so that the parents can rearrange the pickup? No idiot will allow their students to wait in school or linger around outside for hours.

2. The student gets kidnapped due to the school’s decision to close early and it happens in front of the school but the school does not take any responsibility. What kind of signal that this send to other parents who have their children in the school?

3. The father of the kidnapped girl decides to commit suicide, no thanks to the clown police who bad-mouth the situation but (obviously) get stopped by the hero. Why does the notion of suicide even come in place at this point? The father is an idiot? Instead of now spending his time, money and effort looking for the kidnapped daughter, he goes to hang himself up.

4. The police assigns a clown to wait at the girl’s house to handle the ransom call. This one character did more than enough to flush the movie down the toilet. What was the director was thinking when he decided on this character? Please give due credit to the professionalism of the police force. Their key objective is to get back the kidnapped girl safely to the family and not make the situation worse.

5. Varun and his team of the kidnapped girl’s family go and kidnap the ACP’s daughter easily without any witness or evidence. The police then go and pick up the usual kidnapping suspects unnecessarily, torture and then release them only to be picked by Varun. Don’t they start with questioning the witnesses (there were plenty of the students outside) or check the CCTV around the school?

6. How sure Varun that the suspects picked up by the police in the ACP’s daughter’s kidnap case is also involved in Varun’s case? At the very best, they can only provide the modus operandi on how kidnappings are done and this can be easily obtained from the police themselves. Why need to kidnap them and pretend to take out their kidneys? Mind you, there is no ransom call made and no one knows what happened to the girl (kidnap is just an assumption at this point).

7. The confrontation with the two twin brothers, Melvin and Alvin inside the transit train is a big mystery. What is Varun’s real plan here? Is it to capture both of the brothers or just one of the brothers? And why fight these 2 brothers in the dark when you have 6 of you facing them?

8. The fight inside the transit train also showed how serious (or the lack of it) the kidnapped girl’s family are in getting back the kidnapped girl. Instead of whacking the 2 criminals with vengeance, they go and hide under the train seat leaving Varun to fight both brothers on his own. Don’t they realise that if the 2 brothers win, they will lose their daughter forever?

9. The mastermind is rather careless and opens up all the details of his operations i.e. kidnap young girls and hold them until they age and then sell them to Varun, a stranger who he had just met. Don’t brilliant criminal masterminds like him make the necessary background checks before confronting Varun? Varun’s military service records could easily be traced.

10. Varun consults his Colonel friend in the beginning who is clearly more experienced and skilled for rescue missions but then he only comes in the very end after the show more or less is over with Varun beating the bad guys. Why can’t the Colonel act earlier and mount a rescue mission earlier since the location of the kidnapped girls is now known?

The Irritating Bhagat Character

This character (played well by Redin Kingsley but he wasted his talent here) was a key negative point of the movie for one simple reason – he is a police officer entrusted by his superiors to assist the family whom the daughter has been kidnapped to deal with the kidnappers.

But instead, this character acts unprofessionally, clowns around and makes fun and trivialise the incident of kidnapping. Further, he even participates in the kidnapping of his superior’s daughter knowing that it is a crime.

Varun on the other hand is part of the professional Indian Army but instead, he masterminds the kidnapping of the ACP’s daughter. He is not part of the Special Forces or the infantry but somehow he is skilled with martial art. Perhaps it is a requirement in the Indian Army that doctors should be able to take on 10 bad guys.

Final Say

One of the comments in the review stated this and this is indeed the case here:-

The Director and the team has taken a serious topic and added comedy in it which is not a bad way of film making but come home you’ve forgotten the logics behind such a serious topic?

When you write such a serious topic you should do at least some basic research but here director has almost no knowledge in topic/ inspired by some B rated Hollywood human trafficking movie and did the same to the poor Tamil Audience!

Second half of the movie was totally terrible and there was Zero logic in any of the scenes.

(Source)

And this is another (edited for grammar):-

I don’t know why this film has 8.5 rating (while I’m writing this review). I’m a keralite and it was released a month after it hit the screens in Tamil Nadu. I was too exited for its release in kerala after reading the reviews in here and the Tamil people telling great about this film. I saw the film on the day it was released here and it was a great disappointment for me. It is an usual commercial film but with almost zero logic.

The comedy was awesome sometimes and I laughed so hard (I told sometimes). I don’t know why they are adding so much unecessery scenes in between. In many occasions they are trying to make us laugh. But the sad fact is that we aren’t laughing at all.

There was a fight scene before interval in which I was getting very interested and involved in it but it didn’t last for long. The fight was unnecessarily too lengthy and I felt a lot of lag. The movie was fully lagging and it was only the bgm of Anirudh which kept me in the theatres. It was so so soo awesome. Hats off to Anirudh!!

(Source)

The problem with Doctor for me is that it took a very serious subject and turns it into a comedy. How can a parent of a kidnapped girl be a comedian when the time was crucial for them to be strong? It does not make any sense. Some on the internet suggest that it is a form of a black comedy but seriously, really?

The late Padmashri Vivek who is well known to tackle sensitive and public issues in his comedies does it rather well without losing the touch on the comedy and also on the public message. Just see his comedy in the 2003 Tamil movie, Saamy that touches on bribery, caste and religion.

One cannot help comparing this movie with other movies where police officers are involved in kidnapping cases and see how things are done properly in those movies.

Take example the kidnapping & rape case in the 2016 Tamil movie, Theri where Vijay plays an honest police officer who employs surgical steps to find the missing IT staff who was raped and eventually dies. Another is the 2015 Tamil movie, Yennai Arindhaal starring Ajith Kumar who searches for a kidnapped friend’s daughter and discovers an organ harvesting criminal gang.

In this movie, instead of doing proper investigations, they kidnap another’s daughter causing the same misery and pain to another innocent family. It does not make sense. Yogi Babu’s jokes are acceptable and it was something that kept me continue to watch this dumb movie. The second half of the movie hardly improved and continued to deteriorate.

This will be a movie that one can give a BIG pass.

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