Vishwaroop Movie Review by Taran Adarsh

Terrorism is no longer confined to a particular province, district or state. It’s a worldwide concern, affecting every nation in some way or the other. Kamal Haasan’s VISHWAROOP, therefore, is pertinent. This time around, the legendary actor helms a genre that’s very Hollywoodish and — here’s good news — he pulls it off quite well.

Attempting a nail-biting thriller can be tough. Scores of films have traversed the path in the past. However, Kamal Haasan shuns the tried and tested, humdrum stuff and comes up with a fare that prides itself of mesmerizing action, stunts and combat scenes and marries form [technique] and content [drama] to the delight of the spectators. The film is not without its share of hiccups — it’s way too lengthy and the second half is sketchy — but the effort is laudable, nonetheless.

America, 2012. A marriage of convenience. Vishwanath alias Wiz [Kamal Haasan], a Kathak exponent, and Nirupama [Pooja Kumar] get married. All is fine till Nirupama aspires for more and wants to opt out of the arranged marriage. She cannot cite any specific reason to leave Wiz as there is nothing much to complain about him.

Every male, according to Nirupama, must have a flaw. So she decides to find out something about him to feel better about her decision to part. She hires a detective to rake up something on him. Wires get cross-connected and all hell breaks loose.

VISHWAROOP starts off with gusto and Kamal Haasan ensures there’s hardly any dull moment in the first hour. The transformation from a graceful dance teacher to an agent as well as the back story involving the jihadis are proficiently amalgamated in the screenplay and executed by the storyteller, with the swift pacing and brisk unfolding of events/episodes acting as a cherry on the cake. The combat scenes, in fact, are the mainstay of the enterprise, with Kamal Haasan going all out — as an actor as well as the director — to make it appear real on the big screen.

But the post-interval portions lose focus. The writing isn’t persuasive in this hour, especially towards the middle of the second hour and even otherwise, the narrative seems prolonged towards the concluding stages [it’s an open end, with Kamal Haasan declaring his ambitious plans for a sequel]. Besides, the resolution could’ve been far more dramatic and convincing. It isn’t!

Hollywood often illustrates the jihadis in a typical style and Kamal Haasan uses this template in VISHWAROOP as well. The ill-advised Afghanis and their cry for war against America seem straight out of a western flick. These sequences, coupled with the action stuff, keep you thoroughly involved. Like I pointed out earlier, the execution of several action/combat scenes is exemplary.

There’s no scope for the usual song and dance routine here, but the background score works well. Additionally, the movie gets brownie points in the technical department, right from shot designing to cinematography to the sound design. Also, Kamal Haasan and his art department deserve a pat for zeroing on some stunning locales.

Kamal Haasan has portrayed a wide variety of characters in his illustrious career and when you look back on his body of work, this act in VISHWAROOP is sure merit a spot amongst his finest works. He is incredible in the dance sequence at the very commencement of the film and changes colors like a chameleon as he takes to the death-defying stunts with passion. It won’t be erroneous to state that Kamal Haasan’s towering performance is one of the prime reasons why VISHWAROOP stands tall.

The film has an array of talented actors and each of them enact their parts with graceful ease. Rahul Bose is in top form. Why don’t we see this talented actor in more movies? Jaideep Ahlawat is an amazing talent and I am very sure, we will hear more of him in the future. Shekhar Kapur returns to the big screen in a charming cameo. Nasser gets into the skin of the character with gusto. Both Pooja Kumar and Andrea Jeremiah are adequate.

On the whole, VISHWAROOP is a Kamal Haasan show all the way. It has an interesting premise, superb combat scenes and Kamal Haasan’s bravura act as its three aces. But a stretched second hour and far from dramatic finale dilute the impact. Yet, all said and done, those with an appetite for well-made thrillers might relish this effort!

Ratings: 3 Stars.

  1. Author
    aryan 9 years ago

    Review by Komal Nahta

    P.V.P. Cinema and Raajkamal Films International’s Vishwaroop (UA) is the story of a group of Indian secret service agents trying to nab a big league of terrorists across nations. Vishwanath alias Taufiq alias Wisam Ahmad Kashmiri (Kamal Haasan) is married to Nirupama (Pooja Kumar) who works as a nuclear oncology doctor under Dipankar Bose.

    Wisam enters the terrorist group of Omarbhai (Rahul Bose) who works for Osama bin Laden. He trains Omarbhai’s men in terrorist activities and wins the confidence of Omarbhai and everybody else. However, Omar­bhai’s trusted lieutenant, Salim (Jaideep Ahlawat), realises that Wisam is not what he appears to be. But it is too late because Omarbhai’s family has been killed in a bomb attack by the US army.

    Omarbhai’s man, Farukh, nabs Wisam and Nirupama but Wisam proves too smart for him and kills Farukh and all his deputies and escapes with wife Nirupama but not before Dipankar is killed by Farukh. It turns out that unknown to Nirupama, her boss and lover, Dipankar, was an associate of Omarbhai.

    It’s now Omarbhai and Salim gunning for Wisam. Even as Wisam and his colleagues – Jagannath (Shekhar Kapur), John Dawkins and Ashmita (Andrea Jeremiah) – are trying to prevent Omarbhai’s terrorist activities in the USA, the FBI arrests Wisam, Nirupama and Ashmita. Soon, the FBI realises that the three are working against terrorism and they now join forces to combat terrorism. But what is Omarbhai’s game plan? Does Wisam and group succeed in unearthing the hideous plan and stopping it in time? Or are they too late? What happens to Omarbhai and Salim? And what happens to Wisam and group?

    Kamal Haasan’s story is too complicated and has so many characters with such difficult names and unrecognisable faces playing them that the drama gets too confusing as it becomes difficult for the viewers to remember the characters and their names. It keeps going into flashback, only adding to the confusion. What’s worse is that screenplay writer Kamal Haasan adopts a technique which withholds from the audience what exactly is happening so that the viewer is left wondering where the film is headed. In other words, the audience very often gets confused with the many happenings because the writer chooses not to reveal all to them. This starts testing the viewers’ patience after a point of time and even puts them off. Things do fall into place ultimately but that often hap­pens so much after the confusion has arisen that it would serve the purpose of clearing the doubts if and only if the viewers have the patience.

    Frankly, the audience of today is not at all interested in the details the writer has gone into, to present the terrorist activities of jehadi Muslims. For the womenfolk, several of the action scenes are so violent and the killings, so brutal that they would feel repulsed! The light scenes, especially after interval, fail to evoke laughter. Another big minus point is that the film has too many subtitles in Hindi when the characters speak in foreign languages. This makes it cumbersome for the audience. Also, the climax is unsatisfying and seems to have been written with the sole aim of making a sequel to the film!! Some portions of the climax (like Nirupama diffusing the ticking bomb, with an electronic appliance) even look rather unbelievable.

    On the positive side, some of the twists in the tale are interesting and have shock value. Also, a couple of scenes offer edge-of-the-seat excitement. Some action and stunt scenes are very mass-appealing. In particular, the action scene of Vishwanath/Taufiq killing Farukh and his men is worthy of applause. Dialogues, penned by Atul Tiwari, are appropriate.

    A word here about the authentic atmosphere created. The writer-director ought to have appreciated the fact that creating an authentic ambience is great when and only when what’s being shown holds the audience’s interest. Otherwise, the authenticity is quite worthless – and that’s the case in this film too.

    Kamal Haasan lives the role of the secret service agent on a mission. He gets into the skin of the different characters he plays and shines in each and every one of them. In one word, he is extraordinary. As his wife, Pooja Kumar is adequate. Rahul Bose does an absolutely fine job in the role of Omarbhai. He looks every inch the terrorist he plays. His get-up and voice modulation deserve distinction marks. Shekhar Kapur is average. Andrea Jeremiah is quite nice in the role of Ashmita. Jaideep Ahlawat is adequte in the role of Salim. Nasser, Zarina Wahab, Atul Tiwari (as detective Peter Parwani) and the rest lend the desired support.

    Kamal Haasan’s direction is good but his narrative style does confuse the viewers at places. Also, his script holds very limited appeal. Music (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) is not of the popular genre. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are alright. Pt. Birju Maharaj’s choreo­graphy is fine. Sanu John Varughese’s cinematography is first-rate. Madhu Sudhanan’s visual effects are praiseworthy. Stunts and action scenes, choreographed by Kecha Khamphakdee and Lee Whittaker, are death-defying and will appeal to the masses but many of them will be found to be too gruesome by the ladies. Sets (Lalgudi N. Ilayaraja) are authentic. Mahesh Narayanan’s editing is good. Production values are grand. Technically, superb.

    On the whole, Vishwaroop is too long and tedious to entertain. It has a subject which not many would be interested in watching. It will, therefore, have a very limited run in the cinemas and will bomb at the box-office. The controversy surrounding the ban on the Tamil version by the Tamil Nadu government will not give the box-office collections of the Hindi version much boost.

  2. sputnik 9 years ago

    Vishwaroop Movie Review by Anupama Chopra

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