Vishwaroop – Movie Review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on February 1, 2013 | No Comments
DIRECTOR – Kamal Hassan
WRITER – Kamal Hassan
CAST – Kamal Hassan, Pooja Kumar, Rahul Bose, Shekhar Kapur, Jaideep Ahlawat
MUSIC – Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
The films of Kamal Hassan especially the ones directed by him, come riding on wide ambition and a scale that is always pushing the boundaries. Much like the actor’s approach to his own performances. Merit apart, this fact alone lends them a curiosity value, despite his rather chequered record as an actor, writer, director.
In the much-maligned, bilingual Vishwaroop (Vishwaroopam in Tamil) he takes on the menace of Islamic terrorism targeting the US. Vishwanath (Kamal Hassan) is a Kathak dancer in a marriage of convenience to a much younger Nirupama (Pooja Kumar), a nuclear oncologist, who marries him to be able to pursue her Ph.d in US. The marriage and her seemingly effeminate husband begin to gnaw at her peace of mind and she begins looking for reasons to opt out. She puts a hired detective on his tail to find a flaw in him but the detective is mysteriously killed by a terrorist Omar (Rahul Bose). And thus begins the couple’s tryst with the Al-Qaeda.
All is not what it seems and the thriller reveals its secrets little by little. Vishwa isn’t everything Nirupama had believed to be, neither his profession nor his religious identity. And he has a history with Omar and Al-Qaeda. All of this comes out in an action-packed atmosphere that doesn’t sermonise nor philosophises the issue.
However, there isn’t any depth in the approach either. Vishwa becomes the super-heroic symbol of ‘Vishwaroop’ to save US from an imminent terrorist attack. In doing so the film doesn’t bother to bust myths or delve deeper into the dynamics of terrorism or its political ramifications. It chooses to remain a black and white story, one of good vs evil and employs every cinematic trick in the book to this effect, even (thankfully) keeping the song-n-dance to the minimum.
True to its ambition, it has lavish cinematography and the muted colour palette of the earlier film. Its special effects are intriguing, though not always stunning and the action is riveting. It is a Hassan film, from the beginning to end and we see him in three avatars, all of which he plays with gusto. But more than the super-hero, it is the effeminate Kathak dancer that draws out real applause. Rahul Bose, playing a one-eyed terrorist is eerie enough and Pooja Kumar, though slightly over-the-top at times, matches Hassan’s star power with a confidence. A very fatigued Shekhar Kapoor appears in a cameo as well.
Maybe, it was the stereotyping or rather a surface characterisation of Islamic terrorism that raised the hackles of Muslim groups in TN. What they, in their equally stereotyped and surface reception refused to see was the clearly clean intent of the film that propounds no malice over any community. Vishwaroopam, unlike Kamal Hassan’s earlier epic ‘Dashavtharam’ isn’t flaky. But it is equally stilted and quite myopic in its approach. Yet, there is sombre tone and a seriousness within all the action-packed drama that makes it a film we could take seriously.