Why you need to watch “Vishwaroopam” ?

These are strange times that we live in. At one side we celebrate our independent voices. We celebrate our rights. The power of voicing an opinion through social media is gaining more and more momentum. At the other side there are victims of “cultural blackmail”. And it is even fateful to witness someone like Padmasri Kamal Haasan at the receiving end of all this stupidity. I recently read an article by ‘times of india’ that quoted Quentin Tarantino was inspired by Kamal Haasan’s “Azhavandhan (Abhay in Hindi)”. That is the class and potential of the man who is a victim today.

Also the irony of the situation amuses me in not so comfortable manner. I am in Hyderabad and I have watched the Tamil version of the movie and am writing this review. However my friends and fellow Tamilians in their own state need to wait till Feb 6th. This is a very crucial juncture that can make or break the artist who is a pioneer in current generation of indian movies.I have never written a review for a movie that is at such a critical spot. I take pride in writing this movie review.

Why you need to watch Vishwaroopam ?

a) This movie is as good as watching a flawless Hollywood movie, only difference is that most of the characters speak in Tamil. Technically, it can’t get better than this in Indian movies.

b) As Kamal Haasan pointed out, this may be his last tamil movie while he is still a resident of India. Can the Tamil film industry afford to lose him in this fashion?

c) The other reason being, as all the news channels are pointing out, if few elements of the society have the right to protest against a movie that has been cleared by the censor board, the remaining society at large can also demand for their right to watch the movie without any blockades or disturbances.

Controversies apart, if we look at the nature of Vishwaroopam, its equivalent to all other movies released till date. “Body of lies”, “Mission Kashmir”, “Roja” and the list goes on. Jihad is a worldwide phenomenon. That is what the movie tries to display in Kamal Haasan’s own style. I don’t see any controversy at all provided the audiences view Jihadis only as Jihadis.

Kamal Haasan has portrayed 3 roles in this movie. The role of a soft Kathak dancer where he displays expressions and emotions with great ease. This is the role where he gets to display his versatile abilities. He dances, he evokes humour, he displays, he has sung parts of the song himself (Unnai Kaanadhu Naan song). He speaks, walks and reacts in a feminine as the role demands him. Out of the Navarasas, he has displayed all emotions using this one character of a Kathak dancer in NYC. Clearly displaying why he is a living legend in Indian movies. The remaining two roles that he plays would reveal the plot so I would refrain from getting into the details. But I would definitely mention that a lot of mind has gone into the creation and portrayal of these two roles as well. All credit to the one and only Kamal sir.

Rahul Bose landed himself a role of his lifetime. I am pretty sure he would sweep all the awards for the negative role section, including the national awards. At no point we realise that he is enacting a role of the one-eyed mastermind. He has lived this role onscreen. He also has difficulty in speech and in walking. Kamal has characterized this role with great detail.

The sheer presence of Shekhar Kapur elevates the movie and gives it an international appeal. He has portrayed his role with ease. It’s good to see him on-screen after a long hiatus.

Andrea and Pooja fulfil their roles.

Title track sung by Suraj Jagan captures the mood and imagination of the movie. Pretty decent album by the trio of Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy.

The only flaw I personally feel is the characters conversing in Arabic/ Afghani on-screen. The subtitles being only in Tamil, I could not read and assimilate so fast. If the subtitles were also in English, it would have given me better understanding of what Rahul Bose and Nasser were conversing.

–Varun Mannava Gowtham


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