Vishwaroop Review by Indicine critic Joginder Tuteja.
Season 2 and Season 3 of America’s thriller TV series 24 is what forms an inspiration for Vishwaroop, Kamal Haasan’s recent offering which is in news currently for all the wrong reasons. While I come to the validity of these reasons a little later, the fact remains that this thriller coming out of India picks up more than just a thread or two from 24. The only difference is that while 24 has traditionally steered clear of flashback sequences, Vishwaroop goes back and forth in time between 2002 and 2012. However in the current times, the narrative pretty much unfolds in a real time fashion, just like 24.
So what one gets to see is our desi RAW agent Haasan who, just like CTU’s Jack Bauer, has a job in hand to foil terrorists’s plan. This means that while the entire nucleur bomb episode is straight out of Season 2 of 24, the infiltration angle where Haasan successfully manages to win the trust of baddies (Rahul Bose and Jaideep Ahlawat) finds it’s references in the Season 3.
Does that prove to be a deterrent though to the overall scheme of things? Definitely not as the film manages to engage you right through it’s duration. From the very beginning of the film where you are given a clear hint of Haasan being different from what he appears on the front (as a dance teacher with feminine mannerisms) to the point where he joins hands with FBI to foil plan of the terrorists, you are in the journey along with him.
In fact what turns out to be a pleasant surprise are some funny moments that fill the proceedings in the film’s first 30 minutes. Even in the most adverse of circumstances where Haasan is captured by the terrorists, the storyteller in the actor-director ensures that it doesn’t turn out to be heavy duty. However once his identity is revealed (in a true Tarantino/Guy RItchie style action sequence), you know that the thrill element won’t subside.
This is exactly what happens as the story goes back in time to Afghanistan with an extended segment of the film devoted to the war of Jehadis, their mentality, the issues they face on the home front as well as a deeper insight into their wrong doings. It has to be mentioned that this is easily the most arresting part of the film as you are totally glued into the proceedings and watch the drama unfold wide eyed.
Vishwaroopam Movie Review – Titled Vishwaroopam in Tamil
Due to this very water tight treatment of the film in the first half, one does miss the kind of tension that could otherwise have made the film’s culmination as an edge of the seat affair. However that isn’t really the case as everything turns out to be way too simple in the end, right from FBI and Haasan nailing down the terrorists and then subsequently averting the disaster. Frankly, I still feel that in comparison, the extended finale of Kurbaan (which was on the same lines as Vishwaroop) was much more effective and nail biting stuff.
‘The team does well’
Still, as stated earlier, this isn’t a blemish of any kind that could turn you away from the film. More so since for those not familiar with 24, it does turn out to be an engaging enough experience. Moreover, even those familiar with Haasan’s work would vouch for the fact that unlike his many other films where he ensures that camera captures him every second, he does take a step back and let script do the talking. This is the reason why both Rahul Bose and Jaideep Ahlawat get a very good screen time and they make the most out of it. They also break the stereotype of Jehadis, as shown in quite a few Bollywood flicks, what with a humane side of theirs coming to the fore. As for the women in the film (Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah) they are there as a front but that’s about it. Shekhar Kapoor in a cameo is good though one does feel that Nasser could have been much more visible. Zareena Wahab is there just for one scene that could have been done by anyone.
‘The moolah factor’
From the box office standpoint, the film would have to fetch some real terrific word of mouth since it has just one week to make moolah (in Hindi) before Special 26 arrives. Yes, the film is good but mainly for those who are fans of spy thrillers centred on terrorism.
‘The final word’
As for the protests surrounding the film, all that can be said in four simple words is – ‘Much ado about nothing’. That should rest Haasan’s case!Rating:
Joginder Tuteja tweets @tutejajoginder