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Vishwaroopam- A Review

Is he a good fella or a bad fella?
We went to watch the movie on Monday, feeling privileged to live in a state that didn't cry foul over the movie. I was with Ms Fan and Mr Curious As previously stated, I'm not a fan of Kamal Hassan, but I do appreciate a good movie. My favorites from the actor, are movies like Anbe Sivam and Moondru Moodichu .

That having said, we popped over to the cinema, the three of us, on a Monday, to a surprisingly half full hall. Families with three generations had turned up in throng, possibly taking advantage of the cheaper tickets on weekdays.

The Start
As a dancing teacher with Andrea

The movie started off well I thought, even though the puritan in me (the fact that it was a Kamal Hassan movie jumped at  me in the first ten minutes when the lady is talking about her affair with this other fella and the counselor wants to know if they've been intimate. "Sex? We haven't gotten there yet," or something to that effect, she yells out) squirmed a bit at that statement.

The first portion climaxed at an impressive action sequence of Kamal going full throttle on  some villains in the warehouse. And suitably the lady kidnapped with Kamal, was impressed too. Wide eyed, we go into Part 2 for some answers to this manic transformation of a seemingly homosexual dance teacher into a hand mincing ninja. 

Ms Fan was bubbling with enthusiasm at this point for the next bit of the movie, with Mr Curious silently focused on the movie.

Muslim offense meter:- 3/10. At this point in the movie, there are some prayers. This could offend some people, for two reasons.

  • You need to be a Muslim to say Muslim prayers, and the real Hassan isn't of the Islamic faith. The second bit, would be that contrary to popular belief Islam doesn't promote violence.
  •  It doesn't, and I say it in good faith because I lived a large part of my life in a Muslim country, that interprets it non-violently. 
  • And because I'm proud to say, I've read the excellent translation of the Quran by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall and when you read it, you'd realize it is just like any other religious text. 
The Middle

Rahul Bose as Omar
At this point, have had to turn around and ask the two 'movie critics' at the back to shut up. They mock me back, with an Ok and shut up until one of them receives a phone call. 
As if on cue, the baby a few seats east of the critics, decides it wants some attention too and starts wailing. Normal people would give the fella a little walk, show the lights outside the theatre and do what ever it is that takes to subdue the kid. But no, this family decides Kamal Hassan is worth the pain. 

And Kamal is now in Afghanistan, with Omar (Rahul Bose) and helping train the Jihadis in the fine art of combat. In this piece, we see the innards of a terrorist group, amongst the coarsely rugged beauty of Afghanistan. This piece runs for about 40 mins..making me suspect that the 95 crore budget's main expense was this portion of the movie. Some where during this time, I've lost interest and start fiddling around with my popcorn to see if somehow I could toss it over to the back without being caught. On the right side, Mr Curious had yawned a few times and Ms Fan had slumped further into the seat and gave me a look that said, wait for it, the good stuff is going to come soon!

I'm stricken awake, with the approaching NATO bomb attack on the village that they were staying in, shortly after Osama bin Laden (who I mistake for Abu Nasir, not remembering that this was a flash back). Fancy fake smoke, and a military scene that reminded me of the video games that my brother plays (target down, let's go! let's go!)  with some shuffling and the wholesale bombing of the Omar's family. That is genuinely upsetting, and we pause for an interval. 

Muslim offense meter: -1/10 
  • There is nothing offensive at this part in the movie. Like it or not, the world has terrorists, and at this point in time they are of the Islamic faith
  • This part of the movie, by and large, possibly opened a few eyes to the politics of terrorism, and how every attack kills 50 people, but sets the ground for a few hundred more suicide bombers who believe in the cause for emotional reasons
The End

The A Team
Post interval the movie looses focus. It's all over the place, with some jokes, some stereo types, some gibberish nonsense of the Faraday Cage/ Field < I recently watched The Darkest Hour, that gave me some quick education on this cage>. 

Stand out scene was the murder of Dawkins in Brooklyn Park, beautiful & cold. At the same time, the logic behind dragging the A team (Kamal, Wife, Boss-Uncle, And girl dancer, American FBI fella) to the park to stop Dawkins from being murdered, without back up is beyond me. 

The 'climax' involving the stopping of the Nigerian explosives detonator, and Kamal's wife running in with the idea of the Farraday Cage, through security, is beyond me. I mean, in the interest of national security, wouldn't you have 5 million other experts present and if not physically present, at least over the phone?

And the movie ends with some scenes for the sequel. Kamal in bed with Wife....Kamal training in India....Kamal talking about Omar... and at this point, Ms Fan throws me a sheepish smile. Mr Curious throws his hands in the air and murmurs some expletives.

I'm still wondering what role Andrea Jeremiah (Dance girl) agreed to when she signed up for the movie. Unless there was meant to be a Twilight-like love triangle of some sort that we didn't catch. Sorry, the post interval phase was the money waster, the absolute what the heck is going on bit. I think the parents at the back agreed with me. Because they finally took the baby out of the cinema hall for a walk. And the fella next to one of us, never came back from the interval.

I'm not even bothering to do the muslim scale thing here. Because, guy's it's not worth it. I remember thinking, rather unfairly at that point, that the whole hullabaloo possibly gave the movie a heck load more publicity. I mean, it guilt tripped me into going for a watch, didn't it. And oh, go on a weekday. Trust me, it'll make you feel better about having spent lesser towards the 'Save Kamal Hassan' project.

Watch the 'legends' battle it out in the next installment!


Hey Saro, thanks for the review.

I had nominated you for the popular "Liebster Award".

Arun Krishna said…
I was looking forward to reading your "What men want " list he he...only to realize that you'd taken it down.Who's the stalker now? :)

P.S: I'm in Toronto by the way ,pursuing an MBA
R-A-J said…
Well the movie is getting a record release in TN today... nt too mention the sympathy wave thts goin in favor of the movie... lets see how that pans out

Nice review Saro. :)
Saro said…
@ Ayushi, thanks babe for the award. Getting to it now...

@Aliasfar: Thank you!

@TSK: Welcome back! I accidentally published it without realizing that I had. You moved? congratulations!

@RAJ: let's see how it does :)
Anonymous said…
I presume the Andrea's role will be expanded Vishwaroopam 2. However, the only reaction after reading your review and watching the movie: "Still better than other Indian nonsense."

However, the movie is too realistic and very little "filmi"-ness is there, which may put many people off.
Ravi said…
Good reading ( writing ).

The ** Muslim Offence Meter** was kinda-cool thing. As per your rating the meter numbered less rating and so with other reviewers too. This is the reason why the muslim groups here went gaga over the film.


Consider a scenario in which the tail of an elephant is cut, fitted it to a monkey and the public is attracted by the deception that there is an elephant sitting on a tree!

• Here the public viewers of this scene are not fools themselves but they are dumped to believe that there are elephants that can climb upon a tree and can sit on the branches of a tree!

• Here the public viewers of this scene are not fools themselves but they are dumped to believe that there are trees that can host elephants on its branches!

Such is the case of the movie named 'Vishwaroopam'. The movie has cut a couple of symbols of Islam and fitted it to what they call, terrorism.
Anonymous said…
Ms.Fan was definitely disappointed at the end. Mr. Hassan is capable of making better movies. A lot was expected of this movie.

We should appreciate that he has tried making a movie that is different from normal South Indian movies. However, the story line could have been a lot better instead the focus was more on technology.

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