Vishwaroop (2013) *MQ*

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A marriage of convenience happens between Vishwanath alias Wiz (Kamal Haasan), a Kathak exponent, and Nirupama (Pooja Kumar). Each have an agenda and seem to have achieved their wishes in three years of matrimony. Nirupama gets her Ph.D and Wiz runs his dance class in New Jersey unhindered by each other.

All is fine till Dr. 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.

Vishwaroop is a film that will get its share of wolf-whistles. It carries no ‘typical south movie’ stereotypes. There is one lip-sync song in the film and that too, is classical and seamlessly tailored into the screenplay. To Haasan the director’s credit, the film is fast-paced and despite all factual errors, very believable. It does not pretend to be an accurate spy film, but subconsciously, it does end up becoming one. Haasan, the actor, excels and how! His character, or should one say characters, are as diverse as our large country. Kamal shows great range as an actor in this performance, and seldom goes over-the-top.

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