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Not really a winner, this

Not really a winner, this
There  are probably two ways to make a Bollywood movie work. Make a darn good film, or make one that ticks with the audience. Or, create a massive controversy that gets your chief minister paying attention to the ruckus. We are accusing Haasan of only the second option — for Vishwaroop is not exactly a box-office winner. At least not yet.

Haasan’s first rendezvous with the controversy bug started when he chose to release the movie on DTH channels and not in multiplexes. And then there was no looking back. From effigy burning to a search for a secular state, Haasan comes full circle in
Vishwaroopam
(the Hindi version is Vishwaroop, mind it!) and there is a Vishwaroop II in the pipeline. Be amply warned!

Viswaroop
follows a decent story trajectory, jumping back a decade in rugged Afghanistan to show some brilliant, gritty action sequences in a terrorist camp and glides back to present day New York. Vishwanath (Kamal Haasan) is a Kathak teacher who lives with his wife Nirupama (Pooja Kumar) who is a nuclear oncologist. Her husband doesn’t quite impress her. Her boss does. So to cover up her guilt, she hires a bumbling private investigator to dig up some dirt on Vishwanath. The accidental death of the detective sets in motion a chain of actions that makes Nirupama realise that she was completely mistaken when it came to judging her effeminate, on-the-surface-pretty-useless husband.

The movie is about sleeper cells in the US, terrorists itching for revenge and the basic oeuvre of the eternal Jihad. Just as there are the good guys, there are the bad guys and the line is very thin. But Haasan makes one tagline very clear — once an Indian, always an Indian (go figure?!) and the story doesn’t end here will good trumps the bad or vice versa. Therefore Vishwaroop II.

The plot is far from original and the execution seems tried. However, it works. Haasan does something right, and we know when part deux hits the screens, we shall be there to pass a verdict. Afghanistan is shown brilliantly. Haasan aces the scenes set in the dry, dusty mountains playing up the traditions and the excessive absurdities of turning an innocent into a suicide bomber. The Afghanistan chapter seems stretched and a little tedious, this could have been solved by flashbacks for both Vishwanath and Omar (Rahul Bose).

Rahul Bose’s role play follows a stock formula. If there was one for ‘how-a-on-screen-terrorist-must-act-like’, this would be it. Jaideep Ahlawat (remember the guy who played Manoj Bajpai’s father in Gangs of Wasseypur?) as Salim is better. Pooja Kumar fits her role but one wonders about her lack of hysteria when her Kathak-training, house-husband transforms into a killing machine in five seconds flat. She seems to be far too unperturbed. But we must add, you can’t paint a terrorist white. We are with you on this Haasan.
Jhinuk Sen

Jhinuk Sen

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