A "Controversial" Masterpiece

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Vishwaroopam has encountered numerous controversial issues since the film was launched. From naming issues to DTH release to the alleged portrayal of Muslims in bad light, the film has encountered these controversies which delayed its release and once it was ready for release, Viswaroopam was banned in several places in India. After that, several countries have reportedly blocked the release of the film with Malaysia being the latest to suspend the screenings for a week a day after its release. I managed to catch the film hours before the suspension came into effect here in Malaysia and I was not disappointed, at all. Viswaroopam is one high-quality, well-crafted and intelligent film by Kamal.

The film dealt with the issue of global terrorism but it did not portray Muslims in a bad light as claimed by certain parties. These allegations were totally unfounded and baseless and it is sad to see a country where film personalities are worshipped bowing down to pressure by a small fraction of the population who are immature and foolish enough not to understand the content of the film.

Now, let’s get to the review. Kamal proved yet again that he is one great actor. He pulled of the characters of Kathak instructor Viswanath and undercover RAW agent Wisam Kashmiri with sheer perfection. Brilliant. Simply brilliant. Rahul Bose as Omar, the terrorist was just menacing. He was an apt choice for the role. The supporting actors consisting of Jaideep Ahlawat, Pooja Kumar and Andrea Jeremiah did justice to their respective roles. Meanwhile, Shekhar Kapur played his role well although he had minimal screen time. Like Kapur, Nassar had small role. I would say he excelled in it as an Arab terrorist. Kudos to Nassar to dubbing in Arabic himself. (He never spoke a single word of Tamil in the film)

Technically, the film is on par with Hollywood films. The cinematography by Sanu Varghese was of top quality although the chase scenes could have been shot better. Mahesh Narayan's editing was slick and crisp plus it did not take the sting out of the narration. Four different stunt directors worked on the film and the effects are evident on screen. The visual effects were good but some CGI shots looked tacky. The scenes featuring the terrorists' hideouts and NATO airstrikes were brilliantly shot. The film featured several powerful and thought-provoking dialogues as well as some which tickled our funny bones.

In a nutshell, Viswaroopam is a masterpiece by Kamal who did an excellent job to highlight the issues of global terrorism in his own distinctive style. It's disappointing to see that an intelligent film is being banned in a place where some worthless, no-brainers get ample screen allocations. I would confidently state that this film is a genuine entry for the Academy Awards' Best Foreign Film category.

To those groups who are calling for the ban of the film, please grow up and open your minds.

Verdict: A genuine and intelligent film by the master actor

Rating: 9/10

Vinod Nair
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