PHOTOS & STILLS - GALLERY
Vishwaroopam Visitor ReviewBy Venoo Bee
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As Ulaga Nayagan Kamal Hassan's latest venture Viswaroopam is facing ban in Tamil Nadu, fans in Malaysia were lucky enough to catch the movie as it was released in theatres all over Malaysia on the 24th January 2013. Responses from most Malaysians are not only positive but Viswaroopam is being hailed as one of Kamal Hassan's best ventures to date.
Viswaroopam is a movie that has been made in various layers that watching the movie only once would be a crime. Even though it falls into the espionage thriller category, it is not a movie with just high speed car chases and bombs blasting all over the place. It is carefully layered with the inner workings of terrorist's life, the different constitution of religious belief to different people and the metaphorical meaning of various scenes can only be understood by multiple watching and further reading or research.
But that does not mean the movie might not be understandable to some. No not at all. Kamal Hassan has made Viswaroopam in such a fascinating manner that it could be viewed and enjoyed as just an exciting thriller film but also as a film that cultivates different views on religion, terrorism and many other aspects for those who wish to.
I would not write in detail regarding the plot of the movie as it is only the first few days of release and I don't want to spoil it for those who are looking forward to watching it. I would just be going into some technical aspect and also some justification on my behalf regarding the religious accusation of the movie.
The technical crew gets the first applaud from me. Even though Viswaroopam is considered a high budget movie in India, which is around 95 crores, it amounts to only about $18 million USD. But the visual impact and the technical work of bringing to live the Afghanistan village settings, the action sequences and many more leaves us in bewilderment how this feat was achieved with only a budget of $18 million USD. For better comparisons, usually romantic or comedy movies are made within this budget. For instance, movies like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” ($22 million USD) and “Pitch Perfect” ($18 million USD). Any Hollywood movie made on par with Viswaroopam's standards would have definitely cost more. The technical crew has done an excellent job, in fact wonders with the budget they had. No wonder Kamal Hassan was full of praise towards his tech crew throughout the promotion of Viswaroopam.
When it comes to acting, Kamal Hassan has once again given us an amazing performance. Elaborating his characters in the movie would reveal too much about the plot. But expect nothing less than what Kamal Hassan usually provides as this is a stellar performance by him. Especially the scenes in Afghanistan where his facial expression alone depicts the full blown emotional struggle the character is going through. Rahul Bose and Jaideep Ahlawat have done exceptionally well in their performance as Omar and Salim respectively. Pooja Kumar and Andrea Jeremiah have done justice to their characters and it was a cool and relaxed performance by ace director Shekhar Kapur.
The story and screenplay are the ones that carry this movie towards its high standard. Directed in a fast paced manner, Kamal Hassan puts the pause in all the correct places for us to understand the past life of the main characters. Scenes with metaphorical meaning are placed throughout the movie encouraging us to watch documentary movies like "Loose Change" and "Fahreinheit 9/11" to help understand the inter-relation it has with Viswaroopam.
Scenes of three types of people all praying at the same time and to the same God but with different motives and different understanding of God and religion perceives us towards the various understanding man has about God and religion. Making us ponder about the righteousness of each person. And it is left for us to decide on our own who is right and who is wrong. There are many scenes such as this in Viswaroopam giving it an intellectual approach that we do not see in many Indian movies. The multiple times you see the movie, the more you would realize the issues that are embedded in Viswaroopam.
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have done well with the music. "Unnai Kaanadhu Naan" is good as an introduction to Kamal Hassan as a Kathak Master, with all other songs in the movie coming as a back drop to important scenes. Songs have been used carefully and excellently as more of a story telling instrument rather than an interval for viewers to go for breaks. Background score justified the scenes but did appear a bit catchy at certain times.
As a footnote to all the protesters that have accused Viswaroopam of showing the Muslims in a bad light, they could not be any wrong. As a person who has watched the movie and have watched it in a Muslim country, I can assure everyone that Viswaroopam does not, I repeat does not show the Muslims in any bad light what so ever. Without providing any spoilers I could safely say that the movie portrays how the Muslims are fighting against terrorism and any Muslim should be proud to watch this movie. In comparison to some Hollywood movies that have shown Muslims as only terrorist and spreaders of evil, Viswaroopam is by far the best movie that has done justice to all Muslims worldwide.
Viswaroopam is a fictional story about the war against terrorism. But as the clock ticks towards the end of the two and half hours you would realize that it doesn't get any real than this. Kamal Hassan has presented Viswaroopam in a way that it becomes a great thriller movie to watch. But at the same time the truth about the world we live in today is slapped right across of our face that we would be leaving the cinema with both excitement and a sense of realization that will play in our heads again and again.
Kamal Hassan has once again proved that he is the pinnacle of Indian cinema. Kamal Hassan's role as writer, actor and director for this movie will definitely be one of his greatest "viswaroopam" to date.
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