Post interval, one of the characters says to another perpetually bewildered character, ”yehaan par sab ke double role hai.” That may apply to most except Kamal Haasan who plays multiple roles both on screen and off screen.
Haasan, writer, director, co-producer and hero, packs in more looks, names and religions as possible in keeping with the Tamil title, Vishwaroopam. The 95 crore budget film in Tamil, was banned for a few weeks in Tamil Nadu by Muslim communities. This may have helped increase the curiosity and loyalty factor amongst regular film goers. Just what was offensive in the movie is still a mystery. This is nothing but full-on, pure, action packed entertainer.
Vishwanath (Kamal Haasan) is a long haired, effeminate Kathak teacher based in New York, married to a nuclear scientist, Dr Nirupama (Pooja Kumar) much younger than him. Pooja has married him for his green card. Now she is in love with her boss and to assuage her guilt, she hires a detective to follow her husband so that she can find something against him too. The detective is found dead, she finds herself kidnapped along with Vishwaroop who admits to the kidnappers that he is a Muslim. The kidnappers’ boss, Omar (Rahul Bose) has more than an axe and a leg to grind with his new found, old enemy. Action filled, dramatic, flashback moments from Afghanistan follow, and the story gets more and more intriguing, with Omar planning to attack New York with a “cesium bomb”. However, too much drama eventually renders it wearisome and it does not matter anymore whose side the hero is; right or wrong; Americans or Jihaadis.
The screenplay is full of interesting, long moments of past friendship shared between the hero and the villain. This could have been made more complete with a present day confrontation instead of a revenge chase. Rahul Bose as the unlikely Afghani Al Qaida Jihadi despite his short build, lends a great deal of credibility, modulating his voice well to match his one eyed, cold look. Shekhar Kapoor makes a special appearance and looks more amused than involved, especially when he does the famous slow motion team walk with Kamal Haasan in the end.
Dialogues by Atul Tiwari are both entertaining and meaningful. “Marne se paap dhul jaate hain kya? To chalo Hitler ko maaf kar dete hain,”says the hero at one point.
In another scene between Pooja Kumar and a foreigner, a discussion of religion goes like this..
”My God has four hands..”.
”How do you crucify him?”
“We dunk him in the sea.”
The delightful part of the movie as expected is Kamal Haasan’s performance. He moves with complete ease from playing a long haired effeminate dance teacher, Vishwaroop (the most graceful dancer ever seen on screen)to a turbaned and bearded Wasim Kashmiri training Al Qaida terrorists to a regular face in New York.
Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and lyrics by Javed Akhtar are in keeping with the theme, with simple lines like..”is basti main hai maut sasti..”Another song is both a treat to listen to as well as watch Kamal Haasan dance to.. ”main Raadha teri,mera Shyam tu”...
Vishwaroop, ultimately, is a wish fulfillment journey in acting by the multitalented supremo,Kamal Haasan. Expect a laboured work of entertaining fiction rather than a serious comment on Global terrorism. .