Director: Kamal Haasan
Cast: Kamal Haasan, Andrea Jeremiah, Pooja Kumar, Shekhar Kapur, Waheeda Rahman
We have seen Kamal Haasan speaking at rallies and sharing his political ideology on social media. The actor is forceful and committed as he embraces his new career. However, as we sat down to watch Vishwaroopam 2, which sees Kamal return as an undercover agent who fought terror with as much dexterity as prejudice, we would have preferred to see him as an actor first. Alas then, we got a lot of Kamal Haasan, the politician, and very little of Wisam Ahmad Kashmiri, his character.
At an elementary level, Vishwaroopam 2 plays as a subversion of spy thriller genre – Kamal is not working off the formula of heavy-duty stunts, fancy gadgets, a female sidekick whose job is to be pretty and a man with license to kill. He goes beyond the glossy, on the surface action thriller that keeps audience hooked.
It is unfortunate that unlike Vishwaroopam, an edge-of-the-seat thriller, the sequel plays like a promotion for the political leader in the making. He has already announced that Vishwaroopam 2 will be one of the last films before he quits acting for politics.
There are dialogues that underline that as a politician, Kamal will not stand for corruption or terrorism. He addresses a corrupt official at one point, “If only statesmen had done their job well and maintained a cordial relationship with other countries, we would not have to deal with terrorism today.”
That is not the only ‘political’ statement. As he reprises his role as Wisam Ahmed Kashmiri in the sequel, he also has to deal with prejudice at workplace because of his religion. So, Kamal delivers his political ideology in a dialogue that goes ‘musalmaan hona paap nahi hai’.
The women in the film are accepted for who they are, no questions asked. Andrea as Ashmita is a trained agent and the audience is just expected to accept her. To her credit, the one stunt sequence in which she does feature is superlative. It is a well balanced track that is treated as an agent in the film and not a ‘female’ agent that needs to be either sidelined in the favour of male lead or given gratuitous scenes.
Pooja Kumar plays Wisam’s wife Nirupama, a nuclear oncologist, who cheated on him in the first part but is now gradually falling in love with her husband. While the progression of their relationship is entertaining, Pooja does get melodramatic in the end, which is a jarring note.
Waheeda Rahman as Kamal’s mother in the film is a joy to watch, especially when he is reminiscing about the past. Wisam remembers what his mother was like before she got Alzheimer’s and they are perhaps some of the best scenes from the film. For instance, when he closes his eyes to see himself as a child learning dance from his mother seems to be a nod to Hey Ram song Nee Partha Paarvai.
Rahul Bose’s terrorist Omar also returns to Vishwaroopam 2. The two have an interaction which stands out for its intensity. The play of emotions on the face of Rahul as he realizes that his family was rescued shows how extremism and violence have taken over his whole being.
Despite these moments, Vishwaroopam 2 cannot stand up in front of its fantastic first iteration. Even in terms of narrative and character development, there isn’t much left to do in this universe. There are no secrets to be revealed and no intrigue left to be unraveled. All that Kamal and his team can do is understand the equations of its lead characters closely and that hardly makes for a thrilling film.
The action set pieces also suffer in comparison to Vishwaroopam. If that film had the thrilling sow motion fight sequence, this time Kamal takes upon himself to have close quarter combats over and over again. Brutal and violent, the fights get tiring after a while.
That, however, is not the biggest problem of Vishwaroopam. That indubitably is Kamal directing the film as a director and not filmmaker. We can see the savvy politician Kamal is doing great onscreen. Wisam, unfortunately, is lost in the back ground.
First Published: Aug 10, 2018 16:52 IST