About   :   Wallpapers   
8889 films, 16633 profiles, and counting

  • films
  • people
  • blogs
Twitter  Facebook



Upperstall Review





Hindi, Action, Drama, 2013, Color

Nuclear Oncologist, Nirupama (Pooja Kumar), is in marriage of convenience with Vishwanath or Wiz (Kamal Haasan), an effiminate Kathak dancer in New York. Having an affair with her boss Dipankar, she wants out of the marriage and hires a private detective (Atul Tiwari) to spy on Wiz to see if she can dig up some dirt on him to make divorcing him easier. However, the detective finds out that Wiz is actually Muslim, Wisam to be exact before he is killed by an outfit lead by Omar (Rahul Bose). Wisam and Omar have a history going back to Afghanistan, wherein we find Wisam was a RAW agant who had infiltrated Al-Qaeda and worked beside Omar. Omar and his accomplice, Salim (Jaideep Ahlawat) are in New York collecting Cesium through Nirupama's company thanks to Dipankar to trigger a blast in NYC, while diverting attention through capsules tied to pigeons emitting nuclear radiation...

First things first - the ban on Vishwaroopam was a joke. There is nothing objectionable to come down so hard on the film like this, especially after the Censor Board too (rightfully) cleared it. That said, the film itself is undoubtedly watchable enough but without being spectacular and is perhaps benefitting with kinder reviews than maybe originally intended thanks to the idiocy of the ban. And Kamal Haasan must now be hoping that the entire sympathy wave he has been able to generate translates into a mega opening once in Tamil Nadu and the film releases there, even if with 'minor' cuts. But here, even if the issue has been solved, one must add that this is not a victory for Kamal Haasan, but for the ones who opposed the film and got him to mutilate the film for it to see the light of day. This is a dangerous precedent, especially with our diversity and where any community can object to anything in any film and then politics used to overrule the Censor Board.

In Vishwaroop (Vishwaroopam's Hindi version), a take-off from True Lies and other high octane Hollywood action thrillers, the Tamil film hero takes on the 'Sooper Spy' identity, globe trots - ok at least to Afghanistan and saves USA (and the world) once again post 9/11. To be fair, Kamal Haasan has tried to give the film technical finesse and a close-to-international feel, and what's more, been able to pull it off reasonably well, maintaining a fine balance between realism and entertainment. Even the songs are used as part of the narrative, for example the Kathak dance as part of his class or the title song in the background for the action sequences. At the same time, ordinary writing, the uneven and often sluggish pacing, inconsistency in the action sequences - some really well executed, others tackily done with CG, stretching of several scenes for far too long (the Kathak dance being one such), a poor wifey act by Pooja Kumar totally bereft of any comic timing and a loud, hammy, scowling villainous act by Rahul Bose making the villain, Omar, a caricature - all bring down the film a notch or two. As does the rather abrupt ending to lay the grounds for the sequel.

As is usual for a Kamal Haasan film these days, he is involved in multiple departments of the film. Here he doubles or triples or... whatever up as Producer, Director, Screenplay Writer, Lyricist and Playback Singer (at least in the Tamil version) and Actor. And though his narcissism has hit new heights of late, wherein he has often hijacked films at the cost of their story (Dasavatharam), in Vishwaroop he does get most things right. The other characters too have their moments and even Kamal's multiple get ups are valid and done rather convincingly rather than resorting to loud prosthetic gimmicks. Of course, as an actor he effortlessly gets the body language perfect in each of his avatars - be it the effeminate Kathak dance teacher (overplayed though), mole in Afghanistan and Sooper Spy in USA - and holds the film together actually playing his age, or at least close enough to it. In a great tongue-in-cheek moment he tells Pooja,"All of us are playing double roles", referring to the rest of his team - 'Uncle' Shekhar Kapur, 'fellow dancer' Andrea and American agent, Miles Anderson. Sadly, Pooja Kumar is no Jamie Lee Curtis, rendering the comic moments with her totally flat as she finds out her husband's true identity and thereby almost making the scenes themselves badly conceived. Rahul Bose is totally cardboard like, sometimes unintentionally funny and invoking no terror whatsoever. Shekhar Kapur and Andrea are ok while Jaideep Ahlawat makes an impact in his small role as Bose's right hand man but Nasser and Zarina Wahab are both wasted.

The Afghanistan sequences, though again too long and slow, are well staged with attention to detail and here Kamal actually makes himself more of an observer as Rahul Bose and other Jihadists take centre stage. In a wonderful little scene, a suicide bomber enjoys himself on a swing, enjoying his last bit of child-like innocence, before he answers the call of duty and blows himself up. In another key sequence after his family has been destroyed, Rahul Bose actually breaks down wondering why Allah has done this to him considering he is fighting his war for him giving a humane angle even to the other side. And in a neat balancing act, Kamal himself is revealed to be a Muslim, who while being a devout one, fights terrorism and his own Jihadi 'Muslim Brethren'.

Technically, the production design and camerawork deserve a mention, scenes are generally conceived with some sense and thought given to camera movements, the music is adequate though the editing is uneven. But then editing is always dictated by the material the editor gets so one guesses he struggled with the rushes here to maintain an overall pace, rhythm and tempo for the film. The freezing of shots as transitions fall flat and some of the CG, especially involving the helicopters in Afghanistan is sloppy to say the least.

All in all, it's a pity that the unwarranted ban took centre-stage for Vishwaroopam. And in giving in to the objections and cutting off scenes for the film to release in Tamil Nadu, this is a big blot for free speech in the world's largest 'democracy'.

Upperstall review by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan





Your screen size is


blog comments powered by Disqus

Introverts range from the sorrowful, quiet types with few or no friends to the beaming, star performers with a zillion f...
I is an Indian retelling of the beauty and the beast in a contemporary setting. It begins as a simple film that...
The problem with the incessant and tedious remakes of South Indian movies (Telugu film Okkadu in this case) is ...
Anurag Kashyap has a knack of ruffling feathers. Among the sea of mediocrity in Bollywood, his films have always held up...
With his earlier three films, the Munna Bhai series and 3 Idiots, Rajkumar Hirani has created his own ...
One wonders if a film like Lingaa even needs reviewing. The primary aim of the film overriding any so called ci...
Veteran actor P Jairaj, who passed away at the Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai on August 11, 2000, was...
Mohammed Rafi
Mohammed Rafi was perhaps the most popular male playback singer ever and maybe the second most pop...
Whenever a poll has been conducted to name the best actress ever in Tamil and Telugu cinema, one n...