All controversies aside, Viswaroop is one hell of a movie. If last year’s highly under-rated Agent Vinod was a desi play on James Bond, then Kamal Haasan does a Bourne with Viswaroop, which is also the most technically brilliant Indian action movie I have seen so far (again over taking Agent Vinod).
Prima facie, the movie is a simple wham-bang action flick about a RAW agent, Viswanath, (Kamal Hassan) masquerading as an effeminate Kathak teacher (Kamal Haasan shows us why he is undoubtedly India’s finest commercial actor with this potryal ) in New York who has to stop a dirty bomb before it reduces the Big Apple to nothingness. Along the way you have his boss (Shekhar Kapur) and a bunch of other people including his only-on-paper wife and the FBI helping him. Sounds simple enough? Well it ain’t. Cause our RAW agent’s actual name is Wisam Ahmed Kashmiri, who went undercover in the Al-Qaeda in 2002 for the RAW and while there helped train the very guy who threatens to blow up NY (Rahul Bose hams it up as the terrorist Omar). This little detail adds a delicious amount of depth to the character of Wisam, who carries the emotional baggage of the undercover mission right through the film. And being as it is a Kamal Haasan movie, there are quite a few poignant scenes that are understated but force you to think about some of the larger themes underlying the movie. My favourite of these scenes are the following two: A teenage suicide bomber asking to be swung on the swings the day before he has to go on his mission, and the serene smile on his face as he sits on the swings- A childhood lost; Moments before the climax, Wisam, Omar, Omar’s right hand man and the bomber who has the detonation device all say their namaz, at the same time- same god, different aims, different prayers.
Kamal Haasan is undoubtedly the pick of the actors, commanding every scene he is in, and is especially brilliant as the Kathak dancer. But the real hero of the movie is Kamal Haasan the director and his team of technicians. The action scenes, especially the ones set in Afghanistan, are jaw dropping awesome and have a level of technical finesse few Indian movies can even dream of. The cinematography is striking, the music (there is only one song, that too right in the beginning when Kamal Haasan shows off his Kathak dancing skills) is brilliant, the dialogues are not hammy and the scenes with the FBI are brilliantly choreographed. It is very easy to see where 95 Crores could have been spent in the movie.
Admittedly, the movie could have done with a few cuts here and there but that hardly takes away from the over all experience itself. Viswaroop may not be the Bourne Identity but it is definitely better than 99% of the crap-ass shit being called action movies now-a-days. Go and watch and be in awe of Kamal Haasan!