Author: Dr. Mandar V. Bichu


Year: 2013
Director: Kamal Haasan
Cast: Kamal Haasan, Rahul Bose, Shekhar Kapoor, Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah, Jaideep Ahlawat

The controversies surrounding the release of Kamal Haasan’s Tamil film Vishwaroopam (titled Vishwaroop in Hindi) kept all the national and regional TV channels busy for days. The debates and discussions revolved around many serious topics, with every Tom, Dick and Harry offering his or her penny-worth of opinion. Haasan even claimed that he would go bankrupt if the big-budget film did not release in time. With so much of hullabaloo, the film was awaited with a high degree of anticipation. So what do you finally find in this much-anticipated magnum opus?

What’s the plot?

It is New York. A marriage of convenience is on the rocks. The wife, a nuclear medicine expert (Pooja Kumar) has had enough of her older, effeminate husband, a Kathak dance-teacher (Kamal Haasan), whom she had married just to get the green card. She is already having an affair with her boss and to lessen her guilt, has hired a private investigator to see if her husband has also been cheating on her!

The investigation and its accidental bloody aftermath throw a totally new light on her husband. For the starters, he is not a person he claims or shows to be; he is an undercover agent on a special mission! His mission is to avert a major terror attack on US, which has been planned by a high level Al Qaida operative (Rahul Bose)! Will he succeed in his mission?

What’s hot?

  • The film is lavishly made and it shows in practically every frame captured so evocatively by Sanu Veghese's cinematography.
  • The action scenes are brilliant while depicting the whole gamut of hero’s martial arts skills, FBI raids, Al Qaida training and Nato strikes.
  • The Afghanistan-sequences about the Talibans is well-written and insightful to understand the psyche of the religious terrorists.
  • Kamal Haasan and Rahul Bose deliver good performances as two bitter adversaries with a past connection. (But it must be said that their performances are more in the ‘solid, reliable’ category rather than the ‘stupendous’ category!)

What’s not?

  • The back-and-forth narrative initially works to generate interest but it finally turns the film into a patchy and confused one.
  • Compared to the build-up, the climax is tame.
  • There are no strong ideological or personal conflict points in the film, robbing it of the much-needed fire.
  • The script is loose.
  • Both the female actors, Pooja Kumar (playing the hero’s wife) and Andrea Jeremiah (playing hero’s spy-collegaue), go over-the-top in their portrayals. They both get many tacky lines, which are supposed to pass off as comedy!


A master is judged by much higher standards and by that yardstick, Kamal Haasan and Vishwaroop fail. Kamal Haasan’s script-writing and direction skills pass the muster in average grades and don’t rise to any great heights. Even as an actor, at times he looks tired and looks like just going through the motions. And by now his penchant for different get-ups has run its course to enthuse any further! Yet such is the talent of the man that even with all these limitations, he offers enough to keep you glued to the screen.

For a film that sparked off heated exchanges on creative freedom and religious fundamentalism, Vishwaroop doesn’t make any great use of the former and it also fails to deliver any lasting message about the latter! It is neither an all-out crowd-puller nor a ‘limited edition’ connoisseur’s delight. But if you tamper your expectations, then you could still enjoy it as an engaging potboiler with excellent look and feel.

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