Remember the time when the magnificent Kamal Haasan opened the 2013 action spy thriller VISHWAROOP with an amazing kathak performance masterly choreographed by the legendary Birju Maharaj?. Remember the time when the acting powerhouse Kamal was hailed for his vision in highlighting the damage/after effect of America’s war on terror?. Remember the time when the ambitious Kamal tried to coin EK THA TIGER with ZERO DARK THIRTY with the ha ha hee hee and khee khee of a villain in Rahul Bose whose head mysteriously leaned down strangely like the dropped shoulders of Sanjay Dutt and made a cartoon of himself?.
VISHWAROOP 2 is a sequel which will be remembered as a prequel as well that struggles to deliver the promised ‘quota’ of thrills and keeps fighting for survival.
For those who have come in late, VISHWAROOP (2013), by Kamal Haasan as director, co-producer, co-writer and protagonist was a desi Bourne meet Ethan from MI meet James Bond meet EK THA TIGER with a kathak dance teacher in Kamal Hassan making the difference. The 2013 launch of the franchise was about RAW agents, al Qaeda operatives, Osama Bin Laden and some bomb which can blow New York away from the world map. The 2013 version was marred with controversies and controversies do help.
No controversy this time, the movie is releasing tomorrow peacefully. The story that ended in the previous part moves forward in VISHWAROOP 2 and begins with the Indian spy Wisam (Kamal Hassan) and his battle with Al Qaeda terrorist Omar (Rahul Bose). This time, Omar’s target is Wisam, London and Delhi.
Writer Kamal Hassan and the Hindi dialogue writer Atul Tiwari could have easily added the tagline VISHWAROOP 2 – THIS TIME, THAT TIME. The movie periodically reminds about the original and moves from present to past and we have flashback within a flashback then cut to present resulting in making vague connections with the audience. After a while Michael Jackson’s ‘Remember the time’ started playing in my mind.
Ironically in the song video, MJ changed many avatars but doesn’t gets caught but the audience remains ‘arrested’, here also Kamal is seen in those Afghani get ups seen in the previous franchise and again the desert portions are mind-blowing but in spite all these efforts of remembrance, the audience find difficulty in connecting with the spy and his adventures.
That doesn,t mean VISHWAROOP 2 is a complete dud, it has moments, Kamal Haasan is magnetic as ever, even in a incoherent plot. The action by Brahim Achabbakhe , Stefan Richter and Lee Whittaker, especially the combat fights are thrilling. A close up of a smiling George Bush during the end of a scene where after effects of war on terror is shown is telling plus the sequence between Kamal and his mom played by Waheeda Raehman where we see Kamal’s pictures during 80’s is touching. Andrea Jeremiah as Asmita shines while Pooja Kumart as Dr. Nirupama has her moments.
Rahul Bose, Shekhar Kapur and Jaideep Ahlawat are miscast and unfortunately they remain unaware of this fact. Shekhar Kapur cannot act and Anant Mahadevan is wasted.
Production values are first rate. Cinematography by Shamdat Sainudeen and Sanu John Varughese especially in those desert portions is fantastic. Editing by Mahesh Narayan and Vijai Sankar is fine.
The climax requires an extra degree of suspension of your disbelief even in such an escapist genre. Ironically, VISHWAROOP 2 is a passable spy action thriller if you choose not to remember the genius of Kamal Haasan before VISHWAROOP and PAPANASAM happened, though the movie tries to make you remember the original and how great an actor Kamal Haasan is.