It is amusing that some Muslim outfits in Tamil Nadu blocked the release of this movie two weeks ago. The producer who is also the hero in the movie, Kamal Hassan, had to move the High Court and in a press meet revealed his intention of quitting Tamil Nadu for good if the movie was blocked. The Muslim organisations have obviously over reached themselves in demanding – and getting – some cuts in the movie. People who have watched the cut and uncut versions of the movie in theaters in India and abroad respectively have commented there is no denigration of Muslims communities in the movie the same. This episode shows the unfair influence some minority religious groups wield in India.
Kamal Hassan, a highly acclaimed actor in Indian cinema, is also the director of this movie but hasn’t quite hit it off in this additional role. As a producer Hassan seems to have pulled all the stops by financing one of the highest budgeted Tamil Films but the movie would have been a roller coaster experience if it had an established Tamil movie director such as Shankar, Gautam Menon and such.
However, as an actor Kamal Hassan has given yet another splendid performance. Others in the movie too have acted very well for which directorial credit must still go to Hassan. The most interesting part of the movie is the relationship between Vishwanathan, a classical dance teaching, effeminate and cowardly protagonist and his frustrated careerist wife Nirupama having an affair with her boss. The change their relationship goes through, when – in a perilous moment for both – Vishwanathan suddenly reveals his “real personality” of a super hero and then goes on to rescue, what else but, New York from an Al Quada engineered mass destruction, has been captured well. The second female lead Andrea, first as a danseuse and then a secret agent colleague of Vishwanathan adds intrigue to this plot which, however, forms only about one third of the movie.
Some scenes of the movie, such as the U.S air raid against Al Quaeda terrorists to rescue their soldiers in Afghanistan, look as good as in a Hollywood film. Fifty eight year old Kamal Hassan looks very good – first as a Kathak dancer and then a secret agent – but is a bit sluggish in the fight scenes. His body double used in a couple of scenes is too fast and lithe to resemble Hassan. As for songs except for “Even endru ninaiththai” no other song has an impact on general audience which is a let down for the movie. Overall, if one goes to this movie without high expectations it may not be very disappointng. Vishwaroopam, in essence, is a slow moving docu-drama exposing the brutal fundamentalism of Jihad (Islamic religious war). Progressive viewers among the Muslim community anywhere in the world might actually thank Hassan silently for this service.
The movie plays in Big Cinemas, Puducherry which is a good theater. Online booking maybe convenient (www.ticketgreen.com) for prime time shows on weekend. The movie has Tamil subtitles for scenes with non-Tamil dialogues and there are quite a few of them. A “Platinum” class ticket costs Rs. 90/-.