VISHWAROOPAM II: the collateral damage

Vishwaroopam was all about writing and execution, the spy thriller Indian Cinema was deservingly waiting for – part two lacks the finesse. Many elements like cave vision, duality, scars, etc. spoke about Kamal’s writing endeavour which was inclined towards aesthetics. Here, such elements are minority (almost non-existing) – the effeminate Vishwanathan’s Unnai Kaanadhu Naan/Main Radha Tu Shyam now has a female version and Nirupama-Ashmita are literally his gopiyas (cowherding girls famous for their unconditional devotion towards Krishna). We also get a pan-shot from a painting of Arjuna towards Wisam, Arjuna was born 9 months after Krishna and the friendship bond of Krishna-Arjuna is celebrated in Mahabharata – Kamal gives a hint of duality in a secular move. A Muslim-character bearing and wearing the names of mythological-Hindu characters, but down the line, it acts as a passing statement unlike the previous film which has strong essence of such elements.

This is what I had written for Kamal Haasan’s 2013 spy thriller, “Vishwaroopam is technically brilliant film at-par with Hollywood league in terms of its action sequences and the ambitious scale.” And the longing wait succumbed from a year to five years long, it might suggest the sequel will be far more interesting, right? Unfortunately, Vishwaroopam II ends on an underwhelming note, the saddest part is there’s no horizon for damage control. At-ease the film moves, constantly pestering around the visuals from its prequel – it dramatically enters into an outdated zone. Is this the Kamal, who wrote Vishwaroopam, Hey Ram, Anbe Sivam and Thevar Magan? Did the shift from U.S to India made him succumb to the Indian-ness (rather mess) in penning down a smart story? The adventure of Wisam Ahmad Kashmiri leaves us with a tragic misadventure, and I’m unwillingly pouring down these brutal words when I’m aware of the fact this is probably one of the last time I’m witnessing Kamal Haasan on-screen.

Vishwaroopam II is the plot-continuation of Vishwaroopam, after successfully avoiding a nuclear attack on New York City – Wisam (Kamal Haasan), Nirupama (Pooja Kumar), Ashmita (Andrea Jeremiah) and Col. Jagannath (Shekar Kapur) travel back to India via London to avoid major attacks on London and New Delhi plotted by Al-Qaeda Terrorist Omar Qureshi (Rahul Bose). Coming straight-to-the-point, its all coherent mess, choppy and fails to rise above mediocrity – a passing note, Agent Vinod (2012) had a better script (just saying). The smoothness to flashback travel acts jerky, while the motives of the characters aren’t clear which prominently are sketches (like bureaucrat Rajat Mehta). To add a trivia and justify the failure of the screenplay – part one ran long, hence it was decided to split which made the makers to create relatively minor story. Take out the flashbacks and via London unnecessary footage, while following Omar Qureshi – part one would’ve ran for about half hour more i.e. 2 hours 30 mins and Vishwaroopam II runs for 2 hours 25 minutes, it’s a crusading venture.

With all the loose ends, the outdated elements take down the film whether its a skydiving sequence which has been experienced in its truest sense last month, Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible: Fallout. Here, Wisam exclaims, “Maine Mazhab Ke Liye Nahi, Mulk Ke Liye Khoon Bhahaya Hai” – it is interesting to know, Kamal falters himself in between a politically strong film released last week, Abhinav Sinha’s Mulk and we’ve Milap Zaveri’s loud Satyameva Jayate releasing next week. Only part which worked on the whole, features Waheeda Rehman playing Alzheimer-afflicted Wisam’s Mother – the sentimental angle into a spy-thriller works probably due to Kamal’s strings (?) It’s such a beautiful built up, on the wall we’ve pictures of retro Kamal Haasan posed with the evergreen Waheeda Rehman – and a soulful track Naanagiya Nadhimoolamae/Tu Srotu Hai follows, its an unforgettable moment; needs a classic revisit when Kamal exits Cinema for his Politics. But, he’s leaving with such an underwhelming film – I want to become his Alzheimer-afflicted Mother who has forgotten him (Vishwaroopam II) but the love (for his cinema and history) remains inching.

“Do you remember? He is like burning ember” the lyrics explode, the film suffers burns with terrible VFX, careless unstructured narrative while a character repetitively exclaims, “collateral damage” – that’s an appropriate tagline. Omar’s fellow Salim has a crack on the right-side of his spectacle, which diverts towards closing the eyes on this film and re-visit the spectacular Vishwaroopam. An over-the-top Indianized spy thriller which we don’t deserve. For entertainment? I’m a Kamal fan bashing up what probably is one of the last ventures, so you decide!


Bilingual: Tamil-Hindi (Dubbed in Telugu & Malayalam)
Release: 10 August, 2018
Rating: 1/5


Copyright ©2018 Ninad Kulkarni. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

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