Vishwaroopam: Saga of faith in troubled times

DELHI Sat Feb 2, 2013 4:48am IST

1 of 4. A handout still from the film 'Vishwaroopam'.

Credit: Reuters/Handout

DELHI (Reuters) - For a spy thriller that has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, "Vishwaroopam" is surprisingly tame.

What I'll remember most about "Vishwaroopam" is its technical finesse, breathtaking locations, stark imagery and a crisp edit.

The film features at least three different religions and five nationalities. It never takes a stance on which God is greater, nor does it brand you a freedom fighter or a radical militant. The central message is that bloodshed will lead to more bloodshed.

But first let's talk of Kamal Haasan -- writer, producer, lead actor -- who plays a dance teacher in New York. His wife hires a detective to tail him, setting off a chain of events that sees the action shift from the skyscrapers of Manhattan to the dusty sands of Afghanistan.

The build-up is steady, with dialogue that doesn't induce boredom and the twist which reveals a layer to Haasan's character is absolutely unexpected and brilliant. To reveal any more of the plot would be an injustice.

Let's just say that the al Qaeda and the travails of living in a post-9/11 world play an important role in the film. "Vishwaroopam" is also not for the queasy. You might want to shut your eyes for the bloodied combat sequences.

Rahul Bose impresses as the main villain of the piece while "Elizabeth" director Shekhar Kapur makes a delightful cameo. But it's Haasan who single-handedly shoulders the film -- in three different roles, no less.

A couple of over-the-top sequences aside, "Vishwaroopam" is a work of art that surpasses Bollywood potboilers and tries to initiate a conversation about a not-so-perfect world and its great religious divide. Watch it for Haasan and your right to freedom of expression.

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Reuters)

Entertainment Wrap

Reuters Showcase

GDP Growth

GDP Growth

India's economic growth revised up by almost 50 pct.  Full Article 

Stake Sale

Stake Sale

Strong demand for Coal India boosts privatisation drive.  Full Article 

SpiceJet Bailout

SpiceJet Bailout

SpiceJet board approves up to $243 mln share sale plan  Full Article 

India Art Fair

India Art Fair

Art fair turns India's capital into art hub.  Full Article 

Child Trafficking

Child Trafficking

Police find hundreds of child slaves making bangles - media   Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

"Rahasya" is an ode to Agatha Christie.  Full Article 

England Beat India

England Beat India

England reach final after Taylor-made victory.  Full Article 

Change Of Heart

Change Of Heart

Justin Bieber says dropping 'arrogant' and 'conceited' attitude  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage