Movie Review - Vishwaroopam: Saga of faith in troubled times

DELHI Mon Feb 4, 2013 4:44pm 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)

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Lakhvi's Bail

Lakhvi's Bail

Pakistan court bails man accused of masterminding Mumbai attack.  Full Article 

PM's Moves

PM's Moves

Modi moves in to speed up $300 billion stuck projects.  Full Article 

Coal Unions

Coal Unions

Coal India workers threaten five-day strike, stokes output worries.  Full Article 

Space Programme

Space Programme

ISRO tests its heaviest space launch vehicle, eyes global market.  Full Article 

Peshawar attack

Peshawar Attack

Some Pakistan militants denounce school attack, amid national outrage.  Full Article 

Uber Again

Uber Again

Uber driver in Boston charged with kidnapping and rape.  Full Article 

Discounts

Discounts

Dealers offer gold discount for first time in five months.  Full Article 

"PK" in Cinemas

"PK" in Cinemas

Secret of year's "biggest" Bollywood film is its plot.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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