Vishwaroop/Vishwaroopam (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu) - Review

wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?) - *Two disclaimers - I saw the Hindi version. I have never been a Kamal Haasan fan.*
quick review:

Mountain out of a molehill - the ban that is. The film itself is a very average action flick attracting attention only because of Kamal Haasan. All Vishwaroop wants to say is, "My name is Khan, and I'm not a terrorist." His character that is.

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Wogma Review

Two disclaimers - I saw the Hindi version. I have never been a Kamal Haasan fan.

It has been ages since I've seen a Kamal Haasan film. The only reason I chose to watch the film was the ban - my way of showing support. I had decided to watch the film even if the Hindi version wasn't playing in a theater close to me. Even if I didn't understand a word. Fortunately, there was a Hindi version I could catch. Only for me to find out how much sillier the ban is than I originally thought it was. The only group of people it speaks against is the Taliban/Jihadis/Mujahiddins. So, did I get this right? Making this group of people out as villains hurts sentiments? Whose? Vishwaroop is a very average action flick at best and shouldn't be considered any more than that.

I have never enjoyed Kamal Haasan's histrionics. He has always been a little over-the-top, caricaturish for my taste. The only thing I liked about Vishwaroop is Kamal Haasan's act, despite his effeminate act to induce laughter. Later in the film, he does make you believe about his reservations to the behavior of the people around him.

Unfortunately, the people around him are annoying caricatures that are annoying, especially Omar, the one enacted by Rahul Bose and oh yes, Nirupama, Vishwanath's wife played by Pooja Kumar. It didn't even look like it would be any better if here dubbing was better than that you see in English movies on TV. Only Jaideep Ahlawat seemed to be taking his role seriously.

It doesn't help that the film is forced into becoming a comedy because of some lame behavior by the members of the Taliban. The action except for the first sequence - which is pretty cool, especially because of the repetition - is pretty ordinary. The rest of the action tries to horrify based on gore, which doesn't work at all.

There was some potential of an engaging story when it delves into the lifestyle of the Jihadis' families. But soon you feel cheated because it is done only with the purpose getting you emotionally involved temporarily. Whatever interest is created fizzles out as the second half turns into the regular terrorism-based action flick. Let alone novel, it is pretty shoddily handled.

Almost everything about Vishwaroop seems superficial. The dots aren't connected well. And yes, you have been promised a Vishwaroop II.

And yet, I shall rephrase a Voltaire quote that is often repeated these days

I might not like what you have to say and how you say it, but I shall support your right to say it.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Lots.
  • Language: A few abuses.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: One scene with a couple making out.
  • Concept: How the Jihadis should be annihilated.
  • General Look and Feel: Typical action drama.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2
  • Story: 1
  • Lead Actors: 3.5
  • Character Artists: 1
  • Dialogues: 2.5
  • Screenplay: 2
  • Music Director: 2
  • Lyrics: 2

Vishwaroop/Vishwaroopam - Movie Details

Vishwaroop/Vishwaroopam - Trailer

If you cannot see a video above, click here to see it on YouTube

Comments (28)

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Rahul:

Tried watching the trailer for the first time, couldn't finish it. Looks stupid.

Rahul:

Oh, and hate to bug you, but the issue with "Not interesting in Watching" translating to "Thumbs up" is not fixed. :)

Luke:

"I have never enjoyed Kamal Haasan's histrionics. He has always been a little over-the-top, caricaturish for my taste

Have you seen any of his films? He has made many and he is acknowledged as one of the finest actors of the country,do not know what you have based your opinion on.
Given your review, I think the movie would be quite good.

nitin:

Who cares, its your personal opinion, its a very silly review

meetu:

@Rahul Damn! I thought we got it fixed and was infact going to request you to test it :( Will look into it again.

And yes, agree about trailer.

@nitin true that. I mean about the personal opinion

meetu:

@Luke I have seen quite a few of his early ones as in Sadma, Pushpak, Appu Raja. And yes, if you are in general a Kamal Haasan fan, you are likely to like the film.

News Pakistan:

Thank God matter has been resolved amicably and ban on Vishwaroopam is lifted

Keyur Seta:

You have done it again. A reviewer has to watch the movie from the point of view of the target audience. You never do it while reviewing mindless entertainers and you have done that again. Just because you don't like a particular genre, it doesn't mean nobody likes it.

meetu:

@Keyur I am very aware that people like films I don't and vice versa, which is why I try my best to explain what I liked and didn't. This should enable the reader to decide whether they like/dislike the same things and take a call for themselves. There is no way any two people can have the exact same choices 100% of the time.

luke:

That is my point! He has done a lot of films in Tamil and you have seen a few hindi ones, and plus you have not seen Nayagan, one of his finest. So his caricatures that you call, others call acting! I just saw Vishwaroopam and it is an out and out commercial film made in the Tamil style with great locations, and good stunts. And in any commercial film characters are likely to be heroes and villains plus support staff, what else can it be. "to get people temporarily involved", what film gets people get permanently involved? I agree with Nitin and Keyur, your review seems really silly. And I am not a Kamal Hassan fan. I gues you like only "intellectual films" like that of Anurag Kashyap and his Gangs, which I found pretty pointless and equally commercial.

Suman Chakraborty:

Direction: 3
Story: 2
Lead Actors: 3.5
Character Artists: 3

Dialogues: 3
Screenplay: 2.5
Music Director: 2
Lyrics: 2

meetu:

@luke I know, thus the disclaimer. And I have such disclaimers for many others like Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, and dare I say, Rajnikant. I concede that I don't get it.

And yes, I like to use at least some of my brains while watching films. Is that such a bad thing?

@Suman :)

Vikas:

We watched it in a group yesterday: 6 people (4 Muslims). We would give it 2 stars out of 5. A very chaat film! Avoidable unless someone has nothing better to do.

Anuj:

Its a good entertaining package.I definitely preferred it to the likes of Ghajini,RR and Dabangg-2!I's rate it 3.5/5(at par with Agneepath,Singham and Dabangg).

Anuj:

@Meetu:You've never been a Kamal fan?Really?Strange!He might not be the best actor but is definitely the most all round talented guy Indian cinema's ever witnessed.Acting,direction,dancing,choreography,storytelling..u name it!

Anuj:

@Meetu : You might find some support from my side on this :P I consider a reviewer to be "just another movie fan" with their own individual opinions and ideas.As u said,no 2 people can always agree on the same thing. But i do have a serious problem with critics who define "what's good" and "what's bad" according to their own definition of quality and try to influence and manipulate the audiences. And that's the reason why i suggest every reviewer should put a "disclaimer" saying that the views expressed are completely their own and do not in any way categorize or stereotype that particular film in concern.

meetu:

@Anuj Yeah, some how never enjoyed anything other than his dancing.

As far as reviewers giving disclaimer goes - when I have very strong biases I make it a point to expressly state it. But, I don't like to harp about it for two reasons -

I think it is understood. It is something I am writing as an opinion on a piece of art, the tastes of which are going to be obviously very subjective.

I feel it makes me sound like I am full of myself. :P

Anuj:

That might not go for you but it certainly holds true for certain other critics who're hellbent on hammering home their point and trying to prove that their "opinions" are the final word.Btw,can i name those people here?

Film Lover:

If u r so good in commenting and complaining and writing silly reviews, y dont u give a film which u would rate 5 in all categories.. oh no you just know to comment and u get paid??!!!!

GOOD LUCK WITH A FILM OF YA OWN WHICH WILL WIN ALL THE HEARTS... Then write comments....

meetu:

@Vikas what's a 'chaat' film? I think I get the drift, but what does it mean specifically? Just curious.

@Anuj As long as there are no personal attacks, no abusive language, it should be alright :)

@Film Lover I am good at watching films. :) And no I don't get paid, I pay to watch the films.

Funky:

I have never ever seen a more ridiculous and attrocious review than this. It seems the reviewer had not even tried/attempted to understand this movie. Yes, I agree the movie is not brilliant but is not blatant. Since this is from tamil origin, she has rubbished this movie. If you dont like tamil movies, dont watch or review them.

In one comment, she has said she wants to use her brain on watching movies. Just one question for her: Could you please explain that scene in detail where kamal swings the jihadi. Could you please depict the exact description of this scene. Then I would agree you have used your brain on this movie and have understood this movie.

meetu:

@Funky Actually I liked the scene you mentioned. I'll try to tell you my interpretation.

[Spoiler Warning: I am going to take the bait and discuss one particular scene in detail. So, please don't read any further if you haven't seen the film or don't intend to.]

Wisam swinging the Jihadi: He's an undercover Jihadi, he cannot allow himself to express, he's cannot allow himself to have emotions. Yet, he
cannot bare the plight of a child missing out on a basic necessity - his childhood, and even worse the child doesn't even know it. The child has fooled himself into believing that his purpose in life is different, larger, meaningful. And he doesn't even know he's fooling himself. He's brainwashed, he's suppressed by his father. And of course, he doesn't even know it. All he wants to do is swing up high. All he wants to do is catch up on his childhood, that he doesn't know he has missed. And Wisam is there to give him a push, with all empathy and willingness to give this young man - who is a child too - a ray of light out of a dark window, a peak into what he has lost.

That would be one way of reading the scene. And I am sure there are many mother ways of reading it. Which is why I liked the scene. But, and here is the big but...this scene is a prop. the boy's character is a prop, a tool. A tool to tell the audience, see how bad the Jihadis are to their own children (which they must be, I'm not arguing that.) And of course, we need some characters who can die to get us feel for them. The character and the scene are by-products.

So, the scene works brilliantly by itself, but in the context of the film, it gets diluted.

Also, for every such scene there are a few others which cannot but annoy. Most of Nirupama's scenes. The only reason Nirupama is shown with her boss, is so we know why she has the codes. Why he'd give the code to her, when he drops her like a hat at the first sign of trouble? We are not supposed to ask that. We are not allowed to dislike a film, you see. Especially, a film that was banned for the wrong reasons. Especially, if it was also made in a language that I don't understand, right?

@Funky, I watched the Hindi version, to me this was a Hindi film. The only reason, I wouldn't watch a Tamil film without subtitles is because I don't understand the language and it would be a disservice to the film.

Funky:

Yes, there are n number of mother ways of reading this but what the director wanted to tell is the most important.. thats the director's perspective. I like ur interpretation but for me, the most accurate depiction will be as follows:
"The little boy is ambitious about becoming a Doctor while Omar restricts him to a Jihadi as his brother Mammu. The scene where Wisam (Kamal) swings the little boy and the boy says “I am not a child" and walks away from the swing. But his brother asks Wisam to push the swing and he enjoys the swing by closing his eyes against light, though light falls on him he ignores to accept it by closing his eyes. Proving difference between a matured little boy and un-matured grown up brother. Reason is obvious..."

You may or may not agree with this, but I am happy with this. I am not a kamal fan at all. But do give some respect to his experience. His Nayakan features in Time's all time world's 100 must watch movies. His Heyram is a multi layered film which is included in a syllabus in a film university in america. His Mahanadhi, for me is the best. There are many movies I can recommend for you, if you want to watch quality movies.

Yes, the movie is not a great one, with visible logic holes and loosened screenplay. Yes, he could have played more in this platform he laid on the first half. But Kamal scores in subtle nuances, the amount of research he has put for this. And it guarantees repeated viewing. And yes, its your wish to dislike a movie and tell the world that "watch it only if you have nothing to do". I am not questioning it - Its your right!

meetu:

@Funky Thank you! I'm glad you see my point of view. I have added the list of movies you've recommended to my list of 'to watch' films.

anuj:

I mean folk like Raja Sen, Mihir Fadnavis whose only purpose of reviewing films is to show off their knowledge about hollywood and in the process go about dissing b town films giving zero emphasis to things like target audience, tastes, sensibilities and budget constraints.I call them the perfect "pseudo intellects"!

Funky:

@meetu: thnq for replying. Hope those movies change the caricaterish image of Kamal hassan.

Dattaprasad Godbole:

Irrelevant Comment:
The typo of Kamal Haasan in Quick Review reminds me of a Pan Masala.

meetu:

@anuj other than budget constraints, I doubt I can emphasise target audience, tastes, etc. How can any one person say how another group of people is going to like a film? I can sort-of guess for individuals, but for a group, it would be really presumptuous of me to make a statement. Also, a review is an opinion, how will a review by my opinion, if I am taking others' opinions into account? At best, I can try to say, I think Akshay Kumar fans or horror fans will like X or Y.

@Funky oh I always reply! :) And yes, I hope so too!

@Dattaprasad oops! fixed. Thanks for pointing it out.

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