PHOTOS & STILLS - GALLERY
Vishwaroopam- a pioneering effort in Indian cinemaBy K. ANANTH
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Went all the way to Kerala to catch the film, got sick of waiting.
The sum of Vishwaroopam's parts do not really add up to a satisfactory whole but the parts themselves are lit up with flashes of sheer genius and gripping, beautifully constructed cinematic moments. That gives this ambitious, brilliantly acted and brutally raw take on war, religion and humanity the necessary edge to live up to all the gargantuan hype surrounding it.
Kamal Hassan has always been a meticulous technician and not one to succumb to any clichés or hold back on controversial issues. He has justified his reputation of being a gutsy showoff by leading the way with yet another path breaking film, and like those earlier ones he has helmed, he hasn't taken any shortcuts or compromised on any aspect of film making which may even remotely corrode the film's quality. Hats off to his perpetual hunger, passion for the art and his drive to always be the one to show the way.
There is so much to like about the film. It moves at a deliberately languorous pace and may require that extra bit of patience from fans of masala potboilers, but please, those who just classify films as "slow" and "fast", a trend which am increasingly seeing in social networking sites these days, stay away. Cinema is more than just about twists, turns, and a racy screenplay. There is joy to be had in indulgent, laborious storytelling and Vishwaroopam, essentially made for an international audience, stands testimony to that fact. Sample this, dead guy lying in a pool of his own blood. Suddenly, those surrounding him see that his blood keeps spurting out in tiny sprinkles. It turns out to be the vibration of the ringing phone in his pocket. Brilliant!
The biggest success of the film lies in the fact that despite not being able to coherently string together his zigzag narrative Hassan is able to extract terrific performances from his lead players. Get over their weird accents and you'll notice that nearly all of them have acted out of their skin, Kamal himself leading the way. Also given the amount of tension he builds up you get rooted to the screen expecting a riveting climax, an explosive ending, which sadly never comes. Frankly I was disappointed with how the film ended, with a mere whimper.
To sum up, despite not giving that grand payoff which it promised, this will be remembered as one of the pioneering efforts in Indian cinema. It touches upon themes which deserve to be touched upon and traverses paths nobody from this part of the world has dared to before. Despite juggling all those additional responsibilities with enviable élan, ultimately, it is Kamal Hassan the actor, who'll blow you away.
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