PHOTOS & STILLS - GALLERY
Vishwaroopam Visitor ReviewBy Rajiv Nambiar
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Another movie and yet another controversy for Padmashree Dr KamalHassan. It seems as if problems constantly follow Kamal sir in many forms. Initially it was the proposed idea of DTH(Direct to Home) for Viswaroopam that courted controversy in Tamil Nadu due to the ill conceived notion that it would kill the business of theatre owners. Now, just days before its worldwide release, it has been suggested that Viswaroopam portrayed a certain religious group in ‘bad light’.The movie has been banned until further notice due to this. To add insult to injury, a Judge has been instructed to sit and watch the movie before deciding if it is appropriate to be screened to the public. I am unsure which section of the Penal Code provides for this provision but it amuses me to think that someone could ‘play the parent’ by watching a movie before the public could watch it although a censorship board has initial allowed its release.Reminds me of my childhood where my parents had the practice of watching a movie first before allowing us (children) to watch it. The logic behind this was simple, my parents purely didn’t want us to watch anything that is deemed inappropriate (mostly sexual). But the funny thing is that, we were 9 then! So, for the same thing to happen to me when I am 26 is beyond belief, and this Judge is not even my parent! Isn't this why we have a censor board?
I was among the few early birds who managed to catch Dr Kamal’s masterpiece when it released yesterday (24th Jan) in Malaysia. Having followed the hype surrounding the release and the controversies surrounding it, I went for the movie with a lot of expectation and a feeling of sadness for Kamal sir because most of his movies have been ahead of its time and unappreciated during its era. I believe I am not the only one who appreciates HeyRaam,Guna,Alavanthan and Dasavatharam today more than when it was released. Such is the forward thinking of Kamal sir that it takes a while before anything he creates is appreciated.
After being in the film industry for more than 50 years Kamal sir is no ordinary man having donned roles which are so varied that he has been given the title ‘UlagaNayagan’ by the film industry. From acting as a don in Nayagan to a 60 year old grandmother in Avvai Shanmughi, Kamal sir has been a blessing to the film industry and will continue to do so for a very long time. I remember reading many years ago in an interview where Kamal was asked if he would like to win an Oscar? His answer was simple, he doesn’t believe in making a movie to Hollywood standards and winning an award that is purely given for diplomatic reasons. He rather wins an award in India than Hollywood and if at all he wins an Oscar he wants to do it after acting in a Hollywood film where there is an even playing field. Such is his patriotism and belief.
Viswaroopam mesmerizes everyone in every technical department. To me, the most outstanding aspect of the whole movie was the sound engineering. Kamal has truly exploited the spectrum that was offered by the Aura 3d technology and I believe even most English films do not excel in this department. The cinematography is also excellent although it would have been more spectacular if the crew could have employed actual helicopters and more realistic explosions instead of relying on CG. Then again, this could be due to cost and is absolutely negligible. The dialogues have also been carefully written to express certain hidden messages and feelings to the public. Kamals acting as a kathak dancer and the contrasting character of a spy is excellent although it comes to no surprise because Ulaganayagan’s acting skills are known world over.
I am unsure which part of the movie has been claimed to insult or portray a religious group in ‘bad light’. What has been showed is consistent with the current status-quo and nowhere in the movie did I notice any name-calling, discrimination, derogatory remarks being made to condemn or insult anyone. If what was shown is thought to be not true then everything we read in the papers and internet or watch on the tv for that matter would be false. So should we ban the internet, newspaper and the TV too? The production team of Viswaroopam has paid extreme attention to detail in bringing Afghanistan to life on screen. Every nook, corner and costume has been perfect and it’s hard to point out a single occurrence where Kamal or his team has gone wrong.To me the most chilling aspect of the whole movie is the appearance of the ‘Tall Sheikh’ midway through the second half. I literally had Goosebumps watching this scene and I believe many would given the current situation globally(watch out for this scene to further understand).
Lastly, I would just like to part in making a case for Kamal sir. The man is an artist and most artists are admired for their creativity. Let an artist ply his trade by drawing. Kamal’s world is filled with relevant questions and statements that we have been gifted to see through his films. I am pretty sure the judge would allow the movie to be released without any further cuts. Political and racial sentiments should be extinguished from entertainment so that we could enjoy someone’s figment of imagination.
Let us all pray and support Dr Kamal in anticipating a favorable response to the ongoing court case.
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