Banners: Raj Kamal Films International, Rohit Shetty Picturez, Reliance Entertainment
Producers: S Chandrahasan, Kamal Haasan
Director: Kamal Haasan
Cast: Kamal Haasan, Shekhar Kapur, Waheeda Rehman, Rahul Bose, Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah, Nasser, Anant Mahadevan, Jaideep Ahlawat, Rajendra Gupta
Writer: Kamal Haasan (Story), Atul Tiwari (Dialogues)
Music: M Ghibran
Spy thrillers are usually a great draw at the box office. From James Bond to Ethan Hunt, we have been treated to some top-class, international spy sagas. With Vishwaroop in 2013, Kamal Haasan tried to give us our very own desi spy in Wisam Ahmed Kashmiri, and he succeeded. Brilliant writing and spectacular execution made Vishwaroop a memorable film. So when the sequel was announced, hints of which were evident when the first film ended, expectations around it were high.
The sequel starts from where the first instalment ends. After saving New York from Omar Qureshi’s terrorist attack, Wisam, his wife Nirupama, his aide Ashmita and his mentor Jagannath are on their way to London. With them is the coffin of Dr Dawkins, who was killed in the first film. In London, while on the way to meet Mehta, who is part of the Indian team there, they face a terrorist attack but Wisam’s saves the day.
During this incident, the team stumbles upon a terrorist plot to use World War II discarded bombs to create a non-nuclear explosion. Nirupama uses her deep-sea diving skills to help defuse the bomb. From London, the team moves to New Delhi following Omar Qureshi’s trail. By the time they finally face off, both sides lose some very important people.
The opening credits of the film show the important scenes from the first part. It is a good way to initiate the audience into the sequel. Kamal Haasan’s writing is as engaging as the first film was. The amount of research that he undertakes to present his stories is commendable. The attention to detail is what makes his stories interesting and one of a kind. The film attempts to tie up all the loose ends of the first part. This may seem confusing to those who may not have seen the first part, but to revisit the landscape of Afghanistan is indeed a visual treat. The action scenes in these portions are breathtaking.
The film also gives us a glimpse into Wisam’s past life, when he was in the army. His journey from being an army officer to a spy and finally a sleeper agent helps connect with the character. The introduction of his past, especially his relationship with his mother, is one of the highlights of the film.
A special mention must be made of the unique story telling techniques that have been employed. The back-and-forth between past and present makes the audience sit up and pay attention to what is happening on the screen. So when there are unnecessary breaks in the narrative, in the form of songs or unnecessary scenes, it takes away from the plot. While every character has their place in the story, what is commendable is that the female characters are not just props. Their presence adds value to the story.
Performance-wise, Kamal Haasan the actor, excels as usual. He brings Wisam to life – and how! We get to see his emotional side, especially in the scenes with Waheeda Rehman, who plays his mother, and the confrontation scene with Rahul Bose, who plays Omar. Pooja Kumar plays her part as Nirupama well. She holds her own opposite the seasoned actor. The romantic scenes between the two are well written, although in the dramatic scenes in the climax, she is let down by the dialgoue.
Shekhar Kapur as Jagannath is dignified. He does his job with ease and class. Rahul Bose manages to give you the chills, but his character seems subdued compared to what we saw the first time around. Jaideep Ahlawat as his loyal aide Salim has his moments. Andrea as Ashmita packs a punch, quite literally. Waheeda Rehman brings much-needed subtlety and grace to an otherwise action-packed film. As an Alzheimer’s patient, she evokes sympathy and manages to tug at the heart, especially when she talks about her son and his love for dance.
Verdict: Vishwaroop 2 may not be a film for everyone but fans of Kamal Haasan will be pleased by the effort.