Finally after the entire hullabaloo, I watched Viswaroopam at a nonchalant movie theatre in the outskirts of Bangalore. I have grown up watching Kamal Haasan and a week’s ordeal without tasting his newest offering was literally a death knell for my heart. I couldn’t bear the wait anymore. I travelled all the way to Bangalore for eight cruel hours in a dingy old bus and fought through his sea of supporters lined up at the ticket counter, fighting and groping for tickets before emerging victorious in my pursuit. Was it worth all the pain? Hell ya!
Revealing the storyline would be a spoiler so, let me just speak about the moments that grabbed my attention in the movie.
The minute the movie started with the title card displaying just his name without his traditional clichéd ‘Ulaganayagan’ tag, I was impressed. What followed hence was a wave of emotions, action, subtle humor, love and moments of cinematic brilliance sweeping all over the awe-struck audience. Kamal as a Kathak dancer, Viswanath impresses us all with his dance moves depicting elegant feminine characteristics. His facial expressions, hand movements, his prancy-dory walk, his girlish voice and just the mere battering of his eyelids bring the house down. He also plays the role of a FBI agent who poses as a terrorists and infiltrates the Al-Queda in Afghanistan becoming friends with Omar(Rahul Bose) who later turns against him.
The Amazing moments
There is a scene where Omar’s son confesses toVisab about his dreams of becoming a doctor, a profession which his father immediately shoots down. Omar explains that his son is meant to become only a warrior for the cause of jihad and not anything else. Dejected he walks away to a dark room with a swing with an opening at the top where light filters through and Visab follows him to give him some comfort. He asks Omar’s son to sit on the swing so that he could sway him to and fro, but he flatly refuses saying ‘I’m not a child’. Another jihadi, who was supposed to become a suicide bomber in the coming days, urges Visab to give him a push on the swing. Visab agrees and the delighted terrorist takes a seat, closes his eyes and wears a divine smile on his face. He swings towards the light source and back into the darkness, to and fro, back and forth.
The implications from the scene itself is manifold. Ofcourse there is the easily understandable logic that the terrorist was looking for ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, and the fact that he is transitioning between darkness and light over and over again while on the swing depicts the life of a terrorist who suffers to submit completely to the cause of jihad since he wants to live and experience divine love and happiness on earth. There is another complex explanation to the scene as Omar’s son is shown rejecting the chance of a ride on the swing whereas an older terrorist gladly takes it. Being a KH fanatic spending millions of brain cells trying to decipher what each of his scenes mean, I understand that the swing itself depicts a human mind. Omar’s son is steadfast in his dream to become a doctor and therefore doesn’t allow himself a ride on the swing, his mind steady and unwavering unlike the later terrorist whose mind is swaying to and fro and thereby becomes easily gullible and adheres to jihad when forced into it. Surely, it is one of the best scenes in world cinema.
There is another scene that depicts how kids themselves are vulnerable to fantasies in the world of terrorists. When Omar’s son says that he wants to become a doctor, Omar places his two fingers on his son’s head and makes a gunshot sound to silently remind his son that he would only become a warrior and fight for jihad or get shot. Subsequently, the kid also whips out his two-finger gun and playfully shoots at his father and mother and then runs out to shoot at kids in the neighbourhood who join the game with their own versions of finger pistols and gunshots. It is an amazing scene shot without any BGM, that depicts the grim reality that kids of today are subjected to. Growing up in an environment of gunshots, terror and blood makes them even more susceptible to become jihadis of tomorrow. It is a beautiful scene that depicts happiness and joy among the neighborhood folks who watch the kids play and join in the shooting party themselves while gently reminding us too about the stark realities of the terror world where we sow seeds of killing in them at an early age. Kids learn what we teach them, and they are trained to wield guns at a young age, leading to a vicious circle of terror and bloodshed.
When the FBI later tracks down the dirty bomb maker to his hideout, he is shown kneeling down in front of the bomb, doing the namaz, seeking divine intervention in his quest to destroy New York. The scene cuts to Visab, now the FBI agent, who is doing the namaz at the same time outside the doors of the hideout, who seeks divine intervention in his quest to save New York. The love for Allah is the same with both good and bad people. It is just the choices that a person takes on his journey towards God that makes a difference to the world and humanity as a whole. These scenes make me proud of being a Kamal Haasan fan. These are reasons enough to say that world cinema will welcome him with open arms.
There are more heart wrenching scenes like a woman who is subjected to her son being hanged infront of hundreds of jihadis in the terror camp, scenes of a American doctor who dies in drone attacks by the US army(millions of such innocent people lose their lives in the fight against terror), scenes where Visab gets to see Osama Bin Laden and a scene where he asks his wife Nirupama(played by Pooja Kumar)cheekily as to Which God will save them. The entire film is like a piece of art, each scene holds so much meaning. And the best part is, Viswaroopam II is on the cards, the stage being India next time around!
I felt so bad that the greatest artist of our generation is going through so much of pain to release the movie, fighting against the world. We are with you, Kamal. We love you now and we always will. In your quest for a secular country if you deem Hollywood to be your next destination, we will let you go with pain in our hearts but belief in our souls that you will do us proud. We will be waiting to celebrate you and your successes on the global scale, you are one of us and will always remain to be. We are waiting to see you conquer Hollywood too and win the mighty world.
For all those people who find the movie a tad slow, understand each and every scene for what it means and tries to portray. Watch Viswaroopam with your thinking caps on, and you will love the film beyond measure.
Rating – 8.95/10.