Aishwarya Rao
*This is a Viswaroopam review : Spoiler Alert*

A realistic and relevant story


Set in New York, Vishwaroopam is the story of Kathak teacher ‘Wiz’ Vishwanath (Kamal Hassan), his Tam Bram wife Dr. Nirupama, a neuro oncologist (Pooja Kumar) and their involvement in an evidently ambitious conspiracy by the villain, an Afghani Al-Qaeda Jihadi, Omar (Rahul Bose) to destroy New York. You can read the detailed plot here.

With the bold, honest story line that captures the ongoing war against al-Qaeda Vishwaroopam is an exception in its genre of Tamil spy-action-thrillers. It is also a refreshing break from the boy meets girl framework that our movies are notorious for.


Intelligent direction 


Vishwaroopam is a movie that is surprisingly and intelligently detached from the tricky subject of religion - any religion for that matter.  There - I said it. 

Having watched the movie, I am quite sad that it hasn’t received its first day first show celebration in Tamil Nadu, yet. The movie is so tactfully made that it leaves little room for religious fanaticism and bigotry. This is India, not Iran we are talking about.

You know, I am so tempted to take my Kashmiri Muslim bestie Raheel Khursheed to watch this movie with me, for I am confident, he too will agree that there is an unmistakable focus on al-Qaeda terrorists with absolutely no comment on , suggestion of or allusion to Islam or those who practice it.

In addition, Kamal makes it his sole purpose to smash propaganda and media driven stereotypes. That is why you have the chicken loving Tam-Bram Dr. Nirupama, indulging in an affair, a mockery of the stereotypical curd rice licking, ‘Rascala’ obsessive Tam-Bram as popularly depicted by Shah Rukh Khan. That is why an al-Qaeda terrorist Omar’s young son speaks in fluent English announcing his ambition to become a doctor. The guy who is expected to detonate a bomb is Nigerian – not Afghani, not Pakistani, not Arab. The nuclear oncologist who is likely to save New York is a woman…and in response to a NYPD officer’s question about God, Dr. Nirupama retorts “My God has four arms and we dunk him in the sea”. Kudos to Kamal for directing a clever movie that tramples on clich├ęs.

Serious performance #Likeaboss



Rahul Bose as the Afghani al-Qaeda terrorist is deeply authentic. His artificial eye makes you squirm and his unsettling performance makes him a convincing antagonist. Despite an annoying Tam-Bram delivery and a constant perplexed look on her face, it is easy to accept Pooja Kumar as a nuclear oncologist, may be because she comes with little baggage.

Andreah Jeremiah is nothing more than a nice-to-have distraction adding prettiness to the why-so-serious moments of the film. Shekar Kapur, Nasser, Zarina Wahab and Jaideep Ahlawat bring elegance to their characters in an otherwise unemotional and grim storyline.

Undoubtedly, Kamal shines throughout the two and half hours. One cannot miss the deliberate effeminate steps he takes as he runs to a ringing phone (aah!) or the hopelessness in his face when a young Jihadi’s life is lost…living and breathing his character with a maturity that comes with age, experience and to an actor of his calibre. One must deeply thank him for a realistic performance in the action sequences and for staying away from donning multiple roles.

With the absence of the standard, irrelevant, unwanted-running-down-snow–capped-mountains-song sequence and a parallel Santhanam comedy track, the screen play remains tight, logical and delightful.

In my feeble attempt to draw comparisons and elaborate what a ‘next-level’ Tamil movie Hassan has made, I am tempted to declare that some of the warfare scenes are as gripping as that of Zero Dark Thirty.  In what might be the first time for Tamil cinema, here is a three point five to four star rated movie that can confidently compete with its Hollywood counterparts on the subject of international espionage.  

Vishwaroopam is truly Kamal’s magnum opus - a brave, artistic, beautifully made, realistic, tightly edited piece.  Look at it as an arresting tale of global terrorism and you will see how Kamal Hassan has justified his title, Ulaganaayakan.

I am certainly looking forward to part two.