‘Vishwaroopam' has the potential to reach out internationally and we're also working on a sequel', says Kamal Haasan, unveiling the promos at the IIFA weekend.
An idea that intrigued Kamal Haasan seven years ago grew within him, prompting him to write a story. The story grew larger than he expected it to be. “I first had to convince myself that such an idea will lend itself to a feature film. Then I sounded out the idea to my friends, had several discussions and the result was Vishwaroopam,” said Kamal Haasan, speaking to us soon after the unveiling the promos of his much-awaited magnum opus in Singapore.
Vishwaroopam (in Tamil and Telugu) and Vishwaroop (in Hindi) is the most expensive film in Kamal Haasan's career. Without disclosing the details of the budget, Kamal Haasan stated, “It's amazing how a screen writer's mind works when he/she stumbles upon certain news reports. I felt this film had the potential to reach out nationally and internationally, which is why we didn't want to hesitate to spend to make it the way we intended to.”
Set in the US, in 2012, the film traces the story of Kathak exponent Vishwanath alias Wiz (Kamal Haasan), who is married to Nirupama (Pooja Kumar). It's a marriage of convenience that Nirupama finds tough to deal with after three years. She wants to opt out of the arranged marriage and even hires a detective to pursue Vishwanath. But look closer at the promo and we know that the film is much more than a story about a couple. You are intrigued to know if Kamal Haasan's character has shades of grey and if the film presents a fresh take on international relations between US and the other nations. Kamal Haasan remains evasive and says, “At this point, I don't want to talk too much about the premise of the film.”
Vishwaroopam stars Pooja Kumar (who was recommended by Gautami), Andrea Jeremiah, Rahul Bose as the antagonist, Jaideep Ahlawat, Nasser and Shekhar Kapur in a guest appearance. “I have been trying to get Shekhar Kapur to do a film with me for 26 years. Each time I meet him, we discuss at least 10 ideas. It took me these many years to get him to do a special appearance for me,” said Kamal Haasan. The surprise package of the film is Rahul Bose. “Rahul did a workshop for a month and a half and even learnt the Tamil lines,” said Kamal.
Years after Sagara Sangamam (Salangai Oli in Tamil), Kamal Haasan will get to showcase his skills as a classical dancer. “The style of Kathak and Bharatanatyam I did in Sagara Sangamam was different. For this film, I took lessons from Pandit Birju Maharaj. I've admired Panditji's grace and method. I learnt the sequences from him and discussed those thodis or jathis with Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy and they came up with brilliant music,” said Kamal. The Hindi lyrics have been penned by Javed Akhtar, while Vairamuthu has done the honours in Tamil and Vennelakanti in Telugu. Gautami took care of the costume designing.
The visual effects of the film were talked about soon after the promos. Madhusudhanan, who has previously supervised the visual effects for Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King and also won a national award for Kamal Haasan's earlier film Aalavandhan, spearheaded the visual effects for Vishwaroopam. The film will also have a sequel, reveals Kamal Haasan. “As the film shaped up, I realised it had the potential for a sequel. We have finished shooting major portions of the sequel as well. Andrea will have a larger role in the second part,” he said. Kamal Haasan has written, directed and co-produced the film and said, “I was a reluctant actor to begin with. I wanted to be a choreographer and then a director. For selfish reasons I became an actor and thankfully, that helped me develop deep pockets. The actor Kamal Haasan today funds the technician Kamal Haasan.”
Vishwaroopam will release later this year.