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‘Vishwaroopam 2’ review: too dialogue-heavy for an action thriller

Vishwaroopam 2

Vishwaroopam 2   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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Fills all the blanks of ‘Vishwaroopam’ part one, but is that enough?

Vishwaroopam 2 is Kamal Haasan’s first release after his plunge into politics, but that’s not a detail you’re likely to forget once you step into this film. Even before the opening credits start rolling, we’re shown a montage of Kamal, the politician announcing this entry and the setting up of his party, the Makkal Needhi Mayyam. Through the montage, we see images of him speaking across the State, addressing a sea of people, while fondly holding a dozen smiling babies, propaganda style.

It feels like the star (also the film’s director) is just getting his political promotions/intent out of the way so we can get started on a big, loud spy thriller. But politics is never off the table in a Kamal film, and that’s much the case with Vishwaroopam 2 as well. The film takes off (literally) from where we last left, with Wisam Ahmad Kashmiri (Kamal Haasan) and his team flying to the UK, after a tipoff that would lead him to Omar (Rahul Bose) and other terrorists. Like the first film, the gaps in the story are filled using recurring flashbacks, which explain details like how Wisam first lands the Al Qaeda job, his association with Ashmita (Andrea Jeremiah), and how he learnt his first Kathak lesson.

There’s also a nice Wikipedia lesson about a shipwreck off England’s coast that continues to hold tonnes of explosives. On his personal side, we learn more about Wisam’s blooming love story with wife Nirupama (Pooja Kumar with a more tolerable accent) his mother who has Alzheimer’s (signifying the motherland we’re forgetting?) and his ‘illegitimate father’.

Vishwaroopam 2
  • Cast: Kamal Haasan, Rahul Bose, Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeramiah
  • Director: Kamal Haasan
  • Genre: Action
  • Storyline: A RAW agent’s global efforts to save the day from ticking time bomb(s)

Much of the film pans out in the form of one long explanation to clear all the doubts we were left with after the first film. So when the action (and the bombs) shifts to India, we feel it will finally become the thriller we were expecting.

No such luck here either.

Too dialogue-heavy

The budgets seem to have shrunk since the first instalment and that has affected the quality of the action set pieces. Car crashes in the UK countryside and an underwater fist fight sounds much better than it looks on screen and the film is just too dialogue-heavy for an action thriller.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its moments.

There’s a whistle-worthy scene where Wisam (or was it Kamal, the politician?) confronts a racist who questions the loyalty of an Indian Muslim. And later, when a Hindu traitor shoots himself, his blood splatters to form the shape of the Indian map. Wisam is also seen teaching Omar how to write Tamil…though he uses a bullet as his pen. ‘Aaytha Ezhuthu’, he calls it, in true Kamal style.

One of the major reasons for the success of the first film was the villain played by Rahul Bose. Rarely do we find a negative character given so much time in a big commercial film, and that’s why we were able to humanise the terrorist who wanted to blow up the world. A lot of that is also because the film had the luxury to do so, given the fact that it was a two-parter.

Yet in the sequel, it’s almost shocking to see how little is done with a character that was built up so much. We expected Omar to be a tidal wave. What we get, instead, is barely a ripple.

Add that to particularly tacky production design and uninspiring visuals, you realise that it’s easy for someone to mistake the first part as the newer film. By the end of Vishwaroopam 2, we’ve seen so many bombs being planted, only for them to be defused. What’s another 100 more?

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 10:26:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/vishwaroopam-2-review-too-dialogue-heavy-for-an-action-thriller/article24654946.ece

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