Before I say anything else – I wish success to Kamal Hassan. No doubt Kamal is one of the most responsible movie maker in India. He has covered many interesting topics such as assassination of Mahatma (Hey Ram), family feuds of Southern Tamil Nadu (Thevar Magan), Islamic Extremism (Unnaipol Oruvan — though its a remake) and Humanity (Anbe Sivam) etc.. But I also wish he makes a movie on Sri Lanka and the massacre of more than 100,000 people there. Most killed in Sri Lanka would have watched at-least some of Kamal’s movies and I think he owes it to our brothers across the Palk Strait. Who better than Ulaga Nayagan to show the world about the horrors. Like the Jews continue to tell their stories in Hollywood, every artist from the peninsula should do his part to bring to light the horrors of the 2009 massacres in Sri Lanka.
Coming to Vishwaroopam – the movie is technically very good and some of the fight sequences and slow motion shots are very intriguing to watch. The shots where the landscape of Afghanistan is shown were very nice (later I came to know that several of the Afghan scenes were shot in Chennai…). The narrative style is unique to Kamal and is interesting in the movie too. Until almost half of the movie you wonder who Kamal is. This guy is training Al-Qaeda soldiers in Afghanistan, but fighting them in the US. The knot and suspense is well knit.
All that said, Vishwaroopam however is probably not the best of Kamal’s movie. I do agree with some sentiments that it looks like a US propaganda documentary. Especially after Omar’s dialogue about Americans never bombing women and children.
There is indeed a slump in the movie. To be honest, I did not enjoy the entire movie much. Its definitely not a family movie and I felt sorry for taking my kids to the movie. Living in a remote region in the US, there is hardly few Tamil/Indian movie that are shown in my city/vicinity. So when a Tamil movie is screened, I try not to miss it.
I also suspect that Vishwaroopam is a last ditch effort to get the ever evading, but most deserved “Oscar”. Did somebody tell Kamal that getting in the good books of USA will bring the coveted award closer to him? Just kidding…
Also his press meet makes me think that he is constructing a case that will allow him to move to Hollywood permanently – especially with the news doing its rounds that Mr. Barrie Osbourne is planning a movie with Kamal. Just kidding again folks….
Another apprehension I have about this movie is the fact that this is yet another terrorism movie. This theme has been beaten to death in many movies and in media for the past several decades. George Bush used this rhetoric to wage an unjustifiable war on Iraq (Where no weapons of mass destruction was discovered apparently) and several oppressive nations across the world have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in the name of war on terror. We all know that Sri Lanka high-jacked this same “war on terror” rhetoric and took it to new heights by killing about 100,000 Tamils civilians apart from brutally raping and victimizing women. So I think just like “terrorism” itself, excessive propaganda about terrorism often has hidden agenda’s and leads to mass calamity.
It’s not that only “Terrorism” movies can deliver the thrill and only “Terrorists” can be the scary villains. Take for example the movie “Avatar” – one of the most successful movie in the history of Hollywood – revolves around “Resistance” and the villain of this movie is “Corporate greed”. I do think that Tamils would relate more to topics such as the killings of fishermen in deep-sea (like in Neerparavai), dangers of nuclear power plants, plight of farmers in the Cauveri delta region, etc….
I would love to see Kamal handle “State Terrorism” in his next movie. Let actors like Vijay and Ajith deal with terrorists. Mature and responsible actor like Kamal (and Rajini) should do movies on issues that concerns the people – their customer base.
I do think that the ban by Tamil Nadu government is not the right thing and I do agree, artists should have freedom to express their creativity. The movie is not that bad to fear that it will spark communal violence. Kamal’s creative freedom should be encouraged. If Kamal’s movie is seen as a propaganda, the only way to retaliate is to make a better and meaningful movie as a counter propaganda. Ban is a wrong move and is annoying to common man.
Let us work towards removing obstacles to artists and at the same time demand more meaningful movies from them. Let us guide them by encouraging and discouraging their work (by watching good ones and avoiding bad ones) rather than creating obstacles. Only Box Office will teach the right lessons to the artists and the creators. So let us get Vishwaroopam out from the box (ban) and allow it to take its deserved roopam (shape).