Vishwaroopam II Review: Sleeper cells activated!

Cast:  Kamal Hassan, Pooja Kumar, Andreah Jeremiah, Shekhar Kapur, Anant Mahadevan, Nasser, Jaideep, Rahul Bose and Waheeda Rehman

Written, Directed and Produced by Kamal Hassan

Music by Ghibran

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Vishwaroopam 2 , the sequel to the 2013 spy thriller Vishwaroopam, put in simple words is nothing but a pointless exercise from film maker , Kamal Hassan.

Back in 2013, during the making of the original, Kamal struck upon the idea of delivering the Vishwaroopam story as a 2-part film. But the film has since struggled to see the light of the day due to the financial issues involving the then producer Aascar Ravichandran who went bust immediately  after the release of the Shankar opus ‘I’. And now half a decade later, Kamal has taken over the project and pumped his own money to get the movie released.

And therefore, one can understand the tacky VFX in some of the portions, though still not much of a dampener. The issue however is that the final product has nothing original to add to the events of the first movie to really warrant a sequel. What the film really does is throw in some leftover footage from the original and fills in the missing portions – like how Wisam gets recruited to RAW and ends up at Afghanistan, or how Omar confronting Wisam on discovering that he is the mole in his team etc.

This may not have been the movie that Kamal originally intended. But it seems with all the delays and budget constraints, he just rewrote several of the portions to just stitch up something cohesive and deliver it to the public as a sequel and be done with it. But we can only go by the final product that we have. And going by this, this is one that fails to inject anything fresh to the audience from the prequel. With some nods to the original movie, and a handful of new uninteresting plot points the movie flaggingly plods its way towards the end with no thrills and frills.

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It is definitely a good idea to catch up on the original if you are going into this one. Because otherwise nothing on screen would make sense. The screenplay continues the same confusing pattern of the original, and thereby viewers have to make peace with jumping from one timeline to another. And from one timezone to another.

The movie starts off right where we left off in Vishwaroopam, with our team of spies Major Wisam (Kamal), colleague Ashmita (Andreah), Colonel Jaganath (Shekhar Kapur) and wife Nirupama (Pooja Kumar) leaving New York and heading to UK to drop off the body of deceased ‘friend’ Dr Dawkins.

However, the script from here on forgets completely about the antagonists, Omar (Rahul Bose) and his aide Salim (Jaideep), and our heroes are instead content sorting out issues with a rather suspicious senior government agent (Anant Mahadevan) in UK. This further takes them to another episode of bomb diffusing, this time under the seas of Sheerness town in UK, where we get a history lesson courtesy Kamal about SS Richard Montgomery, the sunken ship that is said to claim 1,400 tonnes of explosives.

All of this takes up the first half of our spy thriller sequel, leaving the second half for Kamal to finally get back to India where he resorts to some usual predictable desi style story telling. Firstly, he introduces the ‘maa-beta’ angle by bringing in his mother (Waheeda Rehman) who suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease is unable to recognize her son. Then we have wife Nirupama trying to seduce hubby Wasim amidst all these bombs and threats. And finally, we have the baddies Omar and Salim finally surfacing for a rather tame climax which involves further bombs and kidnapped family members.

Kamal the writer needs to take the blame because the script once again functions an attempt to showcase the multiple talents of Kamal in a single movie, irrespective of whether the movie demands it or not. One is not doubting Kamal the actor, but it would have worked better if Kamal the writer kept the focus on the story and not just on the character of Wisam.  Sure, the Kamal-isms are there and peppered in the screenplay and dialogues (like the traitor’s blood being splattered to form an India map, like Andrea tearing up a burqah before showing the bad guy his place, Wisam’s verbal duel with the character smartly named ‘Eeswar’, the character played by Mahadevan etc).  But all of Kamal’s messages get buried under the ho-hum screenplay of a yawn-inducing spy game.

Andrea’s character spends most of her screen time trying to mock Nirupama which turns out to be irritating as the movie goes forward as if she has no other function in the team but to get Nirupama all jealous. And when she finally gets to put on her action boots, it is a treat, but short-lived. Pooja Kumar is fine and gets an upgrade from playing the irritating comic relief from the first time around. She even gets to put her real-life scuba diving skills to use in one of the key portions of the movie. But her character’s sudden U-turn in personality is rather perplexing.

Rahul Bose and Jaideep literally has nothing to do this time around but to appear as mere props. Which is a shame as much was expected from the Wisam-Omar showdown that we were promised at the climax of the 2013 film.  The screenplay not being able to give enough scope for the villains is the biggest issue the sequel has.

Ghibran’s background score is a major plus factor to the scenes, and one of the few positives of Vishwaroopam 2.  The action sequences are decent but not anything groundbreaking. Despite packed with gore, it never sizzles on screen and at times appear labored.

Those expecting a sequel of high standards will be ultimately disappointed by Vishwaroopam 2. It neither lacks the pace and tension of a spy thriller nor the complexities of a gritty spy drama. If it is still trying to drive home the message regarding ‘good muslim’ vs ‘bad muslim’ like the original did, I suggest last week’s MULK which does a bold and better job of it without any pretense.

With nothing fresh on offer, and no strong antagonist, Vishwaroopam 2 is an unnecessary and predictable sequel that bores you out completely. As mentioned earlier, it is decently and even painstakingly mounted but serves no purpose. This one is clearly Mission: Forgettable!

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