February 27, 2013

Vishwaroopam - thoughts and things

I don't watch many movies but I've seen my share of good, bad and horrid (what, you thought I was going to say ugly?!). I don't read reviews and I haven't written many either save for this and this. After all the hype surrounding Vishwaroopam, I decided that I must not only watch it but also write about it at some point. So here goes....a couple of weeks after the experience.

My overall take - the movie was awesome! Well-made and good time-pass especially if you like dishum dishum type of films. The plot, as predictable as it was, was well executed. The action scenes and stunts were really Hollywood-like and not Vijaykanth-movie-like (where bombs go off all around him and he comes out unscathed, or when he stays in the air for minutes kicking those around him while all the time defying the laws of gravity). The first half hour had me in splits but I think you have to be a Tam Brahm to appreciate a lot of it :). The soundtrack was really good - the only full-length song in the film was very well done. Kamal's mastery of music and dance and the interest he takes in researching every single thing to death shows clearly (as always).

Now to the controversial aspects of the film...I don't know anything about Muslim customs and practices. So I did not understand the significance of the shaving of body hair, doing the namaz or any other custom before a suicide mission. If I were a staunch Muslim, then maybe I would have taken offense to it simply because of the casualness with which it is portrayed. There is an implication that it is a norm of sorts, which would make not-very-informed audiences assume certain things about Islam and Muslims itself on a larger scale that is totally unfair. So it's understandable that there was an public outcry but I'm not sure if I agree with the extremeness of it...for two reasons.

One - Movies are a form of art and expression. They should be seen objectively and within the context of the whole. Would this movie have had such an impact on people if Al-Qaeda hadn't been mentioned? If Osama hadn't been shown? If Afghanistan wasn't the battleground? If so much attention to detail hadn't been paid? I'm not so sure. There have been similar-themed movies in the recent past and none took the kind of beating that this one did.

Two - Religion tends to evoke certain responses in individuals. A lot of this is our own beliefs, our own staunchness, if you will, in our views...the feeling that mine isn't that bad and yours is the same or possibly worse if you look at it relative to one another. Those for whom religion (any religion) isn't so important, can maybe view all this very objectively...simply look at it for what it is. A movie...some entertainment...and nothing more. So a large part of this is us...and our inner-most feelings on sensitive subjects coming out as a reaction. Add some politics to this and one person's reaction becomes a nation's outcry and the censor board's pet project.

My conclusion - objectivity is the need of the hour...and not just for movies or movie reviews. :)

1 comment:

hameed khan said...

nice review!:-)gives a very balanced opinion on the subject and a very biased appreciation of Kamal's excellence (both of which I agree with, given that I am one of Kamal's most outrageous fans). And yes, you couldn't have put it better...objectivity is the need of the hour, especially for an emotional country like ours. Looking forward to more such reviews :-)