Vishwaroopam 2 trailer reveals sequel to the 2013 spy-thriller is an out-and-out Kamal Haasan show

TS Sudhir

June 12, 2018 13:43:54 IST

For a connoisseur of Tamil films, the week could not be better. First the release of Rajinikanth's Kaala and now the trailer of Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam 2. But if the consensus around Kaala was that it was more a Pa Ranjith film than a Rajinikanth product, with Vishwaroopam 2, there are no such doubts.

The trailer gives you enough proof that the sequel to the 2013 Vishwaroopam is an out and out Kamal Haasan film. Co-produced, written and directed by Haasan, the actor, like in most of his movies, is a man of many parts.

Kamal Haasan in a still from Vishawaroopam 2.

The build-up to the release of the trailer on Monday in three languages — by Aamir Khan for the Hindi version, Junior NTR for Telugu and Shruti Haasan for Tamil — was considerable. But the trailer, high on action, comes across looking only like several stunt scenes strung together. Despite the five-year plus lag from the first part, the trailer makes no attempt to make a connect for the viewer. And even for those who recall Vishwaroopam, there is nothing in the trailer that teases the potential viewer with a glimpse into the emotional quotient that can be expected.

Vishwaroopam was truly an international story that focused on terrorism and a RAW agent's effort to neutralise one of the most dreaded terrorists, Omar played by Rahul Bose. The first part flitted between New York and Afghanistan as the RAW agent played by Haasan wore his masks, and ended with the viewer assuming that the chase to get Omar will resume in India in the sequel.

The problem with Vishwaroopam was that except in parts, it failed to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller. Perhaps overawed by the movie's foray into a troubled land, Haasan the director did not even adequately challenge Haasan the actor. For the sake of the viewer, one can only hope the sequel will be less documentaryish.

The Vishwaroopam two-part spy thriller can be seen as Kamal Haasan's serious attempt to go international. No longer does he wish to be seen only as a Tamil or even an Indian actor. Though his karmabhoomi and the medium of communicating with his audience remains Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, the cinematic language is truly global. It is a risky ploy, both financially and now with Haasan, politically. If the film does not do as well as expected, it will be interpreted by his critics as a comment on what people in Tamil Nadu think of him in his political avatar. Plus the comparisons with how much moolah Kaala manages to rake, will be another benchmark.

Vishwaroopam, when it released in January 2013, was in the news more for what happened to it off-screen than in the theatres. Muslims in Tamil Nadu objected to the depiction of the community in the movie and the Jayalalithaa government stopped its screening, citing law and order concerns. That led to a public outburst by Haasan where he said he will be forced to leave Tamil Nadu and settle down in another secular state and if he cannot find any, leave India like artist MF Husain did.

"I am an artist with no religious leaning and neither am I right or left. I am fed up. I do not know what is going on. I am looking for a secular place in any other state. If I cannot find it in a couple of days, I will hopefully find a secular country overseas,'' he said then. He subsequently agreed to mute certain scenes.

A still from the trailer of Vishwaroopam 2.

In an interview in January 2016, three years after the release of Vishwaroopam, Haasan told me the threat still stays if his creative freedom is curtailed. But having donned a political role, Haasan now doubts if the sequel will run into any controversy.

"It was politically motivated last time. I am prepared as a politician if any such controversies arise this time,'' he says. It is interesting therefore to see how Haasan is pitching Vishwaroopam 2.

"There is no harm in following any religion but being anti-national is a sin,'' he says. Though the movie will not be seen as a political launchpad — as the germ of the idea was already part executed much before Haasan took the decision to jump into politics — the film about terrorism is also deeply political.

Kamal Haasan is making a statement by releasing Vishwaroopam 2 on the Independence Day week.

Just before the release of the trailer, Shekhar Kapur, who is part of the Vishwaroopam 2 cast, tweeted to Kamal Haasan, saying, "Next time I direct and you act!'' If neta Haasan stays true to his promise to quit films, we would be deprived of such a delicious prospect.

Updated Date: Jun 12, 2018 13:58 PM