Vishwaroopam

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This article is about the 2013 film. For other uses, see Vishwaroopam (disambiguation).
Vishwaroopam
Vishwaroopam poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Kamal Haasan
Produced by
  • S. Chandrahasan
  • Kamal Haasan
Prasad Vara Potluri[1][2][3]
Written by Kamal Haasan
Atul Tiwari
Starring Kamal Haasan
Rahul Bose
Pooja Kumar
Andrea Jeremiah
Jaideep Ahlawat
Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Cinematography Sanu Varghese
Edited by Mahesh Narayanan
Production
  company
Raaj Kamal Films International
Distributed by PVP Cinema
Balaji Motion Pictures
Release date(s)
    • 25 January 2013 (2013-01-25) (In Tamil and Telugu:
      Worldwide except Tamil Nadu[4])
    • 1 February 2013 (2013-02-01) (Hindi version)
    • 7 February 2013 (2013-02-07) (Tamil Nadu[5])
Running time 149 minutes[6]
Country India
Language
  • Tamil
  • Hindi
Budget INR95 crores
(US$15 million)[7]
Box office INR2.20 billion (US$37 million)[8]

Vishwaroopam (titled Vishwaroop in Hindi) is a 2013 Tamil spy thriller film written, directed and co-produced by Kamal Haasan who also enacts the lead role. The film has Rahul Bose, Shekhar Kapur, Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah and Jaideep Ahlawat in supporting roles. Produced simultaneously as a bilingual in Tamil and Hindi and dubbed into Telugu language as Viswaroopam, the film features soundtrack composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, with lyrics by Vairamuthu and Haasan himself in while Javed Akhtar translated them for the Hindi version.

Development of the project commenced after the release of Haasan's Manmadhan Ambu (2010) when several of the crew were brought in from the United States to lend their technical expertise. The direction was taken over by Haasan from Selvaraghavan and reports indicating a comparison with several English films surfaced during the production. The first teaser was revealed in April 2012 and first theatrical trailer was revealed in June 2012 - the Tamil version attracted 682,000 views, Hindi version 194,000 views and Telugu version 20,000 views on YouTube.[9] Vishwaroopam is the first Indian film to utilize the new Auro 3D sound technology. The film was also to be the first Indian film to release via direct-broadcast satellite, also known as direct-to-home (DTH), but after protests of theatre owners this plan was dropped.

The film released worldwide, excluding Tamil Nadu, on 25 January 2013 while the Hindi version was released on 1 February 2013. Legal controversies, regarding the film's plotline of Indian security services' participation in the War on Terror, arose as several Muslim civic organisations protested the film's release in Tamil Nadu, resulting in an official ban being imposed on the film in the state for 15 days by the Government of Tamil Nadu. The ban resulted in similar decisions in major overseas markets like Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Singapore while release was delayed in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka.

Despite the fragmented release, Vishwaroopam garnered positive reviews. Heeding to the requests of Muslim civic organisations, controversial scenes were muted or morphed, allowing the film for release on 7 February 2013 in Tamil Nadu. The film was coveted with awards for Best Art Direction and Best Choreography at the 60th National Film Awards.[10] A sequel to the film, Vishwaroopam II is set for release in early-2014.

Plot[edit]

The film opens in a rundown pigeon shop in New York City where an old man feeds them. He then sends one pigeon away. It flies high and lands in a skyscraper off the office window of a psychologist who is conducting a session with her client Nirupama (Pooja Kumar), a nuclear oncologist, who begins to confide that her’s was a marriage of convenience that provided a safe haven for pursuing her PhD in the U.S.A. for past three years and that her husband Vishwanath alias Viz (Kamal Haasan) is a middle-aged Kathak teacher. She is also put off by Viz's effeminate bearing and is attracted to her boss, Deepankar (Samrat Chakrabarti). Doubting whether her husband has secrets of his own, she hires a private investigator to tail him to probe grounds for divorce. She learns from the private investigator that Viz is a Muslim. In a sudden turn of events, the investigator is killed in a sea-side warehouse by Farukh, a prominent member of the terrorist outfit led by Omar (Rahul Bose). A business card on his wallet gives away Nirupama and the terror group led by Farukh nabs the couple.

Viz surprises Nirupama by having a fight with the terrorists, kills Farukh and his men at the warehouse and escapes with Nirupama. Omar and Viz have a past, one that takes the story back to circa 2002, to the Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Viz's real name was Wisam Ahmad Kashmiri. He claims to be a Tamil Jihadi in Kashmir, wanted by the Indian Army, with a reward of INR 500,000 on his head. Omar accepts him into his team and drives him off to Afghanistan. Wisam becomes a trainer to the Al-Qaeda Jihadi's and also a family friend to Omar. One day, Omar tells Wisam that American prisoners of war are still alive, incarcerated and shifted each fortnight. He orders his deputy Salim (Jaideep Ahlawat) to behead the Captain and capture it on video. The next day, Salim tells Wisam that a new tall guest is expected in the town. Wisam later that night sees Osama bin Laden (Naren Weiss)[11] greeting the Al Qaeda chieftains in a cave. Then, a joint US-led air force begins bombing raid on the town. Omar begins to doubt that there is an informer in the team but mistakenly orders lynching of an innocent man. What follows is a maze of events that go back and forth in time, unraveling a plot where in the terrorists are scraping cesium from oncological equipment to trigger a blast in New York City.

Nirupama is stunned to discover the true identity of Viz, his "uncle" (Shekhar Kapur), British "friend" Dr Dawkins (Miles Anderson) and the young "dancer" Ashmita (Andrea Jeremiah). Viz later reveals that he has a lot of emotional baggage and that he had executed many terrorists including Nassar (Nassar), Omar's boss. His mission is to bust the sleeper-cell of Al Qaeda in the US, which is planning to divert the attention through "capsules" capable of emitting mild nuclear radiation tied to pigeons while enabling Abbasi, a Nigerian suicide bomber to detonate the cesium bomb in the city.

Together, the Wisam team try to counter the plans of Omar. In the ensuing events, Wisam is arrested by the FBI before being rescued by his "uncle" Colonel Jagannath and Dr Dawkins is murdered by Salim while picking up a video tape from an antique shop. The FBI later releases Wisam after a call from the Indian embassy and Prime Minister of India, where the true identity of Wizam is revealed as an agent of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India. Wisam along with the FBI, take down Abbasi and defuse the Ceasium bomb with the help of Nirupama by using a microwave oven as Faraday cage to avoid incoming calls from any mobile phone. Omar and Salim try to escape in a plane. Omar tries to activate bomb through his phone, but fails. He then called Abbasi, but call is attended by Wisam, who tells him that Abbasi is not alive, Omar is shocked to hear this but escapes with Salim in his plane. The film ends with Wisam indicating that he would now go after Omar, alluding to a sequel set in India.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

After finishing his Manmadan Ambu (2010), Kamal Haasan stated in November 2010 that he was working on the scriptment of his "pet project" titled Thalaivan Irukkiran, a film about an international community. Termed as a big budget multi-starrer film, it was expected to commence by March 2011, with a Hollywood studio reportedly coming forward to produce it.[12] However, in early 2011, sources claimed that Kamal shelved that project and agreed to star in a Selvaraghavan directorial, being impressed by the one-line story narrated to him.[13] Reports further suggested that the film was based on the 2001 American psychological thriller Hannibal,[14] with Kamal playing a cannibal,[15] Closer to release, Kamal Haasan revealed that he had thought of the story seven years before production began and had to convince himself that the story could be made into a feature film.[16] The film was named Vishwaroopam, after several titles were considered,[14] by late March and the shooting was planned to begin by mid-April and to be completed within 100 days.[17] It was revealed that the film would be produced in three languages—Tamil, Telugu and Hindi—simultaneously.[17]

On 24 May 2011, it was announced that Selvaraghavan was ousted from the project, as he was busy finishing his project with his brother Dhanush. Kamal Hassan decided to direct the film himself in addition to writing the story, screenplay and dialogues.[18] The producing studio, Telephoto Films, had urged him to take up the project, planning for a release on 7 November 2011,.[18][19] The film was then disclosed to be a spy thriller on the lines of the Mission Impossible series.[20] The film was being made as a bilingual and simultaneously shot in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi languages; all the actors had to learn their dialogues in both languages.[21] Sanu John Varghese made his debut as a cinematographer in Tamil after previously working in the Hindi film, Karthik Calling Karthik and the Malayalam film Elektra. Varghese had previously been a part of the team that Kamal Haasan had assembled for Marmayogi, which did not take off.[22] Mahesh Narayanan, a leading Malayalam film editor, was signed up for the project after he had acquainted with Kamal Haasan for the pre-production works of the film Traffic, which the actor later opted out from.[22] The team signed up N. G. Roshan as a make-up artiste after Kamal Haasan appreciated his work in the 2009 Malayalam film Pazhassi Raja, while Mahadevan Thampi was picked to be the still photographer after Kamal Haasan had worked with him for a day during his guest appearance in Four Friends.[22]

Casting[edit]

Kamal Haasan and Pooja Kumar at Vishwaroopam media meet

By February 2011, newcomer Sonakshi Sinha was approached to play the lead female character,[15] and was confirmed to play Haasan's wife.[23] Her salary for the film was touted to be INR20 million (US$340,000).[14] However, with the film getting delayed, she opted out by July, due to conflicting dates with her Hindi assignments.[24] Following Sinha's exit, other leading Bollywood actresses, including Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone,[25] and Sonam Kapoor were considered.[26] Vidya Balan was also approached by the makers, but she declined the offer, owing to her prior commitments.[27] By mid-August, Sameera Reddy was reported to have been roped in for the role,[28] while sources stated that Anushka Shetty was finalised soon after.[29] In early November 2011, New York based model-actress Pooja Kumar was signed in for a role after she had been recommended to Kamal Haasan by his partner, Gouthami.[30] The initial audition for Pooja Kumar was held over Skype, with Haasan noting that she had thought the film was initially based on cannibalism.[31] Being a non-Tamil speaker her dialogues have been dubbed by actress Abhirami, although Pooja Kumar dubbed for herself in the film's Hindi version.[32] Telugu actress Lakshmi Manchu was offered a role in the film, but declined it due to date issues.[33]

Shriya Saran was reported to play the second female lead in the film,[34] with the actress dismissing the news several days later, citing that she had not even heard the script,[35] following which Priya Anand was claimed to have bagged that role.[36] This turned out to be false, with Kamal Haasan citing that he did not know who Priya Anand was.[24] Isha Sharvani was meanwhile selected for a role,[37] with reports suggesting that she would essay the character of Kamal Haasan's sister in the film.[26] However, Sharvani too opted out later, due to "inordinate delay in the start of the shoot".[38] By late August 2011, British model-turned-actress Amy Jackson was reported to have been added to the cast.[39] During mid-October, singer-actress Andrea Jeremiah had been signed on for a pivotal role and paid an advance.[40]

Rahul Bose was finalised to play the antagonist.[41] Later that month, actor-director Shekhar Kapur informed on Twitter that he would perform a cameo role,[42] while Samrat Chakrabarti had also been selected for a supporting role.[43] Jaideep Ahlawat disclosed in an interview that he would play an "out-and-out negative character" in the film.[44] Zarina Wahab told in November 2011 that she shot for a small role in Vishwaroopam.[45] In January 2012, Chitrangada Singh was offered a "very special role", which the actress had to decline, since her dates clashed with Sudhir Mishra's film.[46] As Kamal Hassan is ardent reader of Richard Dawkins, he had named Miles Anderson as Dawkins in the movie.

Filming[edit]

Kamal Haasan, Sanu Varghese and the rest of the crew at the filming of Vishwaroopam.

The film's shooting was supposed to take off on 20 April, but became delayed, since the US Consulate had refused Visas to the cast and crew.[47] The team decided to relocate to Canada, postponing filming to June.[48] The shooting began for the film in Chennai in August 2011 and locations filmed at included Haasan's office in October 2011, when Isha Sharvani was also a part of the shoot.[49] The film briskly progressed in late 2011, with scenes involving Samrat Chakrabarti filmed in November of the same year. Sets resembling Afghanistan were created in Chennai, with many foreigners from Russia, Iran and Africa playing American soldiers, while Haasan wore an Afghan look.[50] In November 2011, the team also pursued schedules in Amman and Petra in Jordan with Rahul Bose's scenes being canned.[51] Haasan learnt Kathak from Birju Maharaj for an important portion in the film.[52]

Due to delays, casting took a relatively long period of time, with several of the original cast dropping out of the project. Vishwaroopam was shot extensively overseas in countries like the United States and Canada. Domestic locations included Chennai and Mumbai.Kamal Haasan went to USA on 15 December 2011 for completing a schedule.[53] The main outdoor shoots were shot in New York as the lead character is based there, and the production team also matched New York with the Grand Rapids in Michigan.[54] Re-recording and dubbing work began in Mumbai in late February 2012, with Haasan arranging a dialogue coach in Tamil and Hindi to get the artistes' dubbing in place, with Atul Tiwari supervising the Hindi dialogues.[55][56] The climax scenes featuring an aerial fight choreographed by Hollywood stuntman Lee Whittaker was filmed at Chandivali Studio in Andheri, Mumbai in early March 2012 with Haasan and Rahul Bose.[57] The film was shot in digital format, after several false starts Haasan's previous projects. Speaking about it, he said "The fact that cinema is going digital is the biggest technological change today. We have to accept it, as it is happening globally and it will happen in Tamil Nadu too."[21]

Gouthami designed the costumes for the film. Shahrukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment has taken care of the graphics part in Vishwaroopam.[58] A research had to be carried out on the American army's hierarchy for the costumes.[59] N. G. Roshan, who had previously worked in notable Malayalam films, took charge of the make-up for the film.[60] The villain had to undergo a heavy use of prosthetic make-up. A scene involving a war explosion had to show an injured jaw for him. Further, the artists appearing as war victims had blood and other forms of injuries applied on their bodies.[61] The Jaika stunt team, that was also involved in Billa II (2012) at the time, worked on the action sequences.[62] Haasan's younger daughter Akshara Haasan joined the crew as an assistant director.[21] Kunal Rajan was roped in as a sound designer and the stunt crew for the film were imported in from Thailand.[63] In September 2012, Haasan revealed that the film would utilize Auro 3D sound technology, making it the first Indian film to do so.[64]

Soundtrack[edit]

Initially, Yuvan Shankar Raja was reported to compose the film's musical score.[65] However, Kamal signed in the musical trio Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy to compose music for the trilingual, making it his second collaboration with them after Aalavandhan.[66] Lyricist Vairamuthu took charge of the lyrics of the songs in the film,[67] after Kamal Haasan had approached him and narrated the entire plot, to which he immediately agreed to work upon.[21] Javed Akhtar has penned lyrics for the Hindi version, while Ramajogayya Shastry has done the lyrics for the dubbed Telugu version.[68] The audio was released on 7 December 2012.[69][70] The Telugu version of the audio was released on 30 December at Hyderabad. Vishwaroopam was also released in Barco's 3D cinema sound.

Marketing[edit]

The makers planned the high-budget production[71] to premiere at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.[72][73] A special screening of the film was arranged for Hollywood-based producer Barrie M. Osborne and make-up artist Michael Westmore.[74] Before release, it was reported to have been split into two parts, with each one having a separate release.[75]

The first look poster and a teaser of the film were released on May Day 2012 as part of the film's marketing process. The poster consisted of Kamal Haasan wearing a green khaki jacket, with a flying pigeon and a skyline of a city consisting of several skyscrapers in the background.[76] Snippets from the film were unveiled during the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) weekend and awards in Singapore in June 2012, as the actor-director screened excerpts from the film, attracting critical acclaim.[77] A one minute trailer was released at the award ceremony, which saw Kamal Haasan and Andrea take part in a press conference.[78] Salman Khan organised a special screening of Hindi version Vishwaroop at Ketnav Studio,Mumbai on 1 February 2013.[79][80]

An Auro 3D trailer of the film was released on 7 November, coinciding with Haasan's birthday.[81] It included a webcast of Kamal's speech via Skype.[82] The film is releasing in 3,000 prints worldwide.[83][84] A special screening of Vishwaroopam was held at Tamil Nadu superstar Rajinikanth's house on 6 February 2013 at the 6 Degrees theatre in the Auro 3D format for his friends.[85][86] On 9 February 2013 Kamal Haasan left for Paris for the French premiere on of Vishwaroopam.[87]

Release[edit]

The satellite rights of the film's Tamil version were bagged by STAR Vijay. The film's Tamil version was given a "U/A" (Parental Guidance) certificate by the Indian Censor Board with minor cuts, while the Hindi version Vishwaroop, which was originally given an "A" certificate, went through minor cuts to receive the "U/A" certificate.[88] The makers planned the high-budget production[71] to premiere at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.[72][73] The film released with over 3,000 prints worldwide.[83] While the movie was scheduled to release in theatres on 25 January 2013, the DTH release was planned for 2 February 2013 via six DTH players – Tata Sky, Airtel, Sun, Dish, Videocon & Reliance.

Vishwaroopam was scheduled to release in about 500 screens in Tamil Nadu, but the film was removed from screens by district collectors across the State, due to sustained protests by Muslim civic organisations.[89] In Andhra Pradesh, the film was scheduled to release in 300 screens by Siri Media. The film released in 82 screens in Kerala on 25 January.[90] After initial delays, Karnataka saw a full release on 29 January 2013 in 40 screens across the state.[91]

The Hindi version Vishwaroop was released in over 1,035 screens on 1 February 2013, thereby marking the biggest ever release for a Kamal Haasan film in Hindi. It was distributed by Balaji Motion Pictures.[92]

The film was scheduled to release in 250 screens in the overseas markets including 40 screens in Sri Lanka, 20 screens in Singapore, 20 screens in Canada. In Malaysia, the largest overseas market for Tamil films, Lotus Five Star distributed the film spending RM4 million on copyright, print and promotion.[93] Blue Sky Cinemas distributed the Tamil and Telugu versions of the film in Canada and the USA.[94]

The prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 of Criminal Penal Code to ban Vishwaroopam in Tamil Nadu was lifted on 3 February 2013.[95][96][97] Both the Tamil and Telugu versions of Vishwaroopam were screened at the Fourth Annual India International Film Festival of Tampa Bay on 16 February 2013 and 17 February 2013. [98] The temporary suspension on Vishwaroopam was lifted by the Sri Lanka Public Performance Board on 10 February 2013.[99] In Malaysia, the National Censorship Board and the Malaysian Islamic Development Department reviewed the film and the Home ministry lifted the ban on 19 February 2013.[100]

Reception[edit]

Professional reviews
Review scores
Source Rating
Indiaglitz 4/5 stars
Behindwoods 4/5 stars
Indiandragon 3.5/5 stars
OneIndia 3.5/5 stars
In.com 3.5/5 stars
Deccan Chronicle 3/5 stars
Rediff.com 3/5 stars
dagger indicates that the given rating is an average rating of all reviews provided by the source

Vishwaroopam[edit]

Vishwaroopam received highly positive reviews from critics. Sangeetha Devi Dundoo of The Hindu stated, "Vishwaroopam is a technically brilliant, ambitious film where most characters are not what they seem", and called the film "A gripping spy thriller of international standards".[101] Radhika Rajamani of Rediff gave 3 out of 5 stars and stated, "Vishwaroopam undoubtedly rests on Kamal Haasan, who is brilliant."[102] Vivek Ramz of in.com rated it 3.5 out of 5 and stated. "Vishwaroopam is a nicely made thriller and Kamal’s show all the way".[103] Behindwoods rated the film 4 out of 5 stars, calling it, "One of the commercially best made movies of Tamil cinema."[104] IndiaGlitz said, "Vishwaroopam comes with not just Hollywoodish feel but also its idiom". The critic further wrote "Sanu Varghese's cinematography is nimble and it is easily one of the biggest high points. Mahesh Narayanan's editing is proper."[105] L. K. Advani called it "one of the best films I have seen in years."[106] Cinemalead rated the film 4 out of 5 stars and wrote "On the whole Vishwaroopam is Kamal Hassan's best movie till now. Go, watch and enjoy the ride."[107]

Indiandragon gave 3.5 dragons and said "Vishwaroopam is the Indian spy story no different but all together new".[108] Sify said, "It is technically brilliant with world class making and a subject which is truly international on global terrorism." and called it a "must watch for those who seek classy, stylish and extra-strong entertainment."[109] NDTV stated, "Vishwaroopam is likely to be appreciated by lovers of Hollywood action films." and pointed out, "The film's only minus point – the placement of songs works as speed breakers for a spy thriller."[110] B.V.S. Prakash of Deccan Chronicle gave 3 stars and stated that the film "rides on performances."[111] Firstpost stated that "Vishwaroopam is non-stop action Hollywood style".[112] Praveen Kumar of OneIndia noted that the "film is on par with Hollywood standards" and gave 3.5/5.[113]

Anuja Jaiman of Reuters said, "Vishwaroopam is a work of art that surpasses Bollywood potboilers and tries to initiate a conversation about a not-so-perfect world and its great religious divide. Watch it for Haasan and your right to freedom of expression."[114] J Hurtado of Twitch Film said, "Vishwaroopam is a film that will, inevitably, be remembered as much for its bumpy road to the screen as it will be for its objective quality." and called it "good fun".[115] Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express rated the film 3 stars, saying: "This is a fill it-shut it-forget it film, whose big budget slickness never overpowers it, and which holds you while it lasts."[116] Film journalist Sreedhar Pillai, in an interview with IBN Live said, "I think it [Vishwaroopam] is Kamal's best film as a director." and called it "a well made commercial entertainer".[117] In contrast, Baradwaj Rangan of The Hindu said, "The surprise about Vishwaroopam is how straightforward it is, given Kamal Haasan’s track record. (It’s basically a big, dumb action movie, but with smarts.)"[118] Shailesh K Nadar of CinemaSpice.in rated Vishwaroopam as 3.5/5 mentioning in his review that "Vishwaroopam, a stylishly made engaging thriller, is a must-watch not just for Kamal fans, but also for all who love cinema and appreciate brilliant filmmaking."[119] Sudhish Kamath picked Vishwaroopam as one of five films that have redefined Tamil cinema in 2013, writing "Vishwaroopam is the most-layered film of the year and with every watch, you will find something that Kamal Haasan has planted in it, waiting to be discovered".[120]

Professional reviews
Deccan Herald 4/5 stars
India Weekly 3.5/5 stars
Bollywood Hungama 3/5 stars
Mid Day 3/5 stars
Hindustan Times 3/5 stars
Nowrunning 2.6/5 stars
CNN-IBN 2.5/5 stars
India Today 2.5/5 stars
Rediff.com 2/5 stars
dagger indicates that the given rating is an average rating of all reviews provided by the source

Vishwaroop[edit]

The Hindi version "Vishwaroop" received positive reviews from critics. Deccan Herald gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, saying "Vishwaroop is a helluva entertainer" and pointed out "The action sequences are, at last, on a par with Hollywood."[121] LiveMint reviewed the Hindi version Vishwaroop and stated that the film is a showcase for Haasan’s wide-ranging skills with both microwaves and machine guns.[122] Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave Vishwaroop 3 out of 5 stars and stated that the film is a Kamal Haasan show all the way, "It has an interesting premise, superb combat scenes and Kamal Haasan's bravura act as its three aces. But a stretched second hour and far from dramatic finale dilute the impact. Yet, all said and done, those with an appetite for well-made thrillers might relish this effort!"[123][124] Anupama Chopra of Hindustan Times gave 3 out of 5 stars to Vishwaroop and stated that Vishwaroop has to be admired for its scale and ambition. Director, co-producer, co-writer and Hero Kamal Haasan is attempting here to launch a franchise for himself.[125] Meena Iyer of The Times of India gave 3 out of 5 and stated intentions of this film and the maker are good. Kamal's performance is A-grade. However the film fails, especially in the second half because there are no lump-in-the-throat moments; nor is there any shock and awe.[126] Mid Day gave 3 out of 5 to Vishwaroop and stated that Kamal Haasan's film is sensitive and mature but the basic problem is the inconsistent pace.[127] Prasanna D Zore of Rediff gave the movie 2/5 stars and wrote "Vishwaroop is flawed and a big disappointment from Kamal Haasan" "At times, the film tries to preach what is just and what is unjust, but fails miserably."[128] Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN noted "A lot of it is unabashedly entertaining, although you'll wish the film was shorter and smarter." and gave the movie 2.5/5.[129] NDTV reviewed the Hindi version Vishwaroop and gave it 4 out of 5 stars, stating that Vishwaroop is technically dazzling. The big scenes of battle (in Afghanistan) and violent confrontation (in the US), to put it simply, are outstanding.[130] Vinayak Chakravorty of India Today gave the movie 2.5/5 stars and reviewed, "As the sleek shots pile up, you realise what they are desperately trying to hide: Vishwaroop lacks the energy and imagination that one looks for in a good action flick."[131] Shivesh Kumar of IndiaWeekly awarded the movie 3.5 out of 5 stars.[132]

Controversies[edit]

Vishwaroopam has been in the news for several critically viewed controversies. The first of this kind was the title naming issue, where the Hindu Makkal Katchi demanded the change from its current Sanskrit title to a purely Tamil one.[133] When Kamal Haasan announced a Direct-To-Home premiere of the film, theatre owners demanded a rollback of this plan, as they feared major revenue losses to DTH service providers. Threatened by a complete exhibitor boycott of Vishwaroopam, Haasan agreed to release the film first in theatres.[134] Later, Muslim civic organisations in Tamil Nadu demanded the ban of the film and claimed, that the film was defamatory to Islamic ethos and would hurt Muslim sentiments.[135] Although the film was cleared by Central Board of Film Certification of India, District collectors in the state of Tamil Nadu gave orders to the theatre owners to not show Vishwaroopam, citing Law and order problems, however the film released in other states with greater Muslim populations than in Tamil Nadu.[136] The ban in Tamil Nadu triggered also the stop of screenings in neighbouring Indian states and foreign markets.[137]

Bollywood Director, Mahesh Bhatt, condemned the actions instructed by Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalitha as a critical attack on freedom of speech in India,[138] but she denied all allegations against her regarding political and business interests.[139] After persistent pressure to cut objectionable scenes, Kamal Haasan said, he could be forced to leave the state of Tamil Nadu and India, because he was "fed up at being played around in a dirty political game".[140] He estimated the notional loss of revenue, due to banning policies, at almost INR 600 million.[141] A mutual agreement with all 24 Muslim civic organisations was finally settled on 2 February 2013, when Haasan accepted to mute five scenes.[142]

Box office[edit]

India[edit]

On its opening day of release in Tamil Nadu, 7 February 2013, Vishwaroopam grossed INR58.1 million (US$980,000) at the box office.[143] The film accounted for 90% of the takings in Chennai box office on its opening weekend grossing INR30.6 million (US$510,000),[144] 89% on its second weekend,[145] 78% on its third weekend,[146] 38% on its fourth weekend,[147] 28% on its fifth weekend[148] and 2.1% on its sixth weekend.[149] The film grossed almost INR120 million (US$2.0 million) after eight weekends in Chennai box office.[150]

Despite the controversy, the Hindi version of the film did well at the box office[151] with 45% opening[152] and netting INR 223.0 million in 10 days, and a life time business of INR 290 million.[153][154][155] The movie completed 100-day run in Tamil Nadu and 50 days in Bangalore city.

Overseas[edit]

The film suffered from piracy due to release in Canada and the UK while remaining banned in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Singapore, major markets for Tamil films.

In Malaysia, the film grossed US$325,871 after three weekends.[156] The distributor refunded up to $1 million of advances to 65 exhibitors due to abrupt cancellation of shows.[157]

In the UK and Ireland, the film grossed £308,350 from 20 screens after five weekends.[158]

In the USA, the Tamil version grossed $1,039,994 from 44 screens after eight weekends[159] while the Telugu version grossed $200,293 after seven weekends from 21 screens.[160]

Awards[edit]

Award Ceremony Category Nominee(s) Outcome
National Film Awards 60th National Film Awards[161] Best Production Design Boontawee 'Thor' Taweepasas & Lalgudi N. Ilayaraja Won
Best Choreography Birju Maharaj Won

Sequel[edit]

Kamal Haasan and Atul Tiwari mentioned that the sequel Vishwaroopam 2 was already planned and more sequences had already been shot featuring Andrea Jeremiah in a more prominent role.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'Deccan decided that the price as well as the terms of payment was not acceptable' | Mail Online
  2. ^ Vishwaroopam review – Telugu/Tamil cinema – Kamal Hassan
  3. ^ What’s common between Paradesi, Vishwaroopam, Naan Ee and Vazhakku Enn?, PVP Cinemas, National Awa
  4. ^ "Viswaroopam releasing worldwide except TN!". Times of India. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
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  147. ^ Vishwaroopam takes 28% share of Chennai box office on its fourth weekend
  148. ^ Vishwaroopam takes 28% share of Chennai box office on its fifth weekend
  149. ^ Vishwaroopam takes 2.1% share of Chennai box office on its sixth weekend
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External links[edit]