Kamal Haasan falls prey to the same folly that many big stars have fallen for – creating a project all by himself. He was successful the first time round but clearly needed help this time. He probably had a grand vision in his mind, a mega budget thriller-drama that would be a worthy follow up to the first part. The problem with being a director, writer and actor all rolled into one is there is little creative challenge. Who is to tell the boss that the story does not really make sense and he needs to be careful how the film is cut. The result is a film that is choppy and sometimes flabbergasting.
RAW Agent Major Wisam Ahmad Kashmiri (Kamal Haasan) is pursuing the Al-Qaeda terrorist Omar Qureshi (Rahul Bose). He is accompanied by his wife Nirupama (Pooja Kumar) and fellow agent Ashmita Subramaniam (Andrea Jeremiah). In between fighting assassins and verbose banter, Wisam time and again gets lost in the past. Mind you, this happens at the most inopportune moments like right after an attack on their life in which they have already lost one of their colleagues. It is a guess but I think Kamal Haasan wanted to style the film as a thriller where you need to peel away layers to learn the full story. The way it is written, this film feels like parts are created and strewn around carelessly while we scratch our heads trying to figure out how they all come together. The film relies heavily on the previous Vishwaroopam and for a person not familiar with the first part, there are major continuity gaps.
Performance wise, Kamal Haasan is solid but it is hard to ignore that the film was written for a much younger man. Kamal has a tired look throughout the film. Pooja Kumar provides able support. Andrea Jeremiah goes way over the top and is an unlikely intelligence officer. She behaves more like a college girl. Rahul Bose disappoints. He has a small part written for him in this sequel. Most of his screen time is from the previous part. Despite his make-up and voice modulation, he is not menacing. Waheeda Rehman is a treat to watch. She still has the acting chops, showing just the right amount of restraint in a role where it was easy to go over the top.
All in all Vishwaroopam could have been a fairly interesting thriller had it not been so indulgent. The fights, the action, the freeze frame get repetitive. What is missing is a slow unfolding of the story that would keep us curious and wanting for more. A disappointing sequel.