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It has been really painful to witness death of family members of a couple of my dear friends in the recent past. The lamentation and the grief that the families went through were shocking to say the least.

But more than the grief that these families experienced, I was shocked to see the behavior of some people after the news was conveyed to them. Many people enquired about the address of the affected person and conveyed that they wanted to visit and would join with me to convey their condolences the same day. But, when we finally started to the friend’s home, we found that most of them had dropped out. Considering the fact that some people really get disturbed on seeing the family in grief and are advised medically to not attend these events and giving the benefit of doubt to some others who are really busy and are unable to attend, still it is shocking to find that many people who expressed willingness to attend dropped off. But when I asked some of these persons the reasons, their answers were “ the place is very far from my house”, ”I shall try to combine this with another friend’s place that I would be visiting in a few days”, “ I did not feel the need to go to”.

 

It is really shocking to see that human life and values have gone this cheap in this mechanized world. I have witnessed in a lot of these bereavements, the comfort the family of the deceased obtain when they have a shoulder to cry upon. I do not expect these people to change their ways and empathize with the affected, but at least they could avoid lame reasons for not sharing the sorrow of the affected.

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Thoughts on Indian Cricket

            In a country where cricket is considered a religion, it is essential for my post to include one on the game, especially considering the recent exploits by the Indian cricket team. The Indian cricket team played admirably to beat the Aussies and continued its good run by thrashing the English team. There have been eulogies all over terming the Indian cricket team as world champions. Let us analyze whether we truly deserve these accolades.

 

The last year or so has seen us winning the T20 world cup, the one day series in Australia, the recent test series against Australia and now the one day series against England. If you find the common factor in most of these triumphs, it has been the strong opening batting of Sehwag and Gambhir, the lethal opening spells from Ishant and Zaheer, captaincy from Dhoni (not to forget his batting) and occasional exploits from almost every member of the squad.

 

But, regardless of all this, I feel that the Indian bench strength has not yet been thoroughly tested and even the top performers of the last year have not faced challenging tours abroad in testing conditions, especially in say, New Zealand or South Africa. The retirement of Ganguly and the likely exit of the other members of the Fab 4 is likely to pose severe challenges to youngsters, who would be expected to fill in the shoes of these maestros. Where are the bowlers to step in, when we have an injury or a slump in form to either Zaheer or Ishant? Please do not tell that we have RP (consistently inconsistent), Munaf (poor attitude, he would be No 11 in a team of Number 11s) or SreeSanth (sits out more matches than he plays and whenever he plays, he is more renowned for his histrionics. I wonder how he appears correctly whenever we win a major tournament). How the Indian batting fares when the openers get out early and when say, Dhoni gets injured, would determine whether we are truly a team of world beaters. Dhoni’s batting in test matches abroad leaves a lot to be desired, though I should say, I am a fan of his composure and approach to the game.

 

Australia was pronounced as world champions after consistently winning test and one day matches all over the world. We are yet to win a test series against many countries on their home turf. But, recent performances indicate that we are progressing on the right track. It is time for us to introspect and give the youngsters a fair run and opportunity to excel rather than meaninglessly allowing Sachin to play his 419th one day international and hampering the chance for a youngster, in a series already won by India against England. It is time for us to plan pro actively like a world champion before becoming one.

 

World Economy

I am sharing some thoughts on various topics, which have been drawing my attention, in recent times. Please feel free to share your comments.

 

 One of the topics that find a mention in every communication media and informal chats everywhere is the recession in the global economy and its impacts in India. Though I am neither a Paul Krugman nor an Amartya Sen to comment on this topic, the very talk of recession being applied in the Indian context, when in fact the economy is growing at a healthy rate of 7-8%, is indeed a pessimistic view. Let us reserve the discussion about whether the numbers captured are accurate to a later post. Though the percentage growth in net profits has fallen, the growth by value of India Inc is higher over the previous year.

 

There is no doubt that the Indian economy is closely coupled to the events happening across the globe (mainly the US) and the repercussions in India are already seen in the decreased industrial productivity numbers and the decline in net profit growth rate over the previous year. But, the fact that the Indian banks are relatively free of risk based assets, compared to their global peers, is indeed heartening. Also, the RBI has been taking measures to increase the liquidity of banks and hence the loans given to industry. These steps could drive the interest rates lower, spur companies to invest for expansion in order to meet anticipated increased demand. But, the real dampener is that it takes time for the interest rate cuts to be reflected in the loans that Corporate take. So, many Corporate already facing a liquidity crunch could resort to job cuts and increase short term profits. This move could be counter productive and result in slackened demand, which could amplify the slowdown in growth. So, the Indian Corporate should look at various options to stimulate growth rather than taking the easier route of job cuts as a first measure.

 

 

 

In an era where social networking rules every day and every moment of our lives, where virtual contacts take precedence over the real ones, a life which we seemingly assume exists for eternity – What if out of the blue, you are told that eternity is indeed an illusion and that you might not even have sufficient time to bid people good bye. Uthama Villain explores this theme and much more and has an indelible impact long after we leave the screens.

Kamal Haasan plays the role of Manoranjan, a matinee idol revered by his umpteen fans. Aided by his influential financier father-in-law, he reaps the benefits of commercial cinema, only to be jolted by a life threatening crisis (brain tumor), which urges him to introspect and leave behind a legacy. As with success, even disaster hunts in pairs- Manoranjan gets to know from Zakaria (played by Jayaram) that he has a daughter Manonmani through his lover Yamini, who was unfortunately left in the lurch years ago, courtesy his father in law’s deceit. When you lose your way, who better to reach out than your mentor?

And who better than his also real life mentor K Balachander, who plays the role of the aptly coined ‘Marghadharisi’. The scene where KB misconstrues Kamal’s real life story for reel has been deftly handled. The same scene mocks how scripts are written on the fly and also takes a dig at how cancer has been beaten to death in cinema, long before the audience get to do so for this film. They decide to make a comedy movie called ‘Uthama Villain’ (Not only is the irony in the title, but also in making a comedy movie, which dates some centuries back, as Manoranjan’s last creation). As Marghadharisi narrates to the heroine Pooja Kumar, he very deftly explains to the audience what to expect in the movie within the movie (I shall term them as ‘Uthaman portions’ henceforth)- “Villu Paattu kathai sollum, Thaiyyam kalam sellum’’; True to his statement, we see Villu Pattu sequences narrating the story of Uthaman, a Thaiyyam artist who repeatedly escapes death and is believed to have attained the power of immortality. The soon to be dead artist playing an immortal artist- Irony continues.

The movie cuts back and forth between the Manoranjan and Uthaman sequences, but with real purpose. Uthaman escapes death after being pushed in water and we cut to witness Manoranjan bleeding profusely as he plays the role. How artists indeed depict roles that are in total contrast to what they experience in real life?

As the timid Uthaman character develops love towards the seemingly mad princess Karpagavalli played by Pooja Kumar, we cut to Manoranjan portions showing how he opens up to his family about his health crisis. As the thought of his inevitable death haunts them, we cut back to Uthaman portions which depict him singing the curse of immortality ‘Saagavaram Pol Sogam Undaa?’- Irony continues. After an emotional moment with his wife played brilliantly by Oorvasi, Manoranjan also reveals his affection for his doctored lover (lover doctor?), played by Andrea. We cut back to the Uthaman portion where we have a similar triangular love story -Uthaman, Karpagavalli and Mutharasan, the king played by Nasser. Uthaman wins the trust of the people around him, like how Manoranjan did.

The best part is yet to come- Manoranjan can never die peacefully till he is accepted by his daughter Manonmani; The moment it happens, it marks the completion of transformation of ‘Manoranjan, the Villain’ to ‘Uthaman, the hero’. To illustrate it further, we have the dialog panning out ‘En Uthirathin Vithai En Uyir valartha Sathai’ as Manonmani accepts Manoranjan as her dad, and we cut to a similar conflicting father child story in ‘Iraniyan and Prahaladhan’.

As they agree to make Uthama Villain, Manoranjan and Marghadharisi do not have a readily available script, the time was in fact running out. I assume that to address this, Manorajan takes inspiration from his personal story- The characters in the present day portions do not map exactly with the Uthaman portions, but their character sketches definitely draw a parallel. And what better way to summarize it than the climax- The soon to be mortal Manoranjan becomes immortal through art after playing the role of Uthaman, who was seemingly immortal to start with and transformed himself to the mortal king. The whole story is in fact how the Villain Manoranjan becomes a Uthaman in real life as he progresses playing his role.

This review would be incomplete if I fail to mention this gem of a scene- Manoranjan explaining his son Manohar about his imminent death. Manohar angry at his dad because of his rift with him mom Oorvasi throws the cricket ball hard at his dad. As his dad explains his medical condition, Manohar quickly reconciles and even volunteers to gather the ball for his dad. Death reconciles people, isn’t it?  When Manoranjan enquires his son about his dream and his plans for life, the son politely asks him why he was doing so now. The dad replies he wanted to always, but never did so. That moment makes us really think -What a great leveler death is ? How we assume everyone and everything would stay with us, only to be proved on the contrary. And in that moment, comes out the lovely truth that despite his aversion, the son’s dream was to write a great script for his dad. The scene also depicts a few fans peeping over thinking it is some movie scene and remarking that Manoranjan would get an award for this- If you cannot cry seeing this scene, I doubt you would ever so.

Ghibran’s soul stirring music is as important as the screenplay. The Thaiyyam number, Saagavaram, Kaadhalaam Kadavul Munn and the folklore stories are an absolute treat to watch, and so are the background scores for Uthaman-Karpagavalli romantic scenes, Yamini letters, Guru-Sishya, Father-Son/daughter.

Uthama Villain indeed has its own set of flaws- the less engaging screenplay on occasions (First half party scene, talk show scene, second half Kamal Haasan-Pooja Kumar love sequences and some repetitive comedy); The VFX reveals itself on occasions; The sharp dialogs with amazing word play can be savored only if your Tamil language skills are good, which isn’t definitely an unfair expectation. Intense movies like this definitely take time to grow on you; The first time I watched, I was looking for a seemingly familiar format, and the randomness made me slightly disappointed. Only to realize, so is life. The movie made a huge impact on watching again; It was unfair of me to expect a movie depicting ‘a life cut short’ to be cut short to make a racy script.

Apart from narrating his artistic ambition of living beyond his life and creating a legacy, Kamal Haasan also succeeds in narrating how the ones whom we hold dear are all it matters over other commercial pursuits. Uthama Villain narrates that death is not one to be feared; Rather than living a life of death (monotony), it is better to find life in death, Let us celebrate death by leaving a lasting legacy!

Nuances in Vishwaroopam

Now, it can be safe to assume that almost all would have seen Vishwaroopam. Alongside critical technical acclaim, it has grossed numbers that other film makers could only dream of.  To gross such figures, a movie needs to be commercial so that it could reach all segments. Is Vishwaroopam really a commercial movie?  At first glance, many would say “Yes”. But that’s where the smart and suave Kamal Haasan  has handled it with dexterity. In essence, the actual backbone of the movie is the Afghan frames. But having it for the whole length of 2.5 hrs with a huge overdose of subtitles would have been a risky proposition, though it would have been a real treat for the purists. That’s where the Kathak dancer and the RAW agent Kamal make it a really engrossing movie for all classes.

Despite this, the movie has an enormous number of nuances which makes it a really classy movie.  You can easily understand and appreciate Vishwaroopam even in your first watch. But similar to how the beauty of a peak can be experienced in its entirely only when you reach the summit, the brilliance of Vishwaroopam can be felt when you uncover the sublimely stated content. Most of the scenes have an underlying thought or aspect which could be noticed only if you relate the various scenes and dialogues.  I have herewith consolidated a whole list of nuances observed by me and my friends.  After reading this, I know for sure you would be tempted to revisit the movie again (like how it happens with all Kamal Haasan movies).

Theme based Nuances

1)      Kamal Haasan mentioned in an interview that the one liner of this story was an inspiration from Virata Parva of the Mahabharata. If we try to relate it now, in fact, Wisam’s character is a mix of the mythological Arjuna (who, transforming into a eunuch in Virata’s Kingdom, is an acclaimed dance-exponent) and Bhima (who is a great cook, and so is Wiz in this film). His uncle/boss Shekhar Kapoor is like a mentor, much like Krishna to Arjuna. And, Mr. Kapoor is aptly named Jagannath (another name by which Lord Krishna is known)!

2)      If we observe the movie carefully, it has a very subtle take on Money Laundering

  • In the scene before Taufeeq introduction, we can see Opium plants (they are not rose plants). Taufeeq says he is a farmer and hands over ‘abin’ as gift to Wisam. The safe inference is that drug peddling is one of the main source of funds for Jihadi operations. Afghanistan is one of the biggest illicit producer of Opium, which previously played a major part in the funding of Taliban
  • This money finds its way through banking system of less monitored countries like Nigeria, Yemen and the currency is routed to countries like US  outside the banking system – One example is the Deep Research Oncology accounts, many of the accounts are imaginary customer names (not actual customers who buy equipments)- So fake orders are created and the drug money is routed to US; This is apparent in the scene where Deepak hides the money in the safe and remarks that the US banking system does not believe his customers

3)      Pigeons in Title scene: At the end of the titles, the pigeon left by the old man ravels to Bull (Financial heartland), then to wall street buildings and then reaches the place where Nirupama meets the psychiatrist (observe the window pane), in a way this connects the aspects the story deals with-  Al Queda/Taliban, financial control (oil and assets) and Nirupama

In the same scene, if we observe carefully, a pellet is tied to the pigeon’s legs. So the radiation exposure through pigeon has even been exposed in the first scene itself.

4)     First dialogue of The Godfather – I:  ” I believe in America; America has given me fortune”;  First dialogue of Vishwaroopam:  ” I believe in America; Inga dhan enakku vimojanam nu thonithu”;

Indicates the deep within love of the writer Mr Kamal Haasan for Godfather

Nuances relating to Vish (Kathak dancer sequences)

1)      When Nirupama meets the psychologist in the first scene, she asks “Please talk me about phd” and she says “Ur phd”- This indirectly conveys that Vish also might have got a phd (or they think so)!

2)      The name Vis: Nirupama calls Vishwanath as “Vis” and says that everyone calls so and hence she also calls him so assuming it to be short form of Vishwanath, But in fact, it is actually the  short form of Wisam; The name Vishwanath has been intentionally chosen by Wisam so that even if people call him by his abbreviated real name, still he would not be in trouble.

3)      Effeminate: In the whole Kathak dancer Kamal scenes, his effeminate quality is brought out better through the following dialogues.

  • When he picks the phone, he always says “”Mrs. and Mr. Vishwanath’s residence”.
  • As an extension of that, while cooking meat he says: “Manavaatiye Manaalan-in baagyam” as opposed to the traditional “Manaalane Mangayin Baagyam”
  • Also, when Deepak says to Nirupama “Athaan daily saapudaraye avar samayala”, it clearly shows that Nirupama exploits him for being effeminate by making him cook every day, abstaining from sex etc. This further substantiates the “It was a marriage of convenience” statement further!

4)      In the “Unnai Kaanathu song”, there are 2 shots – one from other side of glass and the other some distance away- In both the cases, the audio’s volume would reduce, such a brilliant practical take!  During the line ‘Vidhai illaamal Vaer illaye’, Vish imitates DNA structure with his fingers.

In Unnai Kanadhu song, when the line “Unnai kaanamal” comes 4 times continuously before the first pallavi, Vish is shown as imitating removing his ornaments – necklace and bangles.This one actually indicates பசலை நோய் (தலைவனை காணாது உடல் இளைத்தல்), the reference of bangles loosened and removed indicates the separation. This reference can be found in most of our ancient literature which talks about தலைவனை பிரிந்து வாடும் தலைவி. Also, in certain ideologies of Vaishnavam, Its assumed that Krishna/Vishnu is the ONLY Male and ALL the devotees are female. So we can take that meaning too! This kind of meaning is present in many ஆழ்வார் பாசுரம்.

In the scene after Unai Kaanathu, Vish hears the phone call and hence asks them to avoid falling on this feet as he rushes away, but while he picks the call and talks, they still somehow manage to find his feet and touch the same with great difficulty, he gestures 2 girls not to touch but they do and even then the 3rd one still falls on this feet, nice detailing!

5)      Statue: In Wiz/Vishwanaths residence we can see a black two sided statue, with one side as king and the other side as queen. In the kathak sequence, the statue is placed against the mirror showing both sides of the statue in the same frame. It represents the role of Wiz in the movie- with double identities (Effeminate dancer and as the RAW agent).  When the male and female are together, it indicates that they are holding a secret. In the second half first sequence, where Kamal’s identity is revealed,  the combination is split indicating that he is no longer effeminate.

6)     Winter Season: The season shown in the movie is Winter, with all scenes  co relating it- Be it snow in window pane of Vish, the girls after practice putting on their jerkins/coats; in the same scene, Vish asks them to close the door when leaving and not give him pneumonia as a guru datshanai, Vish comes freezing inside the home when Deepak is inside , All characters wear winter clothings, the warehouse patients ask Farooq and team to close the door when Vish and Niru are dragged inside. I could not find even one scene where the attire did not resonate with the season!

7)      In the Obama Democratic National Convention speech video, Obama says “Taliban’s momentum has been broken” indicating Osama’ death. In the bottom of the screen, you can see a news flash saying “Petroleum prices increased by 3%”. Fantastic satire.

8)      Dinner sequence nuances:

  • In the initial dinner scene where Colonel Jag comes, Asmita asks Vish “ Nirupama dinnerku varamattaanu Akashvani sollicha?”  and Vish says “Exactly”, this indicates that they might have used radio technology for bugging Nirupama’s office;
  • Most objects in Vish house have a concept relating to a tree or branch – Observe the stands near to the phone, observe the sequence when Niru comes in late in the night, you can see the objects. Also, a pink bag is seen hanging in the stand when the students leave the home after the class; Later in the dinner scene, when Asmita and Dawkins elave, they are found placing the jacket next to the pink bag, brilliant attention to details
  • In the same sequence, the MI6 agent Dawkins says “Hope it doesn’t turn out to be a wet job tomorrow”. In secret service (CIA/MI6/KGB) terms, wet job means murder or assassination. Infact when the next day starts, its infact wet and they have  a job in hand to be accomplished! Amazed!!! As Dawkins leaves with Ashmita, he looks at Wiz and says: “Goodnight Cuckold“. The word means ‘the husband of an adulteress, often regarded as an object of derision.’ It’s another allusion to the fact that everyone has figured out that Niru is cheating on Wiz.
  • Infact, the MI6 agent Dawkins might be Kamal Haasan’s tribute to Richard Dawkins, a prominent biologist and author who is highly regarded by rationalists

9)    Opening Scene isn’t a flashback, it leads to the future: The brilliance of Kamal Haasan’s script can be understood in this opening scene where Niru talks about her marriage to the psychiatrist. Within this, there are 2 sub scenes

  • A scene in Deep oncology research where Deepak tries to block Niru and talks something. This is when Nirupama tells about Deepak to the psychiatrist.
  • A scene in the downtown where Peter is talking in phone to Niru that he is going to follow Wiz. This happens when Niru talks about her plan to hire a detective on Wiz

Both the above mentioned scenes might look like flashbacks of incidents that already happened. But if you observe closely, you can see that they are scenes that happen after Nirupama’s conversation with the psychiatrist. Co relate the scenes and dialogues and you would understand. The scene with Deepak is the one that happens before Deepak asks Niru out for dinner. They are wearing the same clothes.  The call that Peter makes to Nirupama is after seeing Wiz heading somewhere (post his meeting on the street with Jag, Dawkins and Ashmita). Peter is wearing the same clothes when he is shown for the first time and Nirupama is also wearing the same red color night dress. We know that Wiz’s dance class is sometime in the evening. But it seems that he might have be having a morning batch as well. After the morning dance class is when he goes to the mosque.  Here is the actual flow of events

  • Nirupama sneaks into bed late night. At that time, she is not shown as wearing the overcoat for her night suit.
  • She wakes up in the morning (not shown). When Peter starts to follow Wiz, he is shown as taking his cellphone and making a call. The conversation is not shown. It is clear that the conversation that he had is the one that is shown during Niru’s discussion with the psychiatrist. If you recollect from that Niru-Psychiatrist scene, you will see that when Niru attends Peter’s call, she still does not have the overcoat on and is attending the call sitting in the bed.
  • Wiz walks into the mosque.
  • A shocked Peter makes a calls to Nirupama. Now she is seen coming downstairs (recollect Niru going upstairs to the bedroom?) with her overcoat on to start the proceedings for the day.
  • From the timeline and also Dawkins’ action of reading a newspaper, it is evident that it is a morning. And from Peter’s statement “class mudinju” indicates that Wiz had a morning batch too.

10) We can see detective Peter’s visiting card lying next to the monitor in which Omar see’s Wisam’s photo. The card was last seen by Omar only.

11)  In the scene where they are taken to the warehouse, Farooq asks Niru wat her husband’s real name is for which she replies Farooq. This is because in the previous scene, Deepak asks her why she sent her detective to Farooq’s place. Though Niru does not know Farooq earlier, this is a good example of instant recollection of names based on what we hear some time before!

12)  Brood from the past: In the warehouse and the scene before, when asked for his name, Wisam quotes his name as “Taufeeq” and “Nasser”, these are the names from his dark past and for whose death he feels he is responsible for and the guilt has profoundly impacted Wisam that he recollects their name instantly.

In the scene where Niru talks to Deepak seeing detective Peter’s death news in television, she starts telling “My husband is” but Deepak interrupts and only after he comes to her home, she continues that convo telling her husband is a Muslim!

13)  Transformation Scene nuances: The whole transformation scene (first action sequence) of Vish has been pictured between the moment two water drops fall from the wall. Nirupama is in a state of shock when she sees it all happening in a moment but then recollects all events transpiring between the fall of two water drops.

The water drops are shown at the start of this sequence, they are shown when they fall in Farooq’s eyes and even in the end of this sequence when all are dead, we could just hear a water drop fall (shows the tranquility of the place after all are dead)!)

14)  Before the transformation scene, Vish wears a yellow top and suddenly you see him wearing a checked shirt with the yellow top in tatters and he falls down to the floor. It implies that Farooq and other guys have keep beating him and his yellow top is torn; Quick and crisply shot!

15)  Farooq is hurt in the knuckles by Wisam’s teeth when he tries to hit him on his face. This is the reason why Farooq is not able to hold the gun properly and get a clean shot at Vish when he transforms and attacks Farooq’s men.

Salim tells Farooq to shoot Wisam in his legs. He also instructs Farooq to kill Deepak “Illai illai…mudikka sollittaaru”. At this point Deepak asks “naan polaamdhane?” for which Farooq smiles. We don’t hear what Salim says but it is apparent that he instructs Farooq to shoot Deepak, as he ends the call with “kaal-la illai…thalaila”. I bet many of you would have missed this last line;

Also, in an earlier scene, Salim asks Omar if Deepak can go for which Omar replies yes. But Salim misses conveying this information to Farooq and in the meanwhile, things turn crazy and they feel the need for eliminating Deepak!

16)  And just like how Wizam says “ketta kudiye kedum”, Farooq whose hand is already injured, gets his hand chopped off as well. A co relation that I bet is so easy to miss!

Similarly, While Niru tries to call the cops and Deep avoids it calling her a fool, Deep says avangale varattum, Later he tells “Nalla kaalam Illai, thank god”, so symbolic of what is going to happen to him as its not good time for him and hes going to die in the next scene! Superb!

17)  In the scene where Vish tells Nirupama to hear 2 gunshots and count to ten after taking the car, she infact starts counting 1, 2 for two gun shots and continues counting from 3 instead and hearing repeated gunshots counts faster too, A panic mind so realistically captured!

18) After Farooq hits peter we hear a long foghorn, so the warehouse must be near the sea. When wizam shows the location of warehouse to Tom (FBI), we find that in the map, it is actually near the sea

Nuances relating to Afghan Scenes

1)      Wisam Intro Scene: Not sure how many could read through the paper ad in Wisam’s introduction scene. It reads

“Border of Indian Nationals in kashmir; Conspiracy to murder Indian nationals outside India; Attack on a Kashmir Government Office”; Also in Nationality, it shows “Indian?”- a satire on how the nationality is in question for people living in Kashmir

2)      In the scene where Wisam, Omar and Salim travel to Afghanistan, its shown very clearly that the flag transitions from Pakistan to Afghanistan flag clearly indicating the infiltration mode (even for people who missed reading the name of the places at the bottom and the dialogue that Nasser says over the move in to Afghanistan); A shot of both the flags in shown then indicating clearly its the border

3)      Dr Clara: In the scene where Dr Clara arrives to treat Mrs Omar, we find the wordings “Medisin sans frontiers’. Translated into English, this French word means, “Doctors without borders”.

4)      Weapons Over Love: This is another little gem of a scene:  Omar tests a blindfolded Nasser about various weaponry. The moment Omar hears about the NATO strikes, he along with Salim leave the place not bothering to remove the blindfold.

It’s Khadija, Omar’s wife, who comes along and removes the blindfold. It illustrates the difference in perspectives of the father and the mother of Nasser

 5)      In the scene where the young Jihaadi Mamoo is first introduced to Wisam as a young Jihaadi, he bangs at Wisam while Wisam expecting a gentle embrace! Shows a subtle difference in styles, cultures and between old and young practitioners!

Also, in the scene where they take group photos with Nasser, Nasser is seen talking to Mamoo; It shows how Mamoo is preached to be a Jihaadi by the top guys!

6)      Ban Entertainment: If you observe in the Afghan portion in the scene where small children are seated near guns in the shop and they weigh bullets, youu can find a very old film poster- this shows very clearly how entertainment is banned here and how they are miles away from whats happening in real world as far as entertainment (and even in all things) is concerned- the same thought was shown in the scene where the boys are punished for dressing up as girls and dancing

7)      Swing & Swaying: There is a scene shown where Wisam tries to push the Swing for Omar’s small son, who says “I am not a child” and walks away from the swing, But the older Mammu sits and asks Wisam to push the swing. This indicates the contrast of the characters. While the younger boy is more mature, has his own interest and does not want to be swayed by others, the older Mammu wishes to be swayed by others and not surprising ends as a suicide bomber; In the same scene, light flashes on his face but his eyes are closed (conveying that he doesnt wish light in his life!)

8)      In the “Thuppakki engal tholile” song, when they shoot at Bush’s photo, first the team members shoot. Then Omar shoots Bush’s right eye. When Wisam shoots, he raises the gun a little higher than Omar and shoots Bush’s left eye. In the pic you can see Bush’s left eye at a slightly higher elevation. Ultimate perfection!!

9)      In the scene where the innocent Afghan people are killed and Anu Vidhaitha Boomiyile song starts, if u notice clearly, on left of frame, you would find a Mickey mouse article; Mickey is a pride of the Western Branding, but also shows there might be an American or European casualty inside and it is indeed true as we find the French doctor Clara found dead.

10) Another way of looking at the scene where the doctor Clara is dead . In the same scene, we find a young boy dead and Wisam removes the gun from his hand. Next, he is seen attending to the doctor Clara. While everyone around is badly bruised and experiences the debris from the bombings, the doctor just has a shot in her temple!!   Any alarm bells ringing for you –  Ya, the young boy could have indeed shot the doctor as a retaliation for someone in his family being killed !!

11)  One more scene where the info is quick to grasp- the NATO bombing scene by the suicide bomber Mamoo;  A paper shown in that frame states that the NATO base is a hub for counter terrorism and intelligence operations and  among the dead was the agency’s base chief

12) Symbolism:  In the scene where Taufeeq is introduced to Wisam, Omar talks about Taufeeq to Wisam and tells Taufeeq is very useful. While saying that, Omar eats something and throws the tissue away symbolically indicating that Taufeeq could be used for their benefit.

13)  In the scene where Osama appears, Wisam in anticipation of seeing Osama appear from underneath goes back (since he is shorter than Salim) but the sight of the hugely tall Osama appearing makes Kamal retract and come forward, such a beautiful scene and the nuance is well captured!!!!

14)  Imtiaz: If we observe carefully, Imtiaz- the other guy who helps Wisam in Afghan sequences actually appears in most of the Afghan sequences. He is present even in the first Afghan scene where they take a photo near the horse; He prays along with Omar and team, he is even taken to the Osama hideout place but stopped near the entrance. He is also the one who is driving the car that takes an injured Omar at the end of the first half.

15)  Munnavar: The guy who is supposed to collect parcel from the antique shop Munnavar is even shown in the scene where Osama comes;  Infact this is the scene which exposes the key strategic guys of Al Queda- Munnavar, Osama, the ISI guy who assists and a Mullah Omar look alike; Munnavar is gonna collect the parcel from antique shop, so Munnavar has got to do a lot with strategizing and disbursing the content in parcel based on the need, which place is gonna be attacked, where and whom it needs to go etc! So there’s more to the parcel than what meets the eye!

16) Osama- The real Target: And coming to the golden goose, Not sure how many understood that the whole effort was to catch Osama bin Laden!  Prior to the day of Taufeeq’s arrival, Omar tells Wisam that a tall Sheikh is coming, it is very obvious that through the tracker, the attempt is to reveal Osama; It is substantiated when Wisam is seen enquiring about Osama all the time, how he would escape, who would take care of him etc, Smart direction at its zenith!

 

Nuances relating to US Raw Agent Scenes

1)      Contrasting perspectives within RAW: Vish, Asmita and Jags work for the same mission

But in the dinner ending scene when Obama talks about Osama, Asmita takes the side of Americans while Both Vish and Jag take a sightly pro Afghan stand (Vish-” Ipdiyaa peethikarathu, manushanga saava ipdiyaa deepavali aatam kondaadarathu”),  Jag (obama ratings a etha vendaama, athu asarangaloda annan thambi pondaati pillai kitta kelu)  while Asmita says “nambalukku enna kavalai”

Even though they are in the same mission, they have different perspectives on whey they approach the task!  The reason could be that Jags and Vish were part of this operation since the start while Asmita might have been roped in recently, this also shows the grounded balanced perspective that Wisam and Jags have over Asmita!

2)      The Nigerian terrorist Abbasi is seen shaving his public hair

Underlying Thought: Muslims purify corpses by washing the skin and nails and sometimes by shaving the pubic hair. But suicide attackers are deprived of a proper burial, since there are usually no remains. To compensate, the attackers shear themselves ahead of time, both to guarantee some level of cleanliness at the time of instant incineration and to prove extreme devotion to personal purity. An alternate explanation is that suicide terrorists adopted the no-hair practice from the Pashtun tribesmen of Afghanistan, who shave their bodies before going into battle. Hair removal is mentioned in Islamic law as a method of maintaining personal hygiene.

3)      Explaining Faraday Shield: Not many understood the Faraday shield concept in the climax;  The dirty bomb could be detonated directly or through a call made to the phone placed in the device. Nirupama fears that someone could activate the device by placing a call hearing the gun shots. In essence, Omar tries to activate the device even when within a plane. A simplest Faraday shield would be a microwave oven. A microwave needs to be powered on only for heating the food inside by emitting microwave. The shield around the microwave prevents that emission from affecting you. This shield is just a metal shield and does not work on power. It just prevents radiations. That’s why when Omar calls, he gets a number not reachable message indicating that the Faraday shield has indeed worked
4)      Wisam is airlifted by the army once he is shot by Omar (would be shown in detail in part 2, a preview was shown at end of part 1). Prior to that, you can see Wisam running with flares, which is to indicate his location to the helicopter.

5)      Before boarding the private jet, Salim is shown asking the flight attendant (no dialogues here…but he points to his mobile) if he can use his mobile phone from within the aircraft. This is obviously to detonate the dirty bomb if needed

6)      Attention to Details: The number that Omar dials to detonate the dirty bomb starts with “201” which indicates an area code within NY. When Salim opens his purse to take out money to pay the toll, on the left, you see a group photo with Wisam and Omar’s family. On the right, you see a New Jersey state driving license. Brilliant attention to details.

7)      A panic struck Nirupama is unable to come to grips with Vish’s transformation and seeing everyone playing a double role. She thus misinterprets the house warming fire as something burning inside the house when infact Colonel Jags is shredding confidential materials (Irundavan Kannukku arandathellaam Pei!)

Also, in the same scene, Niru packing her bag is shown!  Everyone would expect her character to change suddenly. But, as a woman and a home maker, she focuses on packing her clothes even in this situation.

8)      When Wisam, Nirupama, Jag and Ashmita are about to enter the basement, you can see a photo of Vaamana avatar on the side wall. Vaamana is the Vishnu Avatar who was known for Vishwaroopam in mythology

9)      Video Surveillance: In the scene where Vish is led to the lab, Niru says to left and Vish tells “Ya I know”, it shows very clearly they have even video surveillance of this place and maybe even insiders too

10)  When Nirupama asks “Neenga nallavara kettavara?”, for a split second Kamal Haasan gives the Velu Nayakkar expression to the same question asked in the movie ‘Nayakan’

11)  In the first scene of people with geiger counters in the park, there is no one with guns. Later based on Wisam’s input, they shoot down some pigeons. The shooting is not shown but you can now see 2 men with guns with the team that has the geiger counters.

12) Abbasi and Fund Transfer Explanation:  I think many missed out the Nigerian terrorist Abbasi part and the funds exchange portions of it

  • In the scene where Wisam, Asmita and Niru search the computer at Deep Oncology research for customer names, they find Abbasi’s name. A huge shipment is to be delivered to him from India and seeing the amount transferred to him, its clear he is gonna explode the largest dirty bomb planned (as per an earlier scene, the apartment is not dirty bomb as per Wisam).
  • The source of funding is mentioned as Nigeria; Since no customer exists in Nigeria, Nirupama says it must be Yemen (This is because Deepak told her earlier in the first half scene when they keep the money in the safe that these money come from customers in Yemen, Middle East).

13)  And in Deep Oncology office after Wisam asks “Endha kadavul?”, when they move to another room, we can see a statue of a 4 horse chariot. I think it is Arjuna’s chariot. Rings a bell? Virata paruvam.

14)  In the climax scene, there are 2 instances where transitioning happens btween Abbasi and Omar!  First the window of Abbasi is shown with FBI targetting it and when you assume its his window, it immediately transitions to Omar’s window with Omar seeing saleem’s car arriving!  In a similar way, it transitions back from Omar and salim praying to Abbasi praying, well shot!

15)  Blood bath: The blood oozing out of Nigerian terrorist Abbasi’s body is not symbolic. It is a classic example of superior pyrotechnics used by a thinking director – just imagine someone shot a few times at various body parts, first the blood comes out and is free flowing however since he has fallen in a position where his shirt and outfit prevents free blood flow, it acts like a dam and once the quantity of blood surpasses the resistance made by the outfit, which obviously takes a few seconds, they ooze out with such flow

16) Reflections have been used brilliantly throughout the film like

  • In Unnai Kaanadu song, reflection on audio player and reflection of New York skyline including a temple like US building in the glass
  • Nirupama’s reflection in the laptop screen when she is talking to the psychiatrist
  • Reflections of the boys getting flogged in Wizam’s and Omar’s sunglasses in thupakki engal tholilae song
  • Reflection of a house being blasted on Omar’s sunglasses during war scene
  • Omar’s home on fire reflecting in his sunglasses
  • When nirupama gets in van of the NEST team, reflections of FBI people climbing upon the metal stairs
  • When Omar waits for Salim in the end, Salim’s reflection on the tv set when he arrives

17) Abbasi’s window curtain is shown open when he shaves. He doesn’t close the curtains. When Abbasi returns after buying chicken, the 2 NEST guys are seen talking about Abbasi. In the background you see Abbasi’s apartment, where the windows have the curtain open. When Wisam and Tom arrive at the scene, we see the apartment window’s reflection in the NEST van, with the curtains still open. Abbasi is later shown closing the curtain when the FBI team uses the dragonfly spycam. Fantastic continuity.

18) A lot of  the actions/props are shown atleast twice in the film. Sample illustration:

  • A burnt Mickey mouse doll in the village that NATO attacks;          Mickey mouse on Nirupama’s t-shirt which she wears during the transformation scene
  • Pigeons in Afghan;         Pigeons in NY
  • Omar imitates shooting Wisam in the head;   Later he imitates shooting his son and Salim in the head
  • Wisam is shown doing a parkour doing an early morning time or evening in the Thupaaki engal tholile song;     He does another parkour in daytime in the VR-2 trailer
  • Everyone knows well about the shooting on the head imitation by Omar. But most would have missed Salim’s shooting imitation. He first does it at the start of the training song when he, Wisam and Omar pickup heavy stones and throw it forward. He imitates shooting using a machine gun at the ground;  Any guesses on when he is shown doing it again?  He does it again at the end of the film in the VR-2 trailer when Wisam is shown doing a parkour stunt for the second time.After Wisam jumps down from the wall, you can see Salim charging in imitating the same machine gun shooting action. He is shown from the back though without revealing his face, but the same action of shooting imitation that he does earlier in the Thupaaki engal tholile song, reveals that it is Salim for sure.
  • Swing scene of Mamoo and Nasser;  After Mamoo’s death, Nasser is shown in the swing.
  • Wiz’s hands tied in the warehouse;   Wiz’s hands tied up to a chair in the VR2 trailer

 

Now if you feel that you have missed out a huge chunk of it, do not worry; Kamal Haasan films always need a repeat watch to appreciate its beauty!  You would be surprised that a seemingly commercially appearing film like Vishwaroopam has many layers to it like Hey Ram did! Have great fun watching it again!

 This article attempts to bring out the relationship between the Middle East and the US for around a century. This has been created to help understand the theme of Vishwaroopam, which we believe might touch upon this subject. Though the movie might relate to the modern times, we have touched upon the relationship from Second World War period to provide the readers with better understanding on the issue. Also, we are keeping it to only the essential points for a better reader experience.

Before Second World War:

  • The United States’ relationship with the Middle East prior to the Second World War was minimal. Moreover, in comparison to European powers such as Britain and France which had managed to colonize almost all of the Middle East region, the United States was popular and respected throughout the Middle East.
  • American missionaries had brought modern medicine and set up educational institutions all over the Middle East.
  • Moreover, the US had provided the Middle East with highly skilled petroleum engineers besides signing a few petroleum agreements. They reflected an American interest in control of Middle Eastern energy resources, especially oil and their imperative to prevent the (re)emergence of a powerful regional rival.

Post Second World War:

1945- 1960 –The period of early American Interest in Middle East

  • American, British and Soviet troops were stationed in Iran during World War II to protect Iranian oil. After the war, the Soviet troops were withdrawn only after US insistence.
  • By the end of the Second World War, the United States had begun to consider the Middle East region as ‘the most strategically important area of the world’ and became directly involved in the Middle East region. The Middle East region during this time was in turmoil undergoing great social, economic and political changes with an increased number of nationalistic political groups. This ended the European power presence there. Thus by the end of 1946, Palestine was the last remaining mandate, but it posed a major problem.
  • America opposed Soviet influence in Iran and brought Turkey into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) making it clear to the Soviet Union that the Middle East would be a cold war hot zone. America supported the state of Israel and gave recognition to it within minutes of its creation.

 Changing Relationship:

  • In 1953, the next US President, Dwight Eisenhower ordered the deposition of Mohammed Mossadegh, the popular, elected leader of the Iranian parliament and an ardent nationalist who opposed British and American influence in Iran. This coup severely tarnished America’s reputation among Iranians, who lost trust in American claims of protecting democracy.

The 1960s- Impact of Associated Wars

  • President John F Kennedy was supposedly uninvolved in the Middle East. He tried to develop a special relationship with Israel while trying to reduce the effects of his predecessors’ cold war policies regarding Arab regimes. While the friendship with Israel was solidified during his tenure, Kennedy’s abbreviated administration, while briefly inspiring the Arab public, largely failed to pacify Arab leaders.
  • During the Six Day War of 1967, Israel preempted an impending attack from Egypt, Syria and Jordan after rising tension and threat from all sides. Soviet Union tried to arrest Israel’s advances.  Egypt, Syria and Jordan attacked Israel again in 1973. After the US forces were kept in high alert for a Soviet attack, Israel accepted ceasefire
  • All these contributed to a sky rocketing oil prices in 1973, which impacted Americans greatly and also contributed to the recession a year later. America facilitated return of a few lands seized by Israel but the Palestine situation remained untouched.

Late 1970-1990 – Period of a few Highs and enormous Lows

Highs:

  • US President Jimmy Carter’s presidency was marked by both highs and lows in relationship. On the highs, Carter’s mediation led to a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Lows:

  • On the negative side, Iranian revolution happened with increased demonstrations and taking even 63 Americans hostage. There was even a failed military rescue attempt that resulted in death of eight American service men.
  • The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979 eliciting little response from America than boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. A person named Osama bin Laden helped fund training camps to resist the Soviets — an aim also shared by the United States, which also funded ground-level resistance groups.

Israel- Palestine:

  • Progress on Israel- Palestine issue stalled in the 1980s. Israel invaded Lebanon for the second time in 1982 advancing as far as capital city Beirut.  Though US President Ronald Reagan condoned the attack, Israeli backed Christian militias killed around 3000 Palestinians in refugee camps
  • In April 1983, a truck bomb demolished the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people. On Oct. 23, 1983, simultaneous bombings killed 241 American soldiers and 57 French paratroopers in their Beirut barracks. American forces withdrew shortly after. The Reagan administration faced several issues as the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite organization that became known as Hezbollah took several Americans hostage in Lebanon. Claims surfaced that the Reagan administration negotiated “arms for hostages deal” with Iran to release the hostages, with the last hostage released as late as 1991.
  • Throughout the 1980s, the Reagan Administration supported Israel’s expansion of Jewish settlements in occupied territories. The US administration also supported Saddam Hussein in the eight-year Iran-Iraq War, which ended in 1988. The administration provided logistical and intelligence support, believing, wrongly, that Saddam could destabilize the Iranian regime and defeat the Islamic Revolution.

The 1990s – Rise of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden

George H.W. Bush Administration, 1989-1993

  • After benefiting from a decade of support from the United States and receiving conflicting signals immediately before the invasion of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990. President Bush launched Operation Desert Shield, immediately deploying U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia to defend against a possible invasion by Iraq.
  • Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm when Bush shifted strategy – from “defending Saudi Arabia to repelling Iraq from Kuwait” because of the thought that Saddam would be developing nuclear weapons. A coalition of 30 nations joined American forces in a military operation that numbered more than half a million troops. After a 38-day air campaign and a 100-hour ground war, Kuwait was liberated. Bush stopped the assault short of an invasion of Iraq but established “no-fly zones” in the south and north of the country
  • In Israel and the Palestinian territories, Bush was largely ineffective and uninvolved.

Clinton Administration, 1993-2001

  • Bill Clinton mediated the 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, He was earlier involved in the Oslo Accords which called on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories. But the issue remained unresolved by 2000 prompting Clinton to convene a summit with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli leader Ehud Barak at Camp David in December 2000. The summit failed.
  • Throughout the Clinton administration, terrorist attacks orchestrated by the increasingly public Osama bin Laden punctured the 1990s’from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to the bombing of 2 US embassies in Africa that killed 224 people as well as the attach on U.S.S. Cole in Yemen in 2000. The U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia during the Iraq-Kuwait war was stated as the reason by Osama Bin Laden for the attacks.

George W. Bush Administration, 2001- 2009

  • In a videotape found weeks after the Sept. 11 2001, attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, Osama Bin Laden took responsibility for the strikes. After the attacks, U.S. President George W. Bush committed U.S. troops to a “war on terror” against the Taliban regime which had given sanctuary to Al-Queda and began a renewed hunt for Osama Bin Laden that would last nearly 10 years.
  • Bush’s expansion of the “war on terror” to Iraq in March 2003, however, had less backing. Bush saw the toppling of Saddam Hussein as the first step in a domino-like birth of democracy in the Middle East. The Iraqi government and military collapsed within three weeks of the beginning of the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq on 20 March. By the beginning of April, U.S.-led forces occupied much of Iraq. The execution of Saddam Hussein took place on Saturday December 30, 2006.
  • While Bush talked promotion of democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, he continued to support repressive, undemocratic regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and North Africa.

Presidency of Obama  & the end of Saddam and Osama

  • Osama Bin Laden evaded capture and continued to act as the leader of Al Qaeda
  • In May 2011, President Obama announced that American soldiers had killed the Al Qaeda leader after a firefight in the Pakistani compound where he had been hiding.
  • The death of Osama may further increase the U.S. public’s growing majority opposition to continued war in Afghanistan
  • While Obama ended the war in Iraq on a schedule provided to him by his predecessor, the closure of ‘ The Guantanamo Bay military prison’ did not happen. Progress on peace between Palestinians and Israelis was not made. The promised economic development of Afghanistan, beset by a war that Obama now looks set to end in 2014 with the withdrawal of the last US troops there, never took root.

JESSY

The topic of love has been captured, dissected and beaten to death in Tamil Cinema. We have seen varied types of love – love without hassles, love where parents play spoilsport, triangular love , inter caste/ inter religion love, forced love, love for reforming a person, Age disparity love, relationship disparity (Aboorva Raagangal) love, love among persons of different nationalities and what not. Even movies that deal with another theme would more often than not have a love story as part of the script. So, when I heard the story of “Vinnai Thaandi Varuvayaa” and saw the trailer, I got the feeling that this story has been told so many times – the case of a Hindu guy and a Christian girl facing opposition from parents for their marriage has been in existence for many decades. In fact, I have not seen much of the Hindu girl and Christian guy combination. Having admired the earlier works of Goutham Vasudev Menon, I was more intent in seeing how the talented director executes the trite script. The presentation of the movie has to be different and spot on in order to leave an impact. And  yes,  “Impactful” is the word which captures in essence my feelings on watching the movie. VTV is not a special movie – it does not have a different theme, any mind blowing special effects nor any star cast whom audience would throng to watch nor even very special scenes. It is a simple movie which has been presented very well and has stuck religiously to what it has tried to attempt.

The man who thoroughly deserves the first honors is none other than Goutham Menon. The presentation is indeed fresh. Executing a very familiar story and having a screenplay where the lead characters (Simbu and Trisha) appear in almost all the reels but still making it an interesting watch is indeed remarkable. There is no scope for characters that do not fit with the storyline. Even the other characters (for instance the parents of the hero and heroine) appear in only very limited frames. Such care has been taken by the director to ensure that the essence of the movie is not diluted.

By this time, most readers would be conversant with the Goutham Menon style of film making – a simple story with powerful characterization and dialogues (Who can forget the characters Anbu Chelvan, Raghavan, Maya, Aradhana, Surya). VTV continues the trend and here the characterization of Karthik and Jessy is indeed the highlight of the film.

Jessy – the wanting to be modern girl coming from a conservative family, shown as realistic and practical, tempted to deviate from her thoughts on personal life, breaking her conservative barrier when it matters, experiencing severe tribulations in mind due to her constrained family environment, stuck in a predicament, taking impulsive decisions and regretting them later on and living the life she opted for rather than the life she desired – Have we not seen many Jessy’s in real world?

Karthik – Another beautiful characterization, the young brash guy who wants to do something different, not afraid to speak his mind whenever it matters, one who takes many impulsive decisions without much thought on the outcome, the desperate lover not wanting to lose his first love, stuck in a quandrum between professional and personal life, aiming desperately to restore the love after he has lost it, taking it all in his stride and achieving success in life – Again, we might have seen many real world examples.

Ganesh – A friend who is many years older, even a generation older, but he is there to assist Karthik when it matters.

The best part of the movie is that Goutham has not created characters who are imaginary and far from the real world. All these characters have their flaws and even they recognize them. The director reveals the age of the lead pair to also let us know that at their age, all the decisions they take might not be mature and logical.

Seeing the variety of themes that Goutham is pulling off with finesse, one cannot wonder the thought if he could be the next Mani Ratnam. He is developing a niche audience segment and is also ensuring box office success of all his films. That is an unbelievable attribute to have.

The other brilliant aspect of the movie is the climax. This guy has real brains! When I heard from news snippets about the movie having two different climax sequences , I could not understand the need. But seeing the movie, you are left admiring his shrewdness. Goutham knows the pulse of the audience and has acted on it by having a tragic ending for the Tamil version and a happy ending for the Telugu version. Besides that, he provided the audience a glimpse of both the endings in both the versions. Thoughtful indeed!

We all know how Goutham has this uncanny knack of presenting the songs aesthetically. The songs in VTV are an absolute treat to watch on the screen though there might be one song too many towards the end. Kudos to the Oscar winner Rahman. BGM is good but not the best we have seen from Rahman.

Coming to the performances, Trisha as Jessy is the soul of the movie. Seeing this performance, we are left wondering where this talented actress was hiding all these years. She steals the show with her subtle changes in emotion (I liked the scene where she tries to keep a serene face but still finds it tough to conceal the little smile on her face). Trisha has indeed been made more gorgeous by Nalini Sriram’s costumes. The saree has indeed been a neglected attire especially while depicting present day characters. Here, Trisha is seen sporting it most times (How many Polaris female associates wear saree on a daily basis is another thought better left aside for now, same goes with BSC maths students being sharper or more interested than engineers in Maths).

Silambarasan has got a very meaty role that gives him immense scope to perform. He has done his best but somehow on occasions, we could not help wondering why he isn’t expressing varied emotions. His voice modulation is definitely an area that he could improve significantly as currently it looks stern all the time. His performance in the climax scenes is very good. This could be a significant career milestone for him.

The chemistry between the lead pair is indeed good and the daring romantic scenes have been shot with the minimum fuzz. They seem so realistic sans any vulgarity.

VTV has its own share of flaws. The pace of the movie might not please audience who love a racy screenplay. The stereotypic brother (tough to believe him behaving like a thug in a highly literate family), the typical fight at an isolated place, Simbu managing to meet Trisha whenever he desires despite everyone in close proximity, Trisha’s reasoning with her father not given any space at all in the movie are some of the dampeners. Trisha’s father showing the marriage album to Simbu’s sister gives away the ending. This dialogue could have been avoided. But, I should admit that we forget this dialogue after some time. Same goes with Trisha’s dialogue to Simbu that this might be their last time together.

On analyzing all these aspects, it can be safely concluded that Goutham Menon has again done Tamil cinema proud and raised the yardstick for future romantic movies.

There are occasions in life where you would have come across people who would always love to swim against the tide. These people challenge conventional wisdom and throw caution to the wind because of their strong conviction. Any yardstick of success that we associate with others would not be applicable to them. If you had read the novel “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand, the character Howard Roark symbolizes this rare genre in mankind. He is a young architect who never compromises his artistic and personal vision and willingly undergoes several tribulations in life before tasting the fruits of success. And once he experiences success, it hardly has any difference on him as his goal in life (to preserve the purity of art) is different from the ones others desire and that goal would never be compromised. There are visionaries in various fields who have been the Howard Roaks in their sphere of influence. This article would be dealing with one such person in the Indian entertainment industry – Kamal Haasan. This article would not be focussing on his film making skills. Instead, it would dwell on the attributes that makes him admirable.

The biggest burden in being Kamal Haasan is that every action performed or every word uttered (both reel and real) by him would be under intense scrutiny. You might ask, so what? Every celebrity experiences these. To understand the enormity of this, consider the other leading heroes in the Tamil or even Indian film industry. The biggest advantage they have when people watch them on screen is the expectation that the audience have from their movies. If these heroes float in the air defying gravity or bash 20 thugs at a time or even launch a rocket propellant mid-air, many film viewing public would consider it acceptable. In a similar vein, in these movies, you need not have characters that relate to the theme of the movie. Hence, you have the freedom to fit in as many comedians you would like or have as many glamorous heroines. The common response that you get from the audience (who love these movies) or the film makers when you question them on these is “This is a Commercial movie”, “Our hero is an action hero”, “These are aspects expected/ must be present in our hero’s movie”, “These movies are meant only to entertain”, “We go to a movie only to forget our worries”.  This article is meant to only compare the differing expectations from the audience and is not meant to take a dig at Commercial cinema. Pure entertainers are also required as an essential alternative and would satiate the preferences of various audience.

Compare this when you go and watch a Kamal Haasan film – more than the appreciation of the various nuances in film making exhibited in the movie, there would be intense scrutiny of every aspect in the movie. Hence, there would be questions like “Why did Kamal place the bag in the railway station when it had no bombs at all (UPO)”, “Why did the Commissioner and the Chief Secretary converse in English in many scenes (UPO)”, “Why were two or three characters not given more space? (Dasavatharam), “Why did Kamal show that Tsunami rescued the people in the mosque while it killed Poovaraaghan (a Christian) – Dasavatharam”, “Why did Kamal show the accountant in Devar Magan (Madan Bob) as belonging to a particular caste” (In fact the director of this flick was Bharathan and not Kamal). There might be perfect justification as to why these scenes were enacted this way. But, this goes to show the intense scrutiny that the audience reserve for every action of Kamal – even for his Commercial entertainers.

When people go and watch a Kamal movie, these are the most common expectations

1) Every word spoken and every action on screen should be perfect

2) The movie should be vastly different from any other Indian movie previously seen

3) No scope for any cinematic liberties associated with other heroes

In fact, these expectations have only enhanced Kamal’s film making abilities. Rather than settling for only Commercial potboilers that guarantee success, Kamal has chosen a path less travelled (or rather not travelled) by many. A strong belief in his vision of taking Tamil cinema forward has given him the conviction to deliver a movie without any dialogues (Pushpak/ Pesum Padam), a movie without any songs and having a shorter running duration (Kuruthi Punal), a movie which discusses in depth on the suffering during partition (Hey Ram), a movie where he doesn’t have a name or identity and which has no heroines, songs and deals with terrorism without showing any violence on screen (Unnai Pol Oruvan, credits to Neeraj Pandey-the creator), a movie which has capital punishment as theme (Virumaandi), a movie which stressed on love for human beings and has a good take on Communism (Anbe Sivam) and many more.

A creator delivering one or two movies like this is possible. But, giving them over a sustained period of four decades (if I have to discount the roles played by him as a child) is a tremendous achievement. When Hey Ram wasn’t that successful at the box office, this man had the courage to deliver an Anbe Sivam. When movies as great as these aren’t that successful, he takes the blame on himself (and not blame the film watching public) and strives to deliver an even better movie.

The other aspect that makes him a real world Howard Roark is the impact success has on him. Everyone who is successful take their time to savour their triumph.  But not Kamal. Just days after the stupendous success of Dasavatharam (an all time Tamil cinema highest grosser and one of the highest in Indian cinema), he was working on the script for Marmayogi. Even when it seemed Marmayogi would take some time, he did not relax and delivered a classic Unnai Pol Oruvan. Delivering box office success over a long period is still possible but doing it by taking the road less travelled makes the success even more enjoyable. It is this hunger for success and the drive for perfection that makes him special. The other great aspect is his views and contributions on a variety of societal issues like organ donation and converting his fan clubs as welfare associations. His constancy of purpose and unwavering thoughts is revealed in him confining himself to the field that he is good at –Film Making.

The seeds sown by him are reaping rich dividends as we find a bunch of enthusiastic creative directors making a mark in the Tamil film industry like Ameer, Bala, Mysskin, Selva Raghavan and Sasi Kumar. Just take a sample of the list of successful Tamil movies last year – Ayan, Naadogigal, Aadhavan, Padikaathavan, Peraanmai, Unnai Pol Oruvan, Yaavarum Nalam, Pasangha, Achamundu Achamundu, Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu, Eeram, Pattalam, Renigunta and Kanden Kaadhalai. The heartening aspect in this list is that most movies in this list had an unconventional theme or screenplay and were even made by non-established film makers. Way to go!

The burden in being Kamal is enormous–but nevertheless, it has been enjoyable not only for him but also for Indian Cinema.

Friends,

You can post your feedback on the video in this blog post.

Thanks & regards,

Karthik

 

By this time, we all know how good a theme “A Wednesday” was. It had amazing screenplay, dialogues and direction. It is said by a few that Unnai Pol Oruvan (UPO) is the exact replica of “A Wednesday”. Comparisons have been made by many about which version is the better. Before I dissect this further, a word of caution though. The original “A Wednesday” would always retain its significance because it was trying something new. After watching both the movies, I could only observe that UPO though retains the essence- the plot and characterization, there are so many places where there is a huge difference. I have tried to capture areas where great attention has been paid to even minute details.  Enjoy reading the post!

 

Plot- UPO scores

“A Wednesday” was more biased towards the actions and retributions taken by a particular community. If you had watched it carefully, all the 4 terrorists and even Naseer’s character in the movie belonged to the same community.  Wednesday mitigated this by beautifully making Naseer take action on these terrorists even if they belong to his community. UPO has made the terrorism theme more Universal by pointing out that terrorism does not have religion (U see a Hindu terrorist too).UPO also brings out the aspect of how one needs to be sensible towards terrorism in regions other than ours.

Scene Comparisons

Naseer & Kamal Haasan- Common Man ; Anupam Kher & Mohan Lal- Commissioner

Places where UPO is better than Wednesday

1)      First Scene: Even in the first scene, there is a huge difference. UPO has a more natural feel to it by showing Lal narrating the experience while he takes his dog to a walk. The Hindi version shows him getting a chair to sit in the beach. In the Hindi version, no action was taken on the commissioner Anupam post this incident in the film. Clearly, no commissioner can escape (at least from public) after letting 4 terrorists die. The language used by Anupam to describe Naseer “that bastard just had the guts to walk in our life and blow it apart” is rude”. The words contradict the feeling that Anupam actually has for Naseer.  UPO does not make too many comments at the start and quickly moves into the movie.

 

2)      Placing Bags: Naseer is shown placing the bags very obviously. He places it right in the middle of a stairway to the train with all people walking around him. Kamal does it more gracefully. Also, he does it in more than one place (bus, train, and mall).

 

3)      Police Station Scene: In the scene within police station, the toilet is placed inside the police station. Naseer walks past the police carrying the bag inside. Naseer walks past the cop carrying the bag. Also, while he walks inside, there is another cop coming out of the rest room. Naseer makes no effort to hide and place the bag, he just leaves it in area under the sink. UPO makes it more authentic by keeping the rest room outside the complaint room and Kamal makes great effort to place the bag such that it is not visible even when you try seeing it there. Also, we do not find any cop in the rest room when Kamal walks in.

 

4)      Cop dropping wife scene: In Wednesday, the cop Jai drops his wife at the railway station. This scene had no importance at all to the movie and was just shown to introduce Jai. UPO made it a necessary scene by also making Kamal place his supposedly explosive bag in the same scene. Good work!

 

5)      Cop and wife dialogues:  Cop Jai’s wife is shown going to her mother’s home, staying for some time and coming back all in a matter of 3 hours. It is highly unlikely especially if you listen to the dialogues of Jai to his wife. That showed that the place was a bit far away. UPO realizes this and made all talks of Sethu (guy playing Jai’s role) to his wife during her travel only. More sensible narration. Also, the discussion of places during the conversation is the actual places you pass by when you travel from Chennai to Madurai. Careful film making indeed!

 

6)      At police station: Naseer is rude to the police officer within the station. He tells him “What do you mean by how do things get lost”. A common man is expected to talk politely to a cop. Kamal hides his anger in this scene and responds politely to the cop. This is not the place to show the common man’s anger as that would avoid him from executing smoothly the purpose for which he has come to the station.

 

7)      Actor Complaint part: In the Hindi version, in the scene where the actor complains to the commissioner, the actor is shown walking alone to the Commissioner’s office which is highly unlikely in an actor adoring society like India. It is especially unlikely when you see the character played by the actor, self proclaiming. Also, the actor reacts poorly when the threatening phone call comes and he even hugs the cop. There is also a flashback for the actor. UPO corrects these, besides bringing in a spoof of a popular actor. Also, the commissioner tries to at least show that he is taking some necessary action. The Commissioner explaining the reason for providing more security is well thought too.

 

8)      Introductory Scene of reporter: Again, this scene is no way related to the movie in the Hindi version. This scene is present in “A Wednesday” just to introduce the reporter. We have the reporter talking to a guy who has survived an electric shock. All this effort to introduce her.

 

UPO scores high in this scene by making this scene related to the essence of what this movie is about- terrorism.  Also, this scene shows Kamal watching the program and maybe that’s a reason why he chose this reporter over others. Also, in this scene, kamal is showing making his purchases even before his wife reminds (thus showcasing him as a responsible common man!). 3 actions done in the same scene!  The Bush Musharaff parody is a nice comedy.

 

9)      Cop- Traffic cop dialogue: In UPO, the cop is more assertive with the traffic cop when he demands a bribe from auto wala. Also, after the cop asks the traffic cop to pay the auto wala back, the auto wala’s statement is artificial. “times have changed, new age is here” etc. Seldom do auto walas talk to traffic cops this way as they have to face the brunt later. UPO omits this dialogue.

 

10)   Dress: The commissioner is in casual wear in his office. Mohan lal sports the police wear lending more authenticity to the role.

 

11)   Cop Ariff Introductory scene: Ariff’s introductory scene has a cop watching the reporter’s show on TV and that’s when Ariff is introduced. This again reiterates the fact that the reporter and her shows are popular and introduces Ariff at the same time, again oru kallula rendu maangha! The location for Ariff introductory scene is shown as a police station in UPO whereas in Wednesday, it is some isolated place (looking like a large storehouse)

 

12)   First terrace scene: In the scene where Naseer walks first to the terrace, he’s shown more casual (without being careful), even humming a small note. This is highly unlikely considering the seriousness of the issue and the need to be alert all the time. Kamal has a careful measured walk, absence of humming. Scene where he drops things is casual too. Even, there is a difference in the size of the bag that he carries.

 

13)   Call Testing:  Naseer is shown receiving a call from his wife and answering it before configuring his devices. Whereas Kamal uses the opportunity to receive a test call from his wife and tests the device setup before actually calling the commissioner. Good! Also, after the call with his wife, it is shown all things are arranged and kept when in fact Naseer had just come. UPO is careful in this aspect too.

 

14)   Government negotiation: UPO gives more weightage to the role of a Chief Secretary character as an agent between CM and commissioner. Seldom do CMs work at the ground level. If a CM does that (as shown in Wednesday), he is more likely to negotiate too. Of course, for every issue, we cannot have the CM intervening, even at the national level, it is the same as in most security issues, NSA and other higher officials deal with them. Chief Secretary’s role got the importance in UPO that it truly deserves. Also, in UPO, it is shown that the CM is busy as it is election time.

 

Having the CM’s voice and showing the house (Gopalapuram) makes it appear more genuine in UPO than in Wednesday which even had a man in CM role appear in the screen.

 

15)   Chief Secretary: The Chief Secretary was a sober guy in Hindi version, in UPO, the interactions between Commissioner and Chief Secretary is one of the highlights of the movie, brings the rifts and difference in perceptions and actions of the 2 facets of Govt very well.

 

16)   Reporter Prank: Even in minor scenes like the reporter first receiving call from the common man, in UPO, the reporter thinks it is a prank. In Wednesday, she immediately believes the common man.

 

17)   Commissioner rudeness: In Wednesday, Anupam tells Chief Secretary, “I don’t know but you have to come in 15 mins”, U can never demand a chief secretary. In UPO, Lal requests and gets it done smoothly.

 

18)   Voice modulation: Kamal shows better voice modulation in asking commissioner not to waste time dialogue scene, Tom & Dicky/ Kuppan SUbban dialogues, sensationalism and when demanding a negotiator.

 

19)   Terrorist locations: Keeping terrorist in different place (Bangalore) is well thought too.

 

20)   Diffusing bomb in Police Station: The Common man informs that the bomb is set to go off in police station in a short time. Wednesday shows the communication, fetching such a huge group of diffusing squad, searching in only the planted place and diffusing bomb on their own done in 20 mins. It’s a bit unlikely. UPO did it better by showing only a smaller squad, searching for bomb in all places and the bomb diffuser taking the sensible help of police force. The police force takes the help of common man to diffuse the bomb, thus meeting the purpose without showing ego. This is essential when u have severe time constraint.

 

21)   Commissioner turns constable: Commissioner Anupam is shown extracting information from the agent himself, again highly unlikely. The Commissioner is co coordinating a major effort, his job is planning and communicating, Here, he is even shown beating the guy to extract info while the guy just gives the info on seeing Arif. Why should he suddenly let out all info on seeing Arif?? What’s the background, this is unclear. UPO handles this scene well. Commissioner calls Arif and he extracts info. This scene brings out Arif’s character too well. Also, the seduction of the guy part is a welcome addition in UPO.

 

22)   Cop-reporter interaction: After the bomb is diffused, the cop Jai goes off just like that after seeing the reporter. A responsible cop should take effort not to bring it out in the open. UPO shows the cop trying to chase reporter away from the spot. The reporter’s dialogue in UPO in response to commissioner question of who she is “ I am a woman, an Indian and a reporter” captures her character in essence.

 

23)   Cop fight: Wednesday shows that the two cops are hostile to each other especially Jai to Ariff. One cop remarks to Jai on seeing Ariff “Pyscho is coming”, this part was not needed. On a huge mission, the two cops need to show more partnership. Also, in a lot of scenes, Jai gets irritated seeing actions of Ariff and he shows this frustration in front of the terrorists. UPO cleverly avoids showing the friction.

 

24)   Commissioner asking which department Ariff  is in now is totally unnecessary. He would know about him better before deploying him.

 

25)   Hindu terrorist: Making use of Hindu terrorist too and having the dialogue that he is religion, currency agnostic in UPO clearly brings out that terrorism has no boundaries besides avoiding being biased against a particular community.

 

26)   Naseer shown in Intelligence Report: This is a serious mistake in “A Wednesday”. During the presentation about the terrorists, the cop tells that there is speculation about a strange guy moving around and he is assumed to b a strategist of terrorist groups showing Naseer’s photo in the background. When have Indian intelligence become too smart to decipher things and pass info all within couple of hours, what has naseer done to be spotted by intelligence in such a short time. Also there is a dialogue telling that even his wife does not know what he is doing. Boss, if u r able to spot the wife, u have got the guy too!

 

27)   Cop during presentation: The cop, himself, telling at the end of the presentation to the commissioner “we are always one step behind the terrorists” is demeaning. UPO scores in this by having a discussion between chief secretary and commissioner and having the chief secretary tell this dialogue, well thought!

 

28)   Cop in police jeep: Ariff comes in police jeep to catch the arms guy, thus allowing him to escape. UPO avoids this by making Ariff leave the jeep at a distance, walk to the cop and then he runs.

 

29)   Commissioner Anupam is shown briefing the reporter on the incident when she asks. This was not needed and was correctly skipped in UPO.

 

30)   Mohan Lal makes the cop to tell the exact words he wants to communicate to media and he does a dry rehearsal. No such scene in Hindi. Also, Lal checks the camera to see if it was captured correctly. Gud attention to details!

 

31)   Finding location of common man: The scene where Ariff comes to find the location where common man is better captured in UPO.  Kamal is shown being more alert noticing Ariff whereas Naseer misses him. U have to be alert on such a critical mission.

 

32)   News report: Kamal intently listens to news about terrorists being shifted whereas Naseer is very casual. Definitely, it is serious news to be paying careful attention to!

 

33)   Commissioner about reporter: In Wednesday, Anupam tells to CM that the terrorist is monitoring him through Naina. It is so easy to ask Naina to stop televising this besides the fact that Naina is actually helping the cops indirectly. This dialogue was carefully avoided in UPO.

 

34)   Even in scene where credit card lady calls, Anupam allows her to talk too much before interrupting. When u r in a time critical task, this is the least u expect. Mohan lal stops her abruptly.

 

35)   Location – Airbase: The choice of location for the final shoot out is better in UPO. An old airport (CHozhavaram) has less chance of intervention than a newly laid Juhu Airbase. Also, because of this aspect, u can see security in Juhu airbase, if u have this many security, how cud the common man rig that?  Having the old deserted location avoided all this in UPO.

 

36)   Facial Expression: Kamal scores in his facial reaction, especially using eyes. Naseer shows no reaction in face or eyes most times. When commissioner asks for warranty, bringing pressure cooker example was good in UPO. Kamal also scores in the way he tells this dialogue “Do u have any other choice?” when commissioner asks him how cud he trust him.

 

37)   More modern: When the cop tells commissioner that this is a unique way of routing calls. UPO avoids this as these incidents happen post 26/11 and everyone is aware of the same technology used there too. Careful attention to details.

 

38)   Sketch of common man: In “A Wednesday”, the artist tries manually to create sketch of the common man. In a time critical task, u don’t need this. Use of computer solved the purpose in UPO.

 

39)   Armory room dialogue: In the scene where Commissioner talks to the 2 cops in Armory room, UPO is good. The scene where the paper flies and Ariff catches is a welcome addition and Lal makes a good comment about the senses to be sharper like the reflexes.

 

40)   Making Ariff suspicious: Commissioner calls Jai after he walks a long distance and tells him to take care of  Ariff, thus clearly making Ariff suspicious. UPO does this better by having the commissioner tell the cop this as soon as they come out of the room.

 

41)   Hacker role: Having the IIT drop out in UPO lent more credibility to the hacker role. In Hindi, the hacker showed scant respect to Commissioner whereas in UPO, the guy is cool, yet he gives the needed respect.

 

42)   Vehicle Choice: The choice of the vehicle to escort the terrorists is done better in UPO. Also, in Wednesday all terrorists are only handcuffed. They could possibly launch an attack. In UPO, their hands are tied to the vehicle and thus limiting their movement.

 

43)   Reporter sees escort vehicle: Wednesday shows the reporter seeing the vehicle carrying the terrorists pass by. This was uncalled for in an extremely secret mission. UPO avoids this intentionally by making the reporter come to the rear side of the old airport.

 

44)   In “A Wednesday”, when Ariff pushes the terrorists to stand on same side, the other cop stares at Ariff, not at all needed especially when he’s doing the right thing.

 

45)   Call to terrorists: Naseer is pleading to Commissioner to connect to Ariff and terrorists. Kamal demands the Commissioner. A terrorist is expected to demand, especially when he does not want to let go of his upper hand.

 

46)   Acting: The scene where Kamal presents a short laugh (to himself, wondering how members of same community behave differently) when he hears the name of the cop as Ariff Khan is more sensible compared to the hearty laugh that Naseer gives. Why does Naseer show this reaction when the movie is all about avoiding community based references. Besides the laugh gives ANupam a clue that he belongs to a particular community.  Kamal’s reaction in this scene is very good. The way Kamal wipes his tears with a gun conveys in essence the movie plot. There might be a need for wiping tears with guns in the current state, height of symbolism!

 

47)   Variation in Hindu terrorist: The Hindu terrorist presents a character that is different from the others. When all others tell fakr hai, he avoids so bringing out the variation and the fears that he has for his life clearly bringing out the variation in his character.

 

48)   Cop Alignment: In the scene where terrorists are handcuffed and taken, Wednesday has one cop in front and one behind, there was no need for the cop to be in front. UPO shows the cops having better control over the terrorists.

 

49)   Bomb- Choice of place: Planting a bomb in the jeep is better than having one in the bench.

 

50)   Lives of cops: In UPO, kamal tells the cops to clearly stay away thus warning them not be caught in the explosion indirectly. In Hindi, the cops walk along with the terrorists to the bench. Even a miscommunication could have had the lives of the cops too.

 

51)   Alert Cop: In UPO, the cop Ariff (Ganesh) realizes that a trick could be played and hence he nabs one of the terrorist while he lets go of the others. In Wednesday, he allows them to go and then nabs.

 

52)   Variation in terrorists: In UPO, when one of terrorists is caught, the others try to escape thus revealing that terrorists too are human beings who are afraid of their lives. In Hindi, they do not show much urgency to escape as they do not have a jeep. Not a flaw indeed.

 

53)   Parts of Ending scene dialogues: Voter id, invisible man dialogue addition in UPO was better. “Terrorism is instant, y shudnt justice be so” is a good one

 

54)   Religion based: The way Mohan lal tries to find out if he’s Hindu or Muslim repeatedly is done better in UPO.

 

55)   Region specific reaction: UPO brought out how when a terrorist incident in a part of India, other part is negligent; kamal tries to rebuke the common man who doesn’t even bother to vote, thus showing himself to be a different common man.

 

56)   Making good use of facts: UPO relates the causes better, the way kamal asks that letting go of terrorists in Kandahar creates 26/11 and other incidents. Gud use of recent incidents. The factual reference to Meenambakkam and Sriperumbudur relate well to the audience. When Kamal talks abt these incidents and after some time tells “Marathi oru desiya vyaathi”, even we feel ashamed that we have forgotten these.

 

57)   Terrorist Instigation– Best Bakery case is a good illustration of Ahmadullah became a terrorist. In Wednesday, he tells a story of him tied to mango tree, no strong reason. In UPO, also he tells modi than paaru, thus making indirect reference to Narendra Modi.Indirect reference to Lal Krishna is also intelligent dialogue delivery.  Good use of actual incidents like this and Best Bakery Case.

 

58)   Reason for Common man’s action: The reason y Naseer is doing this is weaker in Hindi. Naseer tells he sees a person whose name he doesn’t even know in the train daily and since suddenly he went missing along with others, he felt bad. UPO brought out a better story of a pregnant lady (who is close) being molested in open. Though I should say that, this movie is not having a personal vendetta. This movie is about the response of common man to even incidents that occur to others. SO no weird flashbacks showing incidents in personal life are shown in both the versions thankfully.

 

59)   Shooting Ariff: The other cop shoots Ariff just when the media vehicle is coming, they can easily see that Arif is shot. UPO does this scene from a distance.

 

60)   The last scene is done better in UPO. Mohan Lal comes to kamal’s place. The way kamal drops the vegetable, picks it and explains that he’s forced to do bcos of price rise shows that after all he is just a common man. This also conveys to Lal that he’s after all a common man and that might be even a reason that he lets him off. Lal gives a great reaction here. Kamal’s reaction when he speaks to his wife over phone telling he might be a friend is good. Anupam was more rigid.

 

Scenes where  Wednesday is better than UPO

1)      In Hindi, there is a dialogue “please call intelligence for verification purpose”-this showed that intelligence wont have serious doubt about y this information is asked

2)      Call tracing was better shown in Wednesday.

 

3)      Ready to diffuse bomb: Anupam asks the cop Jai whether he’s ready to diffuse the bomb, is he married etc. Anupam did well in this scene and he gives a look to Chief secretary after this showing how they r ready to sacrifice their lives. The stare at Chief Secretary cud have been there in UPO too.

4)      Reporter asking if she can smoke to the commissioner is uncalled for in UPO.

5)      Presentation: The presentation about the terrorists is much better in Wednesday. It explains what they did in various part s of India. The selection of terrorists seemed better in Hindi probably since we have not seen much of Tamil terrorists.

 

6)      Chase scene where Ariff catches arms guy better than UPO. Also, having the arms guy caught by police was better than having him in ICU and getting him discharged to general ward.

 

7)      The scene where the cop Ariff puts his thread inside, thus hiding his community and the way the terrorist laughs at this is good. UPO I suppose avoided this to not bring out community aspect in accordance with its theme.

 

8)      Some dialogues in Ending scene by Naseer- some dialogues were too good, The way Naseer tells that my wife is afraid when I go out, she calls me every 2 hrs to see if I am fine, we are resilient by force and not by choice, common man was taking care of household, shud I wait for something to happen to my family member to take action were very good.

 

UPO has omitted some of these intentionally bcos Chennai is considered safer and that’s y Kamal wasn’t able to say a dialogue that my wife calls me every 2 hrs to see if I am fine.

 

Other Aspects:

UPO showed light fading as the day progresses. Great view of Chennai captured in Red Camera. Better choice of the construction building and other locations.

 

Acting:

Mohan Lal clearly scores over Anupam Kher (with all respects to Anupam’s good work). Mohan Lal brings out the cool, clearly thinking at his feet aspect of this role better.

 

Kamal and Naseer- both had done exceedingly well. In a role where u are seated in the same place and doing a similar action (calling and warning), all that matters is ur voice modulation and expressions and that’s where Kamal comes as a clear winner. The veteran excels even in the role of a common man.

 

Lakshmi as Chief Secretary and Ganesh Venkatraman as the cop are another highlights of the movie. They clearly are miles ahead of their counterparts in Hindi.  Lakshmi has enacted the role to perfection, bringing about frequent changes in emotion. Ganesh Venkatraman as the cop Ariff exhibits a controlled temper, whereas in the original, it seemed as if Ariff was only a hot headed guy. Anuja Iyer was good too in the small role of a reporter, though the Hindi reporter looked more appealing. The Sethu cop, hacker role etc was good in both the versions. Background score in Wednesday seemed a touch better.

 

Definitely, UPO scores over Wednesday, in most of the film making aspects as clearly evident from our analysis. A remake has its own advantages and provides opportunity for correcting the flaws in the original. If you have creative minds like Kamal and Chakri, you are more likely to add fresh appealing content too and present the film in the best possible manner. While UPO deserves all the credits it truly deserves, take ur time to salute the original “A Wednesday” for its daring attempt to make a film with No songs, crass comedy, fights, heroine, larger than life characters and not sticking to the conventional duration of films.

Films like these are sure to stay!