Tag: spy

Vishwaroopam II: Tinkered Tailored Older Spy

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Let’s start with the ending
The thing that struck me about the first Vishwaroopam, a film for which I crossed state borders covertly to watch(much like an espionage operation) was the abruptness in the ending.


It ends with Wisam telling that there is more to the story and what we witnessed is not really ‘the end’, but it did not have the niggling hook that would keep me guessing on what the next part would explore and moreover it did not really help that Kamal himself is delivering this as exposition and not a visually striking image of say a (too use the often used) Kattappa killing Baahubali.


Even looking at the first part in a facile manner which is a spy navigating between complexities and saving the world; the film did provide enough closure.
{Bad guys plans a series of attacks on a city and a team of spies unearth and thwart the operation.}
But Vishwaroopam is not a superficial spy thriller, at least it aims to do more.

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At the core of it all is Wisam Ahmed Kashmiri, a spy who believes in his cause someone who does not treat his license to kill as target practice and is empathetic to those he might have to kill.


Case in point is the friendship between Omar Khureshi, Salim and Wisam which takes up much of the middle of the first movie and these threads need to be addressed.
(not necessary a universal requirement, but more like universal hero’s requirement)


That brings us to Vishwaroopam II, which works more as a companion piece to the first film and not as a sequel; filling in for things that better explain the Indian spy’s motivations.


While the movie does go deeper into things that were throwaways in the first film, especially effective is Wisam’s relationship with his mother.(Waheeda Rehman in a brief role, last seen in Tamil cinema in the 1956 film Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum). Wiz temporarily returns to being Vishwanath in a teary moment dominated by Alzheimer’s (second medical ailment in the franchise after killer cancer in the Roopam I), when the movie is just about casting away the role of the dancer.


Needless to say, Kamal is on top form or is it like displaying all these nuances in half-awake mode now? The other story machinations like how Wisam became Viz are less successful, a London mission before the intermission seems like a very long stop-over before Wisam and team reach the national capital.


I love the spy films in all forms, they lend themselves to the multi dimensional entertainment, the genre comfortably accommodates modern action films like the Bourne movies, cinephile-treasures like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the wink-winks like The Kingsman, send-ups like Paul Feig’s Spy and Oscar favourites like Argo and these are only from recent memory. All of them add to and derive from the construct of the spy thriller.


Vishwaroopam II draws from all the aforementioned sub-genres and naturally the result is not a satisfying mix; for a moment it a mission-driven-race-against-the-ticking -bomb-action-film, a few scenes later it is a musing on the futility of war and even further down the run-time it is an examination of loyalty and nationalism.


There’s isn’t time for all this, boss. Omar waits with one more bomb around the corner. (A bomb around the corner would have a been a better title to this piece, #justsaying)


There simply isn’t time and it shows, the action seems too rushed and the globe-hopping locations which usually adds to the excitement and romance to these spy films here are just tailored to suit exposition dumps.


The lack of resources too very evident, with the actors limited to performing in moving cars or in an uncharacteristic hotel suite and the number of times toilets conveniently appear in this film only made me think about how constrained the production would have been ; a stark opposite to the expanse of Afghanistan which was reiterated multiple times in the first film.


As though to make up for all the above, there are genuine fun sequences in the film and director Kamal draws me in with a cracker of a title sequence which is a crash course of things past in freeze time played to new version of Nyagabagam Varugiradha.

The story is also in the telling, the nonlinearity is intact and Wisam still gets to sweat about his past. Packed with multiple “woohoo!” moments and timely call-backs to the first film (Namaz panna poriya!). In Kamal’s world even a blood splatter can dissolve into a map.

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But Omar bhai takes precedence over everything and Rahul Bose is absolutely fantastic as the villain who thinks he is the hero and wait a minute, he isn’t even in the movie till the third act.


I loved how the movie returned to the outrageous-ness of Roopam I, when he came back on screen giving Wisam something really challenging to work with, because until then Wisam was just putting bureaucrats in place with his wit.


Yes yes, I also know that the movie tries to deal with larger issues like how education is important, how war creates more problems than it can solve etc, how nationalism cannot be ‘instilled’ etc but OK this is not the blog site for all that boring stuff.

But this is the kind-off blog which will stand-up and applaud at the inane moment of the villain’s glass eye popping out and rolling on the streets of Delhi. Movies like these are hard to come by and need to be savoured probably with steaming jilebis.

Good luck Wisam! Hat-tip to Munnavar!

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FRS: Vivegam

vivegam3

So we all know what an FRS is right? right?

-100: To us, we haven’t changed this boring intro, even with 14 writers on our payroll the fact that we can’t write a decent opening, shows the levels at which incompetence has seeped into the Laureate.<SHAME>

+5: Movie has no narration, a virtue especially when the last film we saw was Taramani.

-5: Whenever minor character says that they have x levels of security means mega security failure will happen within x minutes (Mega Security Mazhuppal Rule)

+30: Two eastern European uncles have been cast in such a way that just by looking at them you will know that they are villains, one has cigar also

-51.25: When confronted by assassin, victims will state their name, age occupation, designation and aadhar number(liberals no need to provide) so as to make life easier for the assassin.

Assassin is of course our AK

+21: hero’s name is AK!! hero’s character name is also AK!! how cool is that, i mean how inventive #AK25.

+101: How the movies have changed, like actors used to ‘play’ characters like villain, spy, doctor, minister etc; but in Vivegam it is what critics will call ‘turning-genre-by-the-head’

Wait buddies, we will explain.

Like Vivegam is not a story about a spy, it is about Ajith Kumar (AK) if he had chosen to become a spy instead of an actor. Yes that is the story.
+34: Writer-Director has embarked on toughest task of making every dialogue that AK speaks as punch dialogue.

Even when AK asks for sugar it is so menacing that you will not let children go near AK. More about children later
-54: Story? LOL what story?

-129.07: Messaging: Like this is not a movie this is AK’s personal videos to his fans,

+21: Serbians are not going to like this film

+50: AK’s super power is that no bullet will hit him unless he wills it himself, much like Mahabharatam Bheeshmar.

+112.33: When facing an entire army, always look at the camera and speak with optimism in tamil, this itself will confuse them. (AK’s escapism rule)

-34.5: As expected, dutiful AK will have cute family life

-11: GVM school of non-ordinary heroine naming, here it is Yazhnini, and of course she is a carnatic music teacher in inteeerior Serbia.

Hi to Cleveland Thyagaraj+ Death Metal Thangaraj

Oh wait, they also run cute tamil organic food restaurant which is popular among the locals. <Yeppa Dei Nativity>

-379: However cute, children must not be allowed in cooking area, safety reasons.

-150: Cute children

-29: As usual, hero looking at heroine playing with rain drops scene, hence love shot

vivegam2

Pokkiri Pongal and all ok, have you seen Serbian Pongal? #Internaaational

+17: Yazhini is so the dutiful wife that even Valluvar’s Vasuki will have to take morning tuition from her.

-600: AK-Yaazhini level ideal couple pressures will seep into real life for couples after seeing the film.

Not ruling out divorce based on this pressure.

-89.12: Anti-Terror Squad head-office looks like one IT company with reception and all, I think they might have pre-sales division also, if free please put out JD at naukri boys!

+109: As expected head of Anti-Terror Squad is played by one person who will believe whatever people will say

+45: Hobbies: apart from being a top class spy, killer, assassin, strategist, husband, organic food chain owner AK is also a New York Times best-selling author

-300: War as photo-op: no seriously if you are army uncle in Serbia you will have lot of time to stand on tanks, do circumambulation to fighter jet, go to picnic, take and remove sun-glasses.

Yes, in slow motion.

-6.7K: Everyone talks about AK, every single character will talk about AK in the film, AK also talks about AK.

+23: Director believes hackers can do anything in life. ANYTHING

-56: If you are low ranking/new recruit in the espionage business you will be treated as a comedy piece (Arumaiprakagasam)

+902: Main Job of main villain is not to break the world into pieces but to praise AK, second job of main villain is to take over the world.

+15: Dei, in this movie everything is one hologram, even things you can do in simple PPT these villains will show in hologram.

Yeppa sci-tech-death

+15: Level of data analytics is MAX. eg: villain will shout: find the total number of running trains in Serbia, in that how many people are watching hot star in that how many people are eating lays chips type questions and his data team will give the answer within seconds.

Add to this, you will see 456 types of tracking and hacking #scitechdeath

We asked our data analytics team in Pune a simple question, how many people visit our blog nu. Still these fellows are giving reports.

 

-433: For our data analytics team

AK does data analytics in his mind only, so he does not need team.

+9: Phoenix paravai!

-213: Mind numbing mind games AK and villain will play for three hours, at this point we shouted “VARENNNN MAAAA!” into our phones and recorded the same for future use

Also all fights become tiring because anyhow you know that AK is phoenix paravai and nothing will happen to him.

-0.98: Analysts are telling that running time of the movie increased…..because….of….the….way…..AK…………spoke………………the……….dialogues……..given to…….him…..

-75: Spy uncles think that shutting down satellites is like switching off fan while leaving classroom

+101: Carnatic-mixed-martial arts based climax fight. One of its kind in Indian cinema.

AK’s T shirt rule: quality of t shirt will deteriorate towards the end of the movie so that it can be torn to reveal torso

Yes they have promised sequel and all.

Till then….

NEVER.EVER.GIVE.UP.

 

Subham/Ungal Naam

The FRS Team

Vanakkam

 

 

Not an unsuitable job for a woman

CK, MM and somebody else watch the spy comedy called “SPY”

CK got out of the auto, rushed towards the newly laid granite steps of theatre only to be shocked.

CK: What the efff are you doing here?

Well you can’t really blame the usage of the expletive, after all no one expects your writing partner who hurried away for a career break in the US to be standing outside a theatre in Koyambedu.

MM or Moderate Manohar as he is known in certain circles or Mano as he is known in domestic circles looked cheerful to see his partner, but his face also gave away a hint of sadness.

CK: Mod! You look like you have been chucked out of the Chicago Sun Times

Was the first thing CK said to MM.

MM: I’ve been chucked out from the Chicago Sun Times.

CK: What? Why, you don’t need to say that just to make me feel happy.

MM: I’m not, in more ways than one that is the truth, but now I’m back. Took back the job this morning, bargained hard for a raise but chief wouldn’t budge.

CK( now feeling all brotherly) : Typical of Chief! Let’s get cracking now.

MM: We are supposed to meet someone now, we have been assigned to one more writer.

CK: What? Already two’s a crowd, no offense Mod, but three will be the Kumbh Mela, how are we to converge on opinions.

MM: That’s the whole point CK, we are not, the magazine plans to bring out a 360 degree view on film, all our views on it.

Just then when everybody else had retreated into the theatre and only CK, MM and the cleaners who had turned out to be extremely punctual for the next show remained, a motorcycle drove in and from beneath the government imposed helmet emerged a head and that of a woman.

CJ: I was supposed to meet you two here, outside the theatre, chief sent me.

<CJ said to the cleaners>

MM: Hey! It’s not them, it’s us, we are the reviewers here.

<aside> For God’s sake CK please dress better than a domestic help.

CK made an irritating face, but morphed into an adequate smiley for the informal introductions. For sake of integrity we will not describe how CJ looks like.

CK <to MM>: Her? I don’t see this happening

CJ: I heard that

CK and MM are not yet fully aware of CJ’s super hearing as hey bolt to the screen just in time for Mellisa McCarthy’s name beam into prominence from the title sequence of Spy. And so it began.

spy2015-2

When the lights came back and the three realised they were the only fellows left in the theatre, apart from the cleaning staff; they decided to utilise this time to discuss what they should be writing about.

The usually “I will not tell my point till prodded” CK was the first to mouth, understandable because CK is usually excited when he witnesses such a film, especially if it a spy pastiche.

CK: I would eat my words if you don’t think this movie is worth your time

MM: I would have thought similarly if only it hadn’t fallen down to the level of fat woman falling down type jokes

CK: Hyeshh! those were funny…<realises CJ’s presence>

CJ: Look I don’t care if you laugh at a woman falling, my question is only if there are enough men falling from motorcycle jokes that irks me…

CK: Well you can’t really be counting the things that we laugh about and in SPY they were just a minimum, we must see it like a bit from America’s funniest videos or something

CJ: It’s not a bit, it is a gag, an easy one at that. Make the woman, run, fall, hit cake on her face

MM: Oh come on, for the sake of comedy

CJ: Let someone try that on you, look guys, I get context and all, this IS comedy and anything goes and over analysis is kindoff banal here and to be true I did think this was funny, but I guess there is something for everyone to laugh at

MM: Apart from the easy jokes, which were sprinkled, I liked that part where the female characters try and establish a connection between themselves, the bumbling detectives, the deputy chief of CIA and the agent, even the villain and the spy, I thought that was really sweet.

CJ: That’s what women do, establish connections, refreshing to see the genre from a different stand point

CK: I love this genre, just everything about it, the trumpets, the silhouette models, the cracking action scenes; the relationship between spy and villain reached dizzyingly different levels of satisfaction, I think to the level between Goldfinger and James Bond is not at all a wrong analogy when you are speaking about Susan Cooper and the villain played by Rose Bryne

MM: Well, odd that you notice the soundtrack, I never got much out of it except of course when compared to Kingsman, which is a movie that we should be comparing a lot too

CJ: Too many spy movies, just too many funny spy movies. But atleast Susan Coop gets the job without any smiling prince ‘aiding’ her, Jason Statham here exactly trying to be that character but failing all the time

MM: I thought he was brilliant, a type of supporting character that doesn’t actually support.

CM nods in agreement.

CK: I don’t think this should be taken in comparison with Kingsman just because it is a spy film, Kingsman was a Bond homage propah spy film, also more of a comment on class. This is a comment on women’s work rights masquerading as a spy comedy.

CJ: I wouldn’t take the women’s work rights angle but probably we should write something about this and Mad Max, something under “Rise of the feminine flicks” or something like that.

MM: The chief might like that. Let’s just say that we love this film, but only various degrees of love.

<MM starts on a tone that resembles lecturing, while CJ and MM make ‘let’s get the hell outta here’ face>

Cleaning Staff: Guys!

All three: Yep, we are leaving

Cleaning Staff: Next time wear distinguishable clothes

<Theatre Door SLAM, roll credits>

CK<pssting to MM>: psst Mod, can I use “a supporting character who actually does not support line?” that was really good.

MM doesn’t know what to say

<And cut to black screen>