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Vishwaroopam 2 / Vishwaroop 2 - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - “A Let Down by Kamal Haasan!

‘Don’t force or test my patriotism at random places’ said an exasperated Kamal Haasan on the microblogging site Twitter on the mandatory playing of National Anthem in theatres. On contrary to his views, a brief video about his political party “Makkal Needhi Maiam” and the various public meetings which the actor turned politician took part in, was played at the beginning of the film.

Kamal Haasan’s surprising entry into politics made him quit cinema as the actor says he wants to focus more on becoming a leader. He had vowed to complete all his pending projects, one of which was Vishwaroopam 2.  The 2013 prequel faced numerous controversies and problems before it's release, while the sequel or circumquel (as Wikipedia says) was a smooth release without any complications. But, did writer-director Kamal Haasan conclude what he started effectively?

So, the film takes off right where the prequel concluded. It’s been five years since the release of Vishwaroopam and you don't have to worry about recollecting the plot, as this movie recaps the prequel frequently. Wikipedia states this movie as a circumquel rather than a sequel, and if you've ever wondered what that means, the film elaborates its definition. A circumquel takes place partly before and partly after a particular storyline.

To give a reason why Wisam Ahamed Kashmiri (Kamal Haasan) joined Al-Qaeda, befriended Omar, trained the Jihadi’s, and finally betrayed them, Kamal Haasan chose to intervene in the entire first film in regular intervals along with the post-New York City incident. But, the film doesn’t get complex, yet my concern was that it was evident that Wisam is a RAW agent and he was on a mission, the repetition of scenes from the prequel felt like watching the latter again and the focus shifted from the main agenda of arresting Omar to a logical interpretation of part one. 

Also, was the detention of Omar (Rahul Bose) and his trusty side-kick Salim (Jaideep Ahlawat) told in a distinct way? No! The entire post-New York City incident was structured incoherently, and the addition of unwanted scenes made it even worse. The latter part of the film was more of a personal fight between Wisam and Omar rather than the involvement of the government officials. The film also suffered from logical issues and the pace on which the second half moved added fuel to the fire resulting in audience yawning. 

Advancing to the performances, Kamal Haasan was born-to-act and anyone who criticizes the skill of this man, who has been the definition of acting for decades, is definitely a halfwit. Every other supporting character did their part well especially Rahul Bose as Omar Bhai. Veteran actor Waheeda Rehman was a forced inclusion, absolutely unnecessary and a waste of talent. Andrea Jeremiah and Pooja Kumar were decent with their performances.

The action sequences were choreographed well and were a delight to watch. Cinematography deserves a noteworthy mention but the CGI in certain scenes remains substandard. Mohammad Ghibran made sure that the film had the proper background score to elevate the aura accordingly. The movie had three songs, one was an intro song with the scenes from the first film, and the second song was a flashback one of the training days of Wisam in the Indian Army and the third was a forced inclusion in the second half. 

On the whole, unlike its prequel, Vishwaroopam 2 lacked a gripping storyline and suffered from a weak screenplay. Kamal Haasan failed to conclude what he started in an intriguing manner as the movie ended up as another mainstream cat-and-mouse brawl. Unless you’re highly anxious, an ardent fan of Kamal or excited to know if Wisam kills Omar, you can skip this and wait for it to release on any streaming platform.

My Rating – 2/5 | Grade – C (Meh! Probably a Rental!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Nirmal Raj aka AK (@Nirmalraj2911)
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Lust Stories (Netflix) - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "Breaking Ground!"

Distributed and released by the global streaming leader Netflix, Lust Stories is an anthology film consisting of four short stories based on love, lust, honesty, status, misery, and desire. Directed by the some of the most celebrated filmmakers in Bollywood (Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar), this film breaks new ground and highlights few significant problems and complications that men and (especially) women face in their relationships and everyday life.

Let's briefly discuss the storyline of the four short films without spoiling anything. Kashyap's film starring Radhika Apte and Akash Thosar tells the story about an unusual relationship between a college teacher and a student and trades with the subject of honesty. Zoya's short cruises on the lines of class and dignity and stars Bhumi Pednekar as a housemaid and Neil Bhoopalam as an unmarried day job worker. Dibakar's movie sees Manisha Koirala having an extramarital affair with Jaideep Ahlawat and also explores her reasons for not liking her husband's behavior and attitude. Finally, Karan's film delves into the life of a newly-married couple Kiara Advani and Vicky Kaushal and emphasizes the topics of sex being one-sided, women being confined to a traditional married life and more.

What makes this movie special is the significant directive it's trying to express. We live in a fast-growing world where we often forget about basic things in life which are important. Like in Kashyap's film Radhika Apte's character expects the same amount of honesty and transparency from her friend, but she gets upset and goes paranoid when he starts to lie to her. Dignity, despair, aggravation and even Karan's film tells a substantial story about how women have the same desire as men and so on. Also, this film breaks new boundaries when it comes to talking, expressing and opening (not in a vulgar way) about sex which is still considered as a taboo in India. 

Centered around four different female protagonists, the performances from every one of them were great. Radhika Apte is the most notable one as she embodied and portrayed the psychotic part of her character tremendously. Kiara Advani is also another pleasant surprise as her character was by far the likable and relatable one among others.

Overall, Lust Stories had an imperative and a distinctive message to share in each of its four films and was also remarkably narrated and directed. Go watch this film as this is one of the many steps that Indian Cinema is taking to divert itself from the commercial genre.

My Rating - 3.5/5 | -An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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