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The Return of Viz

Friday, August 10, 2018

The sequel to the 2013 film 'Vishwaroopam' – produced, directed and co-written by Kamal Haasan – releases this week.

The earlier film was surrounded by controversy and protests by some Muslim groups, which delayed its release and caused losses to the producers. Still, it was a hit, and one of the top-grossing Tamil films of all time. (It was released in Hindi as 'Vishwaroop').

In the earlier film, nuclear oncologist Nirupama (Pooja Kumar) has a marriage of convenience with the effeminate Vishwanath aka Viz (Kamal Haasan), a kathak teacher, just to be able to live and work in the US. She is in love with her boss Deepankar (Samrat Chakrabarti) and has her husband trailed by a private investigator, to find a cause to divorce him. She discovers that he is a Muslim, named Wisam Ahmad Kashmiri. The investigator is killed by a man called Farukh (Mukhtar Khan), who belongs to a terrorist organization headed by Omar (Rahul Bose). Farukh captures Nirupama and Viz, who turns out to have fighting skills that enable them to escape the abductors. Nirupama finally finds out who her husband really is!

In the past, Viz had infiltrated Omar's organisation, claiming to be a Kashmiri jihadi, wanted by the Indian Army. Omar takes him to Afganistan, where he trains Al-Qaeda militants. Eventually Viz encounters Osama Bin Laden (Naren Weiss). When the camp is bombed by a US forces, Omar suspects a mole in his group, but does not zero in on Viz.

The terrorists are planning to build and deploy a nuclear bomb in New York, and Viz's mission is to bust an Al Qaeda cell in the US. He is, in fact, an agent of India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Omar's plan to blow up New York is thwarted, but he escaped in the earlier film, indicating a sequel which arrives five years later.

Wisam and a contrite Nirupama (who helped defuse the bomb in the first part), return in the sequel, along with characters from the original – Ashmita Subramaniam (Andrea Jeremiah), also an intelligence agent, Shekhar Kapoor as Colonel Jaganathan, Jaideep Ahlawat as Omar's associate Salim and of course, Rahul Bose as Omar. Waheeda Rehman appears in Part II as Wisam's mother.

It may not have the resources and grandeur of the 'Mission Impossible' series, or the 'Bond' and 'Bourne' films, but it would appear that Indian spy thrillers are slowly coming of age.

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