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Review: Assembling the 'Avengers' of South Cinema, 'Vikram' is an imperfect but helluva fun ride

The biggest worry that any filmmaker can have when he assembles a dream cast - is making sure to give justice to all of them in a manner that it still makes sense. Vikram does that more often than not and that is courtesy the fantastic talent that is director Lokesh Kanagaraj.

Published: Friday,Jun 03, 2022 23:37 PM GMT-06:00
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Vikram

Vikram

The biggest worry that any filmmaker can have when he assembles a dream cast - is making sure to give justice to all of them in a manner that it still makes sense. Vikram does that more often than not and that is courtesy the fantastic talent that is director Lokesh Kanagaraj. For him, this project was a bigger challenge because not only does he have to justify the script but he was also working with the living legend Kamal Haasan - his reason of entering into films. But the man delivers in an almost wholesome manner.

Having seen Vikram that stars Ulaga Nayagan Kamal Haasan, Makkal Selvan Vijay Sethupathi, Fahadh Faasil and Suriya, here is what I thought of it-


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The Sheer Ambition

The Sheer Ambition

To be calling Vikram an ambitious project is probably under-selling it in a modest manner. Getting these stalwart actors to star in a film together would have been a task but the bigger task in hand was to be able to incorporate a surprisingly convoluted and even bloated storyline to justify their characters. It isn't that the screenplay doesn't falter or everything is perfect but one thing that cannot be ruled out at all, is the bravura to envision and execute something so ambitious.

A Cinephile's Paradise

A Cinephile's Paradise

If you have seen Lokesh Kanagaraj's films earlier, you would have already anticipated marking and picking up on multiple hints and references to pop culture in general. If not, you would be pleasantly surprised. There are references aplenty, especially to Haasan's older films. The genius move of incorporating a boy with a heart problem is actually a subversion of a hilarious scene from Panchatanthiram. The whole set-up of Sandhanam's (Vijay Sethupathi) drug-cooking lab and the attires they wear becomes a reference to Breaking Bad; the final few moments of the movie is a massive hat-tip to The Dark Knight Rises - all these and a pleasantly surprising ode to Rajnikanth's Baasha as well makes the film full of Easter eggs and references which in itself is so much to pick up on. It is an enthralling experience hence a cinephile's paradise.

The Uniqueness

The Uniqueness

With Kaithi and to an extent with Master as well, it was established that Kanagaraj is a master of designing and executing unique sequences with unorthodox camera work. But with Vikram, that is multiplied times 100. The movement of camera in the interval fight scene between Haasan's Vikram and the bad guys is so beautifully shot that you can just sit and marvel at it. The sequences where Sandhanam takes drugs and the instant effect it has on him is masterfully shown with rapid camera moves and almost dizzying lights and angles. Even in the first half, there are some fantastic shots of transitions of characters done with Vikram and Amar (Fahadh Faasil). But the absolute scene stealer moment for me (as I saw it in Hindi) was when Raj Kapoor's Awara plays in the background and Sethupathi's Sandhanam almost walks like Raj Kapoor being totally high.

The Underwhelming Aspects

The Underwhelming Aspects

As mentioned earlier, it isn't that Vikram is perfect. In fact, it is not even close. For instance, to be bloating the screenplay with multiple storylines was understandable but the treatment of the same, especially in the first 40 odd minutes seems like a drag. The twist at interval is probably the most predictable one even if you are not a suspense junkie. Like even a first-time movie watcher can crack it. The build-up and big reveal to that seemed underwhelming. And while Sethupathi's Sandhanam is one of the best acted roles, it is a huge question as to what do I have to feel for that character? Having established him as a totally eccentric character who becomes stronger than Mike Tyson when he consumes meth, his character seems to have no redeeming qualities but still shows an obvious weakness towards his three wives and large family. Vikram also faces the same problem all other big-ticket action flicks face - a believable and at the same time, genuine emotional arc. Vikram tries hard, terribly hard to do that with Haasan and the little child which is a constant. But inspite of that, the outcome isn't as strong except for in a couple of scenes.

The Music & BGM

The Music & BGM

Thank God for Anirudh Ravichander. The young musician is now almost a legend with his back-to-back bangers in multiple films but Vikram is easily amongst his best. The choice of having multiple English lyrics in songs with rousing music was an extraordinary move. A vast majority of the underwhelming scenes become tolerable owing to the fantastic choice of music and background score. Once Upon a Time, Vikram Title Theme and even Wasted are adrenaline-rushing and their inclusion in the novel action sequences make the thrills and the scene a lot of fun.

The Acting

Fahadh Faasil

Fahadh Faasil

Why even bother with this category when you have legends we are talking about here. Still, let's just put it out there that none of these three acting phenomenons disappoint one bit. It is so fascinating that, in fact, in the first half, Haasan is barely there and it almost entirely belongs to Faasil. The latter being the stupendous performer he is - does a brilliant job inspite of not having the same traits and colors like that of his counterparts. 

Vijay Sethupathi

Vijay Sethupathi

Sethupathi must be having an absolute blast as an actor playing Sandhanam. There is no limit to the character and his eccentricities, atrocities is the kind of colorful character traits Sethupathi would have craved for. The man does a stellar job with each and every scene.

Kamal Haasan

Kamal Haasan

And of course, the legend himself Kamal Haasan - he might be coming back to acting a four year hiatus but having done over 231 films (this is his 232nd), you wouldn't expect him to miss one beat and obviously, he doesn't. Haasan skilfully transitions from being an emotional man, a drunkard to the hero with sheer swagger. He looks fantastic even at this age and when he kills everyone alone - I buy it.

As known, another stalwart Suriya has a cameo and it was all kinds of fantastic. It also opens the doors for Vikram to have a continuation ahead.

The supporting cast also does a stellar job with their characters, especially the female actor who plays Agent Tina. Her scene (that one scene) in the film is going to be immensely memorable, I bet you!

The Verdict

Having assembled the Avengers of South Cinema, Vikram justifies its ambition almost perfectly and even if it isn't perfect, it is all kinds of absolute rollicking fun.

Rating - **** (4/5)


Kamal Haasan Suriya Vijay Sethupathi Fahadh Faasil Vikram 


Comments (6)

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WildestDreams
WildestDreams 2 months ago Reading amazing reviews for this one! I might watch it soon in Hindi!
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bahi.
bahi. 2 months ago heard so much good about this movie
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Shravani95
Shravani95 2 months ago Wtever the role vJS will outdistance everyone
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Shravani95
Shravani95 2 months ago Vikram is combo of all unique actors
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priya185
priya185 2 months ago suriya fans are making this movie trend
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