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When Kamal Haasan (nearly) made a Bond movie

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Forward of the brand new ‘Vikram’ directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, we make a journey down reminiscence lane to take a look at the unique 1986 movie and what it meant to individuals who grew up within the 90s

Forward of the brand new ‘Vikram’ directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, we make a journey down reminiscence lane to take a look at the unique 1986 movie and what it meant to individuals who grew up within the 90s

Films you uncover by yourself throughout childhood are inclined to have a long-lasting influence. You get emotionally hooked up to these films which afterward act as gateways to nostalgia, reflecting the phases of life and the innocence that comes with it. As you get older, your style and sensibilities change however you continue to have a tender spot for the films you noticed as a baby. You continue to really feel for such movies. For individuals who grew up within the Nineteen Nineties, the Kamal Haasan-starrer Vikram was one such discovery.

Watching Kamal in silhouette as a quasi-Bond within the title monitor of Vikram sealed the deal for many of us. Our fascination additionally comes from the truth that it was the time when video video games consoles — those that got here in cassettes — had been penetrating our lives. Vikram felt like a type of cool video games you by no means needed to finish, particularly the movie’s Salamia portion. Even Ilaiyaraaja’s background music had that online game sound. What continues to be etched in reminiscence are the a number of explosions that occur within the movie (which felt actual) and the flamboyant props together with the missile named Agni Putra.

A Bond film with a Tamil flavour

Lots of people nonetheless haven’t seen Vikram. For his or her profit, the movie is about an clever agent Arun Kumar Vikram (performed by Kamal Haasan) who’s compelled to rejoin the company because of his private loss. Vikram is assigned a job to retrieve a lacking nuclear missile, which is within the fingers of Sugirtharaj (Sathyaraj) who seeks asylum in a fictional kingdom known as Salamia.

Because the story goes, Kamal determined to adapt veteran Tamil author Sujatha’s Vikram, which was printed as a collection in a well-liked Tamil journal. They labored on the screenplay, making an attempt to marry the coolness of a Bond film and the sensibilities of Tamil cinema.

Directed by Rajashekar, the movie was a industrial success. However, over time, Kamal has been a caustic critic and has usually been dismissive of Vikram, saying that it was “diluted for the Kodambakkam viewers”. He mentioned one thing to the impact of this: “Think about Bond being assigned a job and earlier than he will get on the mission, he has to cease by a temple and break coconut for Lord Ganesh. That’s what occurred to Vikram (sic).” You get why.

Revisiting Vikram right now, with out the load of childhood and nostalgia, didn’t make sense. Clearly it has stood the take a look at of time, not like a few of Kamal’s different works. The rationale might be the screenplay written by Sujatha and Kamal. You see the imaginative and prescient that they’d, however you additionally solely see the concepts. The movie right now offers you the texture of being overstuffed with ideas for 2 sorts of movies: an uber-cool Bond film within the first half and a madcap action-adventure just like the Indiana Jones or Mad Max collection within the second half. Vikram ended up being neither right here nor there. Maybe a extra competent filmmaker could have managed to bridge this screenplay hole. And Rajashekar was by no means Kamal’s first selection.

A quest for the fitting filmmaker

Even very not too long ago, when Kamal was requested about Rajashekar’s legacy on the Vikram press meet, he gave a measured reply by calling him a “nice industrial filmmaker”. “It [ Vikram] was Mani Ratnam’s cup of tea,” wrote Kamal in an article in The Hindu, celebrating 25 years of Nayakan. Maybe he was proper.

Motion is a style that Mani Ratnam has not executed in his decades-long profession. The closest he obtained was Thiruda Thiruda. Had Mani Ratnam directed Vikram, we’d have even obtained a greater movie. However the grasp filmmaker wasn’t favoured by commerce. Rajashekar had that fringe of a “commercially-successful” director, having simply delivered a blockbuster in Kaaki Sattai the 12 months previous Vikram. In actual fact, one suspects Kaaki Sattai was the explanation Kamal went to Rajashekar within the first place, on condition that the profitable mixture of the director-actor duo together with actors Ambika and Sathyaraj had been retained for Vikram too.

Thirty-six years after the discharge of Vikram, Kamal appeared to have discovered the filmmaker he was searching for to execute his authentic thought in Lokesh Kanagaraj. No surprise he has been selling the brand new movie left, proper and centre. Within the 231 movies Kamal has acted to this point, Lokesh has particularly picked an oddball like Vikram for a potential spin-off. This solely goes to indicate the emotional attachment he has for the movie, like most of us who caught it on tv and had been mesmerised by what we noticed.

A self-confessed fanboy, Lokesh treads a skinny but harmful line directing his display idol Kamal Haasan within the new Vikram. If he fails to ship, the autumn might be higher. But when he succeeds, followers of the unique would maybe heave a sigh of reduction considering of Charuhasan’s iconic dialogue proper after Vikram completes his mission — “He has executed it.”


There are fairly a couple of similarities between Kamal Haasan and Tom Cruise. The latter is hailed because the “final dwelling action-superstar of our era” and Kamal has at all times maintained that he’s a fan of motion movies. Tom Cruise’s Prime Gun launched in 1986, the identical 12 months as Kamal’s Vikram

Although each these movies had been completely different when it comes to their style and expertise, they share a typical trivia: Prime Gun and Vikram opened to blended vital evaluations however had been commercially profitable. Now each movies have a sequel/spin-off in Prime Gun: Maverick and Vikram (2022) , releasing inside every week of one another!

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