Kamal Haasan’s Hindi-Tamil bilingual Vishwaroopam/Vishwaroopa, flagged off in Chennai last August. Afghanistan was recreated in the Southern city and Russians, Iranians and Africans playing American soldiers joined the star-producer-director-writer Kamal Haasan there for for the film. In November, the unit moved to Amman and Petra in Jordan, then New York and Michigan in the US in December. Early this month, the climax of the spy-thriller was shot at Mumbai’s Chandivili Studio. Kamal and antagonist Rahul Bose performed some mind-boggling aerial stunts designed by Hollywood fight director Lee Whittakar.
Rahul, who will be seen playing a baddie, 13 years after Govind Nihalani’s Thakshak (1999), is excited about the image turnaround: “Sunny in Takshak was bad, bad, bad. He killed six people and shot a 90-year-old man 15 times. He was sharp, single-minded, psychotic and insecure with no room for redemption. I loved playing him and he fetched me my only nomination for best actor in a negative role in Hindi cinema. But I have to admit that this character is far more complex and multi-dimensional. And it’s so much fun taking on one of the finest actors in the country,” says the actor.
Rahul also reveals that the film brings out a complete metamorphosis in his character as well as others on screen. “There are two clear halves in a film. Everyone changes, both physically and emotionally, over time. And I’m not just talking make-up and get-up, you have to see beyond the crazy disguises to the human beings beneath. It’s difficult to explain but it will be fascinating to watch,” he promises.
After working in Hindi, Bengali and English films, Rahul is delighted with his first Tamil movie. “My character speaks five different languages in the film — Hindi, Tamil, English, Pashtu, Urdu and Arabic. And on the sets we had a multi-linguistic group jabbering away in Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, Marathi and English. It was like being in a mini India and filming world cinema,” he says, recalling with affection Kamal’s silent and efficient crew quietly slipping into the US and slipping out before the NRIs were even aware he’d been there. Bose says, “Given the mass fan following Mr Haasan enjoys, you can imagine the chaos that would have happened all over had he not been so quiet and under-the-radar.”