Vikram review: Kamal Haasan’s glorious comeback lays the groundwork for Tamil cinema’s most ambitious franchise
Vikram review: Kamal Haasan’s film marks the beginning of Tamil cinema’s biggest franchise. Fahadh Faasil and Vijay Sethupathi make their presence felt with strong performances.
Lokesh Kanagaraj, with films like Kaithi and Master, is evolving into a filmmaker Tamil cinema needs to take seriously and celebrate. What he’s attempted and achieved with his latest film Vikram, which marks the glorious comeback of Kamal Haasan after a lull, is something that not many filmmakers can even envision, let alone execute. Read more: Kamal Haasan says he is glad audience is awaiting his comeback
A self-confessed Kamal Haasan fan, Lokesh not only paid a heartfelt tribute to his ‘guru’, with Vikram – a sequel of sorts to Kamal’s 1986 film of the same name – he teased the beginning of a franchise; one that could keep Kamal active for years to come. Vikram allows Kamal to have fun, and he’s helped by Fahadh Faasil and Vijay Sethupathi, who make their presence felt with strong performances
Vikram begins where Lokesh’s Kaithi left off. Months after the biggest drug bust Tamil Nadu police ever pulled, two containers full of drugs went missing in Chennai, and local gangs have to retrieve it at any cost before the crime lord and the leader of the drug mafia Rolex – played by Suriya – makes everybody pay. Meanwhile, a group of masked men are on a killing spree, taking the lives of some high-ranking officers, which includes a young official in the narcotics control bureau, played by Kalidas.
Kamal plays Karnan in the film. When his son becomes a victim of the gang, he sets out on a mission to take revenge. What feels like just another tale of revenge soon turns into a mission orchestrated by Karnan, who is introduced much later as agent Vikram – the original character essayed by Kamal in the 1986 film.
You’ve got to hand it to Lokesh Kanagaraj for bringing back Kamal’s highly-underrated agent Vikram character, three decades later; and using it so effectively in a story that couldn’t have been told better.
However, the film does falter at places and isn’t consistently engaging, but it manages to merge key characters from Lokesh’s earlier film Kaithi and sets the stage for what could be Tamil cinema’s biggest franchise in the making. What Lokesh manages to achieve with Vikram, which feels slightly long with nearly a three-hour running time, is to give a new generation of audiences a glimpse of Kamal Haasan’s versatility. It was rewarding to see the veteran shine after a long time.
If you can look at Vikram beyond some of its rough edges, this is easily the most satisfying love letter to Kamal Haasan from Lokesh Kanagaraj, who is his big fan. It is amazing to see Kamal warm up to a young filmmaker’s sensibilities and be willing to not hog all the limelight in the movie. For most of the first half, Kamal is nowhere to be seen, but he makes a solid impact in the scenes he’s present.
Fahadh Faasil gets the second most meaty part among the ensemble cast; and he’s terrific. Vijay Sethupathi continues to shine in peculiar roles that are best suited for his personality, and it’s refreshing to see Lokesh use him efficiently after Master.
Anirudh Ravichander’s music, especially the background score, plays a pivotal role in amplifying the overall experience of watching Vikram on the big screen, apart from the terrific action sequences. Suriya’s brief but powerful cameo is just the high one needs as you step out of Vikram.
Director: Lokesh Kanagaraj
Cast: Kamal Haasan, Fahadh Faasil, Vijay Sethupathi, Narain, Suriya and Kalidas Jayaram