When Kamal Haasan (virtually) made a Bond movie

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

Motion pictures you uncover by yourself throughout childhood are likely to have an enduring influence. You get emotionally connected to these motion pictures 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 mushy spot for the flicks you noticed as a baby. You continue to really feel for such movies. For individuals who grew up within the 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 kind 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 remains 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 pressured to rejoin the company on account of his private loss. Vikram is assigned a process to retrieve a lacking nuclear missile, which is within the fingers of Sugirtharaj (Sathyaraj) who seeks asylum in a fictional kingdom referred to as Salamia.

Because the story goes, Kamal determined to adapt veteran Tamil author Sujatha’s Vikram, which was revealed as a sequence 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 business 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 stated one thing to the impact of this: “Think about Bond being assigned a process 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 at this time, with out the load of childhood and nostalgia, didn’t make sense. Clearly it has stood the take a look at of time, in contrast to a few of Kamal’s different works. The explanation may very well 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 at this time 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 sequence within the second half. Vikram ended up being neither right here nor there. Maybe a extra competent filmmaker might have managed to bridge this screenplay hole. And Rajashekar was by no means Kamal’s first selection.

A quest for the proper filmmaker

Even very just lately, when Kamal was requested about Rajashekar’s legacy on the Vikram press meet, he gave a measured reply by calling him a “nice business 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 accomplished in his decades-long profession. The closest he bought was Thiruda Thiruda. Had Mani Ratnam directed Vikram, we’d have even bought 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 yr previous Vikram. In actual fact, one suspects Kaaki Sattai was the explanation Kamal went to Rajashekar within the first place, provided 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 on the lookout for to execute his unique thought in Lokesh Kanagaraj. No marvel 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 doable spin-off. This solely goes to point out 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 screen idol Kamal Haasan within the new Vikram. If he fails to ship, the autumn will likely be better. But when he succeeds, followers of the unique would maybe heave a sigh of aid considering of Charuhasan’s iconic dialogue proper after Vikram completes his mission — “He has accomplished it.”


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

Although each these movies had been totally different by way of their style and expertise, they share a standard trivia: Prime Gun and Vikram opened to blended crucial 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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