The cult of Agent Vikram
After 10 days since its release, I finally watched Kamal Hassan’s Vikram, well er… should I say, Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Vikram. That’s how it seems to be, going by the screenplay, the audience feedback and of course, the Box Office collections. As I write this piece (after 3 weeks of its release), the film has collected over Rs. 300 Cr at the Box Office in India and wolrd wide. Plus OTT rights, of course.
Kamal Hassan’s Vishwaroopam 1 & 2 were anything patriotic, to say the least. His critics have always said the gentleman lacked clarity of thoughts in his screenplay, and political stance, later on. But that’s for a different article. Staying true to his age and image that he has created for almost 6 decades now, KH has sprung a surprise in Vikram, where he plays a disheartened father who loses his son to the drug mafia – just that his son was not an addict, rather a cop who uncovered the mafia and stashed their prized catch.
The film opens with a drunk+sober Karnan (KH) who seem to be lost in his thoughts. Enter Agent Amar (Fahad Fazil), an undercover guy who along with his friends help the cops unravel mysteries, where even the force avoids treading. Amar and his friends operate like common men on the road and try to dig deep in to the recent killings of two Government servants, one of whom is ACP Prabhanjan (Kalidas Jayaram), a cop. With a few clues here and there, they zone in on Sandanam (VJS) who and his 67-member family run a large network of making an ingredient which can then produce tonnes of cocaine. Fahad figures out that it was Sandanam who killed Prabhanjam, who’s father is Karnan, formerly Agent Vikram. How Karnan finishes off the entire mafia and the stash forms the second half of the film. In the climax, we see Rolex (Surya) who emerges as the big daddy of the dreaded mafia operating in Mumbai and assures to avenge the loss of his friends and the bounty. Lokesh sends us a signal that a part-2 may be in the making. Or like Viswaroopam, they have already canned a few scenes which could speed up production of the sequel (or prequel as it may be, like Ajit’s Billa).
Anirudh’s BGM is top notch, so is the cinematography by Girish Gangadharan. Philomena Raj has edited the 175min movie very crisply while stunts by Anbariv is classy. There are hardly any songs in the movie and even the ones are interludes or a montage, at best.
Now – why is the movie such a hit, with all the gory bludgeoning, gun fights, swear words and what not. Well, that is exactly why.
Lokesh has catered to the current crop of audience, the millennials – those born after the year 2000 which is now in their teens and above. Panchathanthiram and Vasool Raja were just released when the kids of these parents were honeymooning, probably. So, the KH they see in Vikram is not the one that many of you and me have seen in 1987. Illayaraja’s songs, Amjad Khan’s overtures, Dimple Kapadia’s dance moves, Lissy’s bold fight scenes, Janakaraj’s obscure comedy tracks and of course, KH himself at his young best is something that I bet 80% of the millennial audience would have never seen. The film hardly plays on satellite Tv. channels either. Vikram and many other such movies were a cult of their times in which KH excelled in many departments – acting, singing, fight scenes and so on. But there were no guns & blood.
Today’s generation is clued in to the likes of Squid Games on OTT platforms and one can see the classic following for movies like Mahaan & Jagame Thandiram with a similar storyline. Drugs, Mafia, gunfights are some of the peppiest subjects for the current generation. So much so that even Superstar Rajinikanth seems to be following the footsteps of his Artistry elder brother Kamal Hassan. This is the poster of Rajini’s next film titled Jailer. The pic says it all… We get what we want, what we deserve. Cinema is no different. Kamal & Rajini know this well. After all, they have been doing this for the past 50 years, isn’t it?