Vikram Trailer out: Welcome back to the big screen, Kamal Haasan
It is with this sky-high anticipation that every update of Vikram was consumed by yours truly, and scores of other fans
Let me start with a story... It was 2018. It was just a day since I started work as an entertainment journalist. On that day, three films were released, and I was asked to review one of them called The Meg. The other two were Pyaar Prema Kaadhal, and Vishwaroopam 2. For the first time, in a lot of years, I missed out on the FDFS of a Kamal Haasan film because of duty calls.
While I rued missing out on the Vishwaroopam 2 buzz train, I believed that over the next few years of my career, I'd get to be up close and personal with a lot of Kamal Haasan films.
Well...That didn't happen.
Cut to four years later... We now have Vikram.
And it is with this sky-high anticipation that every update of Vikram was consumed by yours truly. Be it the reactions to the title announcement, which hit us out of nowhere, to the various posters that came our way over the next few months, every single element about Vikram had the one thing that went missing in a few Kamal Haasan projects over the past few years. That one thing was HYPE, and with Lokesh Kanagaraj, a self-confessed Kamal Haasan fan, it was always cranked up to the maximum. Right from the casting and crew choices, to the buildup to the release date, Vikram was unlike any recent Kamal Haasan project.
Remember that famous dialogue from Uttama Villain where Manoranjan's son expresses his wish to write screenplays that will show to the world the kind of actor his father truly is? Didn't all Kamal Haasan fans who have seen and exalted his works in the past want to do exactly that to a generation that didn't really see him much on screen? It wasn't enough that the laurels were in place. It wasn't enough that he had a lasting cinematic legacy already. The actor needed to reinvent himself for the generation he made films for ten years back... a generation that labelled him as the Bigg Boss host.
It is to this generation that Lokesh Kanagaraj already gave a Master and a Kaithi that gave the mass masala star vehicles an interesting new set of wheels. To the tunes of the era-defining composer Anirudh, Kamal Haasan was being almost relaunched of sorts. Some might argue that he went nowhere... but deep down we all know that a "comeback" was necessary.
And when the trailer of Vikram starts off with his baritone announcing that in a jungle that had lions, tigers, and cheetahs out for prowl to capture a deer or two, and there was just one person who decides how things turn out to be... No prizes for guessing who that GHOST was.
As the baritone gives way to scenes establishing the adversaries/companions (we are not sure yet, are we?) — Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil — of Kamal Haasan's Vikram, we not only heave a sigh of relief that the Ulaga Nayagan has worthy villains against him but also worthy actors fighting it out against their role model. When Vijay Sethupathi grins to show his teeth or Fahadh has that famed evil twinkle in his eyes, we know that Kamal Haasan had his task cut out to answer the questions posed by their performances.
The impressively cut trailer understands that Vikram does star National award winners Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil. We have scenes where we see why Lokesh needed these two actors to play the roles. One is suaver than the other. One is flashier than the other. One needs a mask to hide his true self. One uses his smile to do the same. It is this brilliant staging that allows our adrenaline to pump in faster just in time for Kamal Haasan's Vikram to channelise his inner Kuruthipunal Aadhi and manifest a Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu Raghavan to say, "Thaaa... Paathuklaam" in the face of obstacles.
Considering Lokesh, and in fact Kamal's propensity for weapons, we see characters brandishing various types of guns, knives, and the incessant raining of bullets with Anirudh's impressive score to boot is an audio-visual treat. And when Vikram uses a version of the "Periyamma", one is unsure whether we make the KGF connect, or we go a few years back, and make the Kaithi connect, especially with the shot of Biriyani. With various reports suggesting Kaithi and Vikram might be in the same universe, especially with Narain also part of the film, we can't look past this as mere coincidence.
More importantly, there are a couple of shots that add fuel to the raging speculations that Suriya is playing a cameo in Vikram.
There is no doubt that the confirmed presence of Fahadh Faasil, Vijay Sethupathi, Chemban Vinod Jose, Narain and Gayathrie, and the unconfirmed presence of Suriya add to the star value and hype of this bombastic film.
However, Vikram was... is... and always will be about one man. The man, whose solitary tear still moves us like it is 1982. The man, whose unbridled rage scorches our screen like it is still 1987. The man, whose guttural cries still pierce our heart like it is 1994. The man, who a lot considered a ghost of an illustrious past.
Kamal Haasan is back... and after watching this trailer with all its talk about lions, tigers and cheetahs, I know I'd be there at the FDFS on June 3 to see the man remind us all once again that he truly is the... GOAT.