Filmy Talks: The Torture That Is Vishwaroopam

Vishwaroopam must be one of the worst films in the history of cinema. There is no doubt that I am biased towards these types of films because I’m so tired of terrorism and Muslim terrorists as concepts in cinema. This is why I resisted seeing the film for the longest time. I knew that I wouldn’t like it. And then the author of all-brown everything had to go and make that comment about the “feminine Kathak dance teacher that recites the Qur’an flawlessly.” That sounded very intriguing, so I thought “what the heck, let me give this film a chance.” But boy do I regret it now.

The issue is not just that film ended up stereotyping Muslims instead of doing the opposite. It’s also that the film was illogical, too long, terribly boring in parts and badly edited. Kamal Haasan was not able to pull off a Muslim character. Those few lines that he recited from the Qur’an had a heavy accent, it was obvious that he was doing this for the first time. I think that Kamal Haasan was only very good as the Kathak dancer and I could have simply caught that song on youtube. Why torture me with a whole film? In the scenes in Afghanistan, he looked confused and out of his comfort zone. And he looked silly during the action scenes.


And I’m so tired of filmmakers not doing their homework before writing scripts about Muslim characters. How many times do I have to say that a Muslim believes in the one and only God? But here we have the Wisam character calling out “Krishna” and in another scene asking “which God?” What is this persistence in Indian films to show Muslims as secret polytheists? Are they trying to send a sub-conscious message that Muslims are actually not Muslim? I come across this so often in Indian films that I’m starting to think that it’s being done intentionally.

And I was also bothered by the background music which was in fact an Islamic supplication. It was played as background to Muslim terrorists killing people or themselves. The lyrics were in Tamil so I’m not sure what they meant, but I felt insulted by the use of that music and the scenes where it was played.

I certainly don’t want to lecture anyone about what Islam is on this blog but I feel like I have to when I come across a film like this. I want to express that it’s very difficult for a Muslim to watch these films, which are full of incorrect assumptions about this religion. Although rebelling against and fighting evil and injustice is required in Islam, it must be carried out in accordance with certain rules. Fighting must take place face to face and the enemy must be informed about the intention to fight. Stabbing from the back is not allowed. Neither does Islam approve the killing of innocents, in fact, killing someone unjustly is one of the biggest sins in the eyes of God. So the whole concept of terrorism and human bombs are against the rules of just war in Islam. But unfortunately, the world has come to associate this beautiful religion of compassionate, faithful, courageous and just human beings, with the truly misguided hypocrites who call themselves Muslim. They have damaged the appearance and reputation of Islam and Muslims in such a way that Muslims are now seen as potential terrorists by many non-Muslims across the world.  And I’m tired of watching films that insinuate this lie over and over again.

Vishwaroopam could have been a good film if they could have taken the angle about the feminine dancer and his belief and expanded on that. The film could have delivered a nice message about how people are not as they seem and that we don’t have the right to judge others based on their appearance and their beliefs. But the film doesn’t have a message, it’s just a confusing series of events and distasteful characters.

I certainly learned a lesson, no more films about Muslim terrorists for me, absolutely not!

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