And onto the next release which is probably the biggest release in the Hindi market this weekend. With that I finished watching Vikram Vedha which is the official Hindi adaptation of the original Tamil film that goes by the same name. Bollywood has recently been obsessed with the Hindi adaptations which are mostly of films down South. The creativity in these Hindi “Adaptations” have often been zero wherein the films are either a frame by frame remake of the original or somewhere along the way they seem to have lost its core essence. And hence the fate of such films have been met with disastrous results that kept pushing the industry behind.
While I have been quite vocal about such adapations(or remakes, call them what you want) not being green lit in the first place, I was really excited about the one Hindi Adaptation Vikram Vedha. And there were reasons aplenty for it! Firstly, it was the Greek God Hrithik Roshan returning to the silver screen after 3 years. Secondly, the film was directed by the director duo of Pushkar and Gayatri who had also directed the original. So despite the Hindi dub of the original Vikram Vedha already available on Youtube, I was very excited about its Hindi adaptation(I have watched the original way back almost 4 years ago). So then does Vikram Vedha manage to impress, lets find out!
Story & Screenplay
Based on the folklore of Vikram-Bethaal(something that we have been hearing from our childhood) and the official Hindi adaptation of the original Tamil film of the same name, Vikram Vedha follows the story of a cat and mouse game between a cop and a gangster where the demarcation of right and wrong begins to fade. Now, if you have watched the original then you would know exactly what the twists and turns are. I had watched the original almost 4 years back and had absolutely loved its cerebral approach.
And so all said and done, this adaptation had big shoes to fill especially in terms of luring the audience who have already watched and adored the original, into theatres. And for that the screenplay had to retain its core emotion but also provide something new for the audience in terms of setup. And this is where the screenplay of 160 minutes scores. There is never a dull moment and I found myself engaged from the beginning to the end.
The writers(who are the directors here too) are very well aware about the writing material which is the strong point here. And so they do not really change anything just for the sake of adding something new to the drama. Many adaptations have been guilty of twisted the storyline which completely changes the core essence of the original. But here, kudos to the writers for not changing a thing. But the one thing that does change is the setting. So the entire script is lifted and shifted to North of India where the entire drama takes place.
The drama does open with an encounter which nicely sets up the world along with introducing one of the two protagonists along the way. The tension and the grip is well built up and maintained from the very beginning. The drama does gain momentum with the introduction of the other protagonist and from this point the cat and mouse game begins.
I cannot proceed with the review before throwing in some observations. And I do need to point them out because I haven’t reviewed the original film on my site Popcorn Reviewss wherein the similar approach did follow. So the next couple of paragraphs will contain spoilers – if you haven’t watched either of the two films then do skip to the subsequent paragraphs.
So in the very first interrogation scene, do notice the clothes of the two protagonists. Vikram, the cop is wearing a WHITE collar TShirt and Vedha, the arrested gangster is wearing a BLACK shirt. The colour of the clothes depict the personalities – the typical good vs evil. The surroundings comprise of black walls but there are rays of the sun seeping through them giving it a blackish white kind of a feel. This perfectly represents the drama which does follow where the lines between right and wrong begin to blur.
In a separate scene at the halfway mark, if you notice the colour of the clothes donned by the two protagonists are the same. Except for the fact that, Vikram’s clothes are soaked in rain water(the setup being that it was raining) begins to change its colour from white to off white representing the change in his thought process where his evils which are deep down inside him begin to surface. This while Vedha’s soul remains black. From this point, you see Vikram wearing grey Tshirts which is an amalgamation of right and wrong(ie black and white) which perfectly represents his character. Elsewhere another cop character(Deepak) dons a white shirt even though he has been instructed to be corrupt in the final act. The white represents his mind which is free from corruption yet he needs to follow the instructions of his superiors(a more subtle conflict in the larger scheme of other conflicts). This is the attention to detailing which has been provided by the writers here.
Spoiler free from here on so enjoy reading! The proceedings comprise of twists and turns which are interesting and engrossing at the same time. Yet there is an inherent sense of madness in the screenplay which continuously keeps you engaged throughout. The final act again does follow a similar trope but again it is executed very well leading up to a stellar final scene thst beautifully sums up the conflict of the film. This is in line with the Vikram-Bethaal folklore in a screenplay which is brilliantly adapted.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are cerebral yet massy and supremely impactful. The music is a rage and brilliantly captures the madness in the drama. The BGM is absolutely fire(its spectacular theme retained from the original) and heightens the drama excellently. The cinematography and art design are wonderful and they maintain a fine balance between the brighter and darker shades in the film that goes in line with its inherent theme! The action sequences are nicely choreographed as well. The editing is sharp which helps in maintaining the flow of the drama.
Director Pushkar and Gayatri are brilliant filmmakers from a cinematic point of view. Not only do they understand the pulse of the audience but they never take their intelligence for granted. It was evident in the original Vikram Vedha and Suzhal The Vortex and here it is no different. This is in the truest sense an adaptation and this is how an adaptation should be executed. They have also paid attention to details which enhances the overall movie watching experience. Their direction is top notch!
The performances here are splendid. Manuj Sharma as Deepak does an excellent job wherein his character oozes of innocence but with a twist. Satyadeep Misra as Abbas is first rate in a wonderfully restrained performance. Yogita Bihani as Chanda looks pretty and does a good job despite a limited screen time. Rohit Saraf as Shatak is bang on with his role and he does an incredible job here. Sharib Hashmi as Babloo is brilliant and his act is layered on so many levels. His evil antics veiled as a comedy was never an easy task and it was an absolute pleasure to witness him onscreen. Radhika Apte as Priya is natural to the core in a spectacular act. Saif Ali Khan had big shoes to fill of R Madhavan and he has absolutely killed it as Vikram. The shades of emotions which hevis able to bring to his character was truly commendable. And Hrithik Roshan had even bigger shoes to fill as Vedha(Enacted by the brilliant Vijay Sethupathi from the original, the role was previously offered to Aamir Khan). And he delivers a much grounded performance yet lining it with madness. His eyes do the talking along with his evil smile which makes his character so intimidating. His act takes the cake in what was brilliance in motion.
Vikram Vedha is madness and brilliance personified in what is a killer of an adaptation of the original. Available in a theatre near you and Highly Recommended!