VIKRAM VEDHA

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VIKRAM VEDHA
VIKRAM VEDHA

VIKRAM VEDHA is a smartly crafted, compelling action thriller!

Stylishly presented and designed like a puzzle, this modern take on the mythological characters VIKRAM-BETAAL is that rare thoughtfully written mass-entertainer, amidst the crowd of weakly scripted masala actioners that we’ve been witnessing over the last one year. Hrithik’s superlative act combines method and mainstream, which when coupled with Saif’s fine craft, brings out a synergy which is consistently riveting. VIKRAM VEDHA a glammed up, but an extremely efficient remake, which deserves to be seen. Recommended!

The Plot: Vikram Vedha is an action-thriller showcasing the face-off between a tough cop Vikram and a dreaded gangster Vedha. The film underlines 'between Good & Evil, what you choose, defines you'.

VIKRAM VEDHA is a Hindi remake of the hugely appreciated 2017 Tamil film of the same name, directed by the same duo Pushkar-Gayatri, and starring the dependable R. Madhavan and the supremely talented Vijay Sethupathi. Having seen the original, I wondered how engrossing the remake would be for me, considering that the twists and turns of this delicious thriller are already known to me. However, to my surprise, I was hooked to the screen throughout, despite all the familiarity and its longish runtime. Credit for this totally goes to the dextrous change of backdrop and characters from the metropolitan Chennai to an earthy Lucknow. Moreover, the scale, gloss and narrative of the original has been amped up several notches. Having said that, I admit that if you haven’t watched the original, you would definitely like this film more.

VIKRAM VEDHA’s strength lies in its consistently logical screenplay which is narrated in the form of a riddle that unfurls gradually, while posing a moral dilemma between good and evil, compelling you to analyse if there actually is a line between the black and the white, or is it all grey. Subtly conveyed through the change in the colour of Vikram’s shirts through the course of the film – from jet-white in the beginning, to light grey and then darker shade of grey by the end of the film – this metaphorical representation is one of the many intelligent pieces in this puzzle named VIKRAM-VEDHA.

The film starts off slow but picks up steam around the half an hour mark. It does tend to be slightly stretched in between, but overall, the writing is tight and reasonable throughout. Some commercial tropes have been included in this remake to play it to the gallery, which sadly, is unavoidable in a big budget mainstream movie like this one.

Full marks to the writers cum directors – Pushakar-Gayatri – for brilliantly executing a remake which feels fresh and non-repetitive, even to people who’ve watched the original. Lucknow as the backdrop hits just the right notes for this crime drama. The characters and dialect sometimes aren’t necessarily flawless, but mostly the whole vibe works in favour of the film. Even the message that the film conveys, is more symbolic and less spoon-fed, making this film even more appealing to the thinking audiences. Yet, there’s no dearth of moments for the masses as well, who get plenty of seeti-maar moments.

The high-octane drama is fast-paced, offering several twists and turns, and the stylishly choreographed action scenes are done pretty well, without veering into the monotonous over-the-top. The background score is solid and revs up the excitement beats. Special mention to the item song “Alcoholia”, which serves the ultimate pleasure of watching the fluid Hrithik Roshan dance in his full glory. I also liked the opening animation sketches narrating the original folklore of Vikram-Betaal.

Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan make a superlative pair of foes. It’s such a delight to see the screenplay and the superstars in perfect tandem. Hrithik’s screen presence is so charismatic that he owns each scene and every frame of it. His entry erupts the theatre into whistles and claps, his dialogue exude heft, his punches attract hoots and his moves leave you in awe. He defines the mainstream superstar in Hindi cinema, and I would go as far as saying that his on-screen personality commands as much pull as the great Amitabh Bachchan did in his prime. Playing the enigmatic Vedha, Hrithik Roshan steers clear of Sethupati’s version and just like he did with Agneepath, he creates his own original characterisation and vibe of Vedha, which totally works. Saif Ali Khan, on the other hand, brings in the much needed composure to the euphoria, with controlled emotions, fine nuances and an extremely believable character arc. He shines equally bright in this “two-hero” drama. The mood created with these two characters, who continue to face off against each other, is truly enagaging. None in the supporting cast really stands out, but they do a decent job.

To sum up, VIKRAM VEDHA is a worthy big-screen entertainer, which is watchable for its terrific concept, remarkable performances and novel narrative. Totally recommended, especially if you haven’t watched the original!

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