Vikram Vedha Review: Hrithik Roshan And Saif Ali Khan Deliver Standout Performances

Vikram Vedha review: Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan deliver outstanding performances

Vikram Vedha review: Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan deliver outstanding performances

A still of Vikram Veda trailer. (courtesy: Series T)

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan, Radhika Apte, Rohit Saraf, Yogita Bihani

Director: Pushkar and Gayatri

Evaluation: 3 stars (out of 5)

A remake is a remake even if it’s overflowing with style and swag. Banish that thought and calibrate your expectations accordingly and Vikram VedaPushkar and Gayatri’s revamp of their own 2017 Tamil hit of the same title, is a meaty mass artist that packs a punch.

Working with a script that has already paid off and banking on a pair of Bollywood stars who give a solid account of themselves, the directorial duo take generous advantage of the film’s cleverly put together resources.

Minor tweaks to the story, a drastic change in backdrop, and Hindi dialogue that alternates between conversation and philosophy allow them to craft a film that not only doesn’t come across as a drill once too often, but also has the potential to draw crowds. .

Saif Ali Khan and Hrithik Roshan face off in a battle of attrition packed with intrigue and energy, with an array of characters orbiting cop and criminal engaged in penetrating mind games. The two leading men, meanwhile, deliver performances that stand out amid the orchestrated din.

Bringing to life characters from a centuries-old folk tale and set in present-day Lucknow, the actors are helped to rise above the stereotypical nature of the two men – one a policeman, the other a brigand. urban ; one on the side of the good, the other against it – by the extraordinary situations and the questions of ethics and emotions around which the scenario is articulated.

Chief Superintendent of Police (SSP) Vikram (Khan) is drafted into a special task force and pressed into an operation to catch the devious and slippery Vedha (Roshan), who rules the underworld of Lucknow and guards the forces of order on their toes.

Vikram Veda begins with a shootout in which a few gangsters are killed, which triggers a series of violent clashes between the STF and the vengeful Vedha. The end of the violence seems near when the fearsome Veda surrenders to the police.

Veda’s surprise move is just the beginning. He’s got more up his sleeves than the cops anticipated. One of his assets is the lawyer Priya (Radhika Apte), who happens to be Vikram’s wife. A wife doing her job, her husband doing his and the two at loggerheads – this recipe for marital discord adds a layer to the story that sometimes takes it away from the hustle and bustle of the police station and deposits it within the walls of the domesticity.

Three times during the story, delivered as a series of flashbacks that spring from twisted and extended tales Vedha tells Vikram, the cop comes close to taking out (or at least outsmarting) the criminal. Each time, the latter convinces the former to hear a story rooted in his own life. Each story ends in fable-like fashion with a question of moral importance centering on right and wrong, the nature of crime, policing and guilt, and the dynamics of revenge and justice.

Inspired by the folk tale Baital Pachisi in which King Vikramaditya sets out to capture a cunning demon who repeatedly foxes the righteous ruler with riddles on whose answers their fate rests, Vikram Veda transports the mythical tale to the capital of Uttar Pradesh.

Lucknow, with its historic structures, plays a key role in the film, if only as a physical setting that gives the film a distinctive visual texture, just like Chennai did in the original. Vikram Veda.

At three specific points, the policeman is compelled by the Vedha to face an ethical dilemma regarding his role as a defender of the law and his firm belief that none of the deaths he caused were those of an innocent man. .

If you’re one of those who’ve seen the Tamil-language original, know that it’s basically a scene-by-scene, line-by-line re-iteration that’s 20 minutes longer than starring Madhavan-Vijay Sethupathi. . The film’s ability to surprise and shock is therefore severely reduced. But if you are unaware of the plot, Vikram Veda has enough twists and turns to hold your attention throughout.

Pushkar and Gayatri, perhaps the only husband-wife directorial duo in Asia, would do well not to tinker with a successful build. They not only rely on the same Sam CS background music to underpin the on-screen action, but also the cinematographer (PS Vinod) and editor (Richard Kevin).

While the cinematographer has to make significant adjustments to accommodate a new location and a significantly changed production design, the editor isn’t required to do much he hasn’t done. once before. But familiarity takes nothing away from Vikram Veda.

Thanks to a new setting – Lucknow serves as a surprisingly evocative backdrop to the fast-paced crime drama – and a new set of actors, Vikram Veda has its own color scheme. Despite its length, it never feels heavy or sluggish. The merit goes as much to the technicians as to the scriptwriters (the directors themselves).

If comparisons are to be made, however odious they may be, Saif Ali Khan does a much better Vikram. He inhabits the tough cop persona with conviction and exudes the outward toughness that defines the man and his mission.

Hrithik Roshan, who refrains from modeling his performance on that of Vijay Sethupathi, leverages his star appeal and screen presence to deliver the goods and more. It is almost impossible to do better on the inimitable Vijay Sethupathi. Roshan doesn’t even try and it helps him a lot.

With two major Bollywood stars powering the film, the supporting cast only suffers a touch. Anyway, Radhika Apte, taking the place of Shraddha Srinath as Vikram’s lawyer-wife, Satyadeep Mishra playing Vikram’s police academy classmate, SSP Abbas Ali (replacing Simon from the Tamil movie) , and Sharib Hashmi as Vedha’s enemy-turned-enemy Babloo, friend-turned-enemy, adds his mite to the film.

The characters played by Rohit Saraf and Yogita Bihani – Vedha’s younger brother and the girl in his life – don’t seem to have the impact that Kathir and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar had in the same roles in the 2017 film. only small moments in a gripping and powerful action thriller that knows exactly where it stands and achieves its goals with aplomb.

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