Vikram Vedha Hindi Movie
There is usually a set pattern to movies with cops and gangsters. An upright cop tries to cleanse the place he presides over by eliminating the bad guys. The plot line of these movies involves one gangster killing someone close to the cop, the police officer avenging that person's death, and so on. Vikram Vedha, on the other hand, is a movie without a conventional hero or villain. It is based on the idea that cops and gangsters are closely related, although they seem very different.
The cop in this film, Vikram, is not an upstanding guy. He does not have a city to cleanse, and he works within a morally twisted and corrupt universe. He uses his twisted moral compass to cover up his killings during fake encounters. In one horrific scene, Vikram asks a gangster who surrenders himself and begs for his life to tell a joke before shooting him to death. Vikram kills people callously but is also loyal to his job. On the other hand, Vedha kills people more as a form of revenge. The two protagonists' paths cross after one of Vikram's fake encounters.
In a pre-interval portion, Vedha casually walks into Vikram's police station and surrenders himself to the officers there. Vikram tells Vedha that he is right in killing people who deserve to die, but Vedha disputes this claim and tells the cop that they are the same monsters on two different sides of society. Gradually, their relationship builds up to a point where Vedha's riddle-filled backstories start to make Vikram question his sense of morality and conscience.
Now, I mentioned how callously Vikram shoots people in encounter killings. The same callousness does not extend to his personal life, though. Vikram has emotions and is a bit of a softie when around his wife, Priya, played by Radhika Apte. It is just that Vikram does not always let his emotions cloud his judgment.
The movie also has an interesting idea that deals with a potential conflict-of-interest scenario as Vikram's wife takes up Vedha's case as part of her commitment to professional ethics. However, the makers do not build on this idea, so we barely get to know what Vikram and Priya's relationship is like.
The movie has some of the same issues as in the terrific Tamil original. For instance, writer-director Pushkar-Gayathri does not explore the moral dilemma of the Vikram character well enough. Therefore, Saif Ali Khan's Vikram seems more like a cool cop than a fully-developed character. This is as much the fault of the script as it is that of the actor. This is not to say that Saif Ali Khan does a bad job or that the character is uninteresting. His combination scenes with Hrithik Roshan are among the highlights of the film, and together, they are a joy to watch!
Speaking of Hrithik Roshan, it is this actor who steals the show partly because he has a slightly better-written role. Unlike Vijay Sethupathi in the Tamil version of the film, Hrithik plays Vedha as a man who expresses himself more and is filled with rage. Hrithik's Vedha hardly cracks a joke and is like a raging fire that is about to explode. On the one hand, Hrithik's screen presence ensures that the movie does not become boring even for someone familiar with the story. But on the other hand, the lack of clever and humorous throwaway lines from Vedha deprives the film of a gleeful sense of fun. That is not a big issue, though, because of the actor's performance and his combination scenes with Saif.
Female actors hardly have a role to speak of, which is disappointing in a commercial Indian film. Yogita Bihani (as Chanda) and Radhika Apte (as Priya) have grossly underwritten roles and are mere plot devices here.
There is one really untimely song with gangsters drinking alcohol, and the whole soundtrack from Vishal-Shekar is disappointing. However, there is a propulsive background score from Sam CS that keeps us engaged in the proceedings as a sense of familiarity starts to set in for those who have watched the original.