Vikram Vedha: A Solid Remake Powered By A Terrific Hrithik Roshan

Remakes are always a tricky business, more so when you are remaking Tamil and Malayalam films. The reason being both these industries have a certain grammar of storytelling. Having said that the Tamil and Malayalam industries have also butchered acclaimed Hindi films like Special Chabbis and Andhadhun respectively, earlier this year Siddarth Sen did a wonderful job in remaking Nelson Dilipkumar’s Kolamaavu Kokila. The director retained the core but at the same time upgraded it as well by setting it in Bihar.

Gayatri Puskhar’s Vikram Vedha is considered to be a classic and rightly so. The director duo used the Vikram and Betal analogy to create a new kind of cop versus gangster film. In the Tamil film Madhavan had played Vikram and Vijay Sethupati was Vedha. Vikram is a cop who has a very clear boundary of what is right and wrong. But his life turns upside down after the entry of the dreaded gangster Vedha. Vedha makes Vikram question his beliefs each time that they meet. The questions of Vedha form the crux of this multi layered story. The engaging narration coupled with Madhavan and Vijay Sethupati’s performances made this thriller an engrossing watch.

Much like the recent remakes here too you have original directors helming the project. The setting of the Hindi one changes from Chennai to Lucknow. The plot is largely the same expect that you have a fresh set of actors, Saif Ali Khan as Vikram and Hrithik as Vedha respectively. The character of Vedha in this one is also a bit massier compared to the original. Vikram also comes with his own set of quirks.

Much like the original the biggest strength of this too lies in the equation that the lead characters share. Both Hrithik and Saif get equal opportunities to shine. Yes Hrithik has the meatier part but Saif also stands his own as the cop who is forced to question his own morals. He particularly shines in the confrontation scenes with Hrithik. There is also some sly humor which the makers have added and the actor delivers it to perfection.

However there is no denying that Hrithik Roshan is the star of the show. As earlier said his role is massier compared to Vijay Sethupati and this works in the favor of the film.  As Vedha, Hrithik lets his eyes do most of the talking. His facial features and body language are a delight to watch. Hrithik is effortlessly menacing, ruthless and yet extremely emotional in parts. The Greek God looks have sometimes come in the way of people acknowledging the actor’s insane talent but with this role Hrithik firmly reestablishes his position as an actor/star who is not afraid to push the bar.  Much like the remake of Amitabh Bachchan’s Agneepath here too Hrithik makes Vedha his own. It is a treat to watch the actor embrace this rugged avatar.

The setting of Lucknow also gives the film a different touch. The director duo of Gayatri and Pushkar have done a good job in making sure that the localities of Lucknow are also an integral part of the story.  

The action scenes have also been choreographed well. My favorite bit is the pre-interval block where the police are searching for Vedha and you have Vedha escaping to a container yard. The confrontation that follows is a treat to watch.

Vedha’s emotional bond with his younger brother Shatak (Rohit Saraf) is also neatly done. It is not as effective as the Tamil original but still it does tuck at your heartstrings. Rohit Saraf is a great choice for the role. He brings in that required innocence. Special mention to also Sharab Hashmi, he stands out in the supporting cast as the ambitious sidekick. Radhika Apte hasn’t got a lot to do as Vikram’s wife with a different set of ideology, but their scenes are still good to watch

Coming to the flaws Yogita Bihani comes across as a weak link. Her love story with Shatak comes across a speed breaker unlike the original where Varalakshmi SaratKumar aced the same part. You also wish the makers had dwelled a bit more into the workings of the UP Police.

Final word- Vikram Vedha is a largely satisfactory reworking that does justice to the original. Hrithik Roshan is the garnishing that adds more flavor and makes it an appetizing meal.

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