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Episode 111: Vikram (1986)

Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Vikram is just a week away and the expectations are immense for the film starring Kamal Haasan, Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil. The furor began in late 2020 when they released a teaser revealing the title accompanied by a sampling of one of the greatest title tracks by Ilaiyaraaja – Vikram from the film of the same name that released in 1986. The 1986 film was a mammoth effort in terms of scripting and production. A screenplay written by Kamal Haasan and writer/novelist Sujatha adapted from the latter’s serialized story and directed by Rajashekar the making of Vikram is as much of a lore as its aftermath, influences and the new film it has spawned (though not a sequel).

Vikram has Kamal Haasan as an intelligence agent playing the closest James Bond could come to Indian cinema back till that point (and after Jai Shankar in Tamil cinema). It also had Sathyaraj as the villain with Lissy, Dimple Kapadia, Amjad Khan and Charuhasan completing a roll call of who’s who from different language industries.

Guru aka Lazygeek/Subbudu joins us to talk about how Sujatha and Kamal Haasan met, their journey through cinema, their collaboration on Vikram, the production effort, how the film turned out and how it has aged. Joining him are Aditya and Anantha. Guru also reads a few lines from the Vikram novel as well as some of Sujatha’s writings on the making of the film. Listen on.

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Edited by Ashoka

One Comment

  1. Nisar Ahmed Nisar Ahmed

    Hey Trio. Was very interesting listening to your discussion about Vikram(s). I was 14 when this film was released and I have very find memories of this movie too. A few things which I thought was not discussed in the podcast:
    1. The opening sequence begins with a painting of doves and slowly recreates the scene in paint and transforms into actual movie. Kamal did this in Rajaparvai (in one of the interludes in Anthi Mazhai song, where Kamal will be standing resting on a tree and Madhavi will paint him and he slowly transforms into real and walk from there.) Kamal repeated this in Apoorva Sagidharargal as well just before Annatha Aadurar song. Very Kamal thing.
    2. The opening dialogue of the film where a media person asks the convicts who are carried in a jeep to say a few words – and one of them responds: mazhai peidhu, kodai thariya? Can’t think of such a line even today for that carelessness those guys have.
    3. After the interrogation scene, where that guy commits suicide from falling off the window, there is this another matter-of-fact dialogue: What do we learn from this? Kamal responds, “should not interrogate people from the 8th floor (or higher).
    4. Stunt director Dharma became Vikram Dharma after this film and he continued to work with Kamal in all his films until his death (Dharma’s death). He brought really fresh take on stunt scenes – can’t forget Satya for that.
    5. My observation overall (IMHO): The first half until the bike crashing scene into the theatre was at break-neck speed. Salamia really slowed down the pace and could not regain that first half speed in the movie.

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