The first thing that struck me after I watched Viruddh this Sunday was the seeming absence of songs. The opening credits had songs ofcourse, but what about the rest of the movie. Where was John Abraham doing a jig with his ladylove or the stare-at-the-moonlight-and-sing kindof sad song? There can be two ways of looking at this. Maybe, the songs are eminently forgettable and that's why you don't notice their absence, or maybe, they blend so well into the story that they never strike a jarring note.
Viruddh tells the age-old story of family love and support. As the subtitle suggests the family indeed comes first. A young and promising son comes home for a vacation from London to visit his aging parents. He gets into a brawl and is killed. His father seeks justice and leaves no stone unturned in the process.
While there is really nothing strikingly new about the story, Viruddh comes like a whiff of fresh air. You've breathed it all the time, but somehow it seems different this time. The first half especially exudes a feel-good air. You are introduced to a loving family. Old couple, typical dominating but caring wife. The husband is the archetypal devoted and happy guy. Normal, ordinary guy who gets scared when a bunch of young rowdy car mechanics setup shop outside his house, put an end to his afternoon nap and feel unapologetic about it. Same ordinary guy later shoots his son's killer with a steady hand and unflickering eyes. Splendid!
Amitabh Bachchan is fantastic. Growing up in a generation of Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, I never idolised AB and could never understand why my parents were so obsessed about him. Now I do, when I see the depth in his acting skills. AB in Bunty Aur Bubbly is the rustic cop, AB in Paheli is the eccentric shepherd, AB in Sarkar is Don Corleone and AB in Viruddh is an ordinary retired man, leading a happy existence, and completely involved in domestic life. In each of these roles, he has slipped into the skin of the character and created magic.
Sharmila Tagore is on screen after a very very long time. Alas! She is Kashmir Ki Kali no more. Time and age have taken care of that. But she excels in the role of the retired principal, who treats house like school. You are often deceived into believing that perhaps she is not acting in screen but enacting real life. She is sensible wife who tells her husband to keep down the phone and met her son when he is finally spotted at the airport. She is the loving wife, who talks to the car mechanics and ensures that they do not make fun of her husband. She is the strict disciplinarian who makes sure that 'Vidya' takes his pills, puts on his monkey caps and gets his daily exercise.
Sanjay Dutt is in a 'dynamic' appearance in Mahesh Manjrekar's movie. He plays the cameo of the car mechanic, who befriends the grief-stricken family. John Abraham doesn't have much to do in the movie apart from looking good. As usual, he doesn't disappoint.
Viruddh is an eminently watchable movie and the pace is constant from start to finish. There aren't too many boring moments and you would say 'Paisa Vasool' as you left the hall. The one thing that I’m still not sure about is: Where did the songs disappear???