Hotstar is one of India’s biggest streaming services. In 2021 it was announced that Hotstar would be shutting down in the US and that the content would be available on a hub on Hulu. So if you are looking for Indian content, there is a good stash of it hiding in plain sight. There is, however, a caveat. Not all of the movies and shows have English subs yet. (I was finally able to watch the movie Sanak after waiting 5 month for subtitles to be available for it).
Vikram is one of the most anticipated and biggest Indian releases of the year, it is available on Hulu (with English subs), and it is worthy of your attention because it rules.
Vikram is an action crime extravaganza. Remember those 80s action movies where your asshole friend always pointed out the characters didn’t reload their guns and you had to remind them to not count the bullets and that wasn’t the point by throwing stuff at them and threatening to give them a noogie? Yeah this is that kind of movie cranked up as high as possible. There’s threats, secrets, action, blazing guns, large machine guns being used as unsafely as possible, good guys, bad guys, secret identities (holy hell the revealing of the secret identities and how they are done are one of my favorite parts of the movie), and so much more.
Vikram is 3 hours long and it has no flab on it. The time just flies and there’s very little down time. In some respects it’s like two different movies. The first half of the movie focuses on Fahadh Faasil’s character as he conducts an investigation into a string of related murders being carried out by a group of masked vigilantes. It plays out like a pacey procedural. There are some reveals that happen along the way, especially around the interval, so I won’t get into specifics on the second half of the movie. Fahadh Faasil’s character is still around but the focus of the second half is more centered on another character. The second half is all adrenaline fueled action. To describe the movie as being like 2 movies might lend a false notion. Vikram is in no way disjointed, the two halves of the movie work perfectly together, and things only get bolder and better as the stakes get raised, true identities are revealed, and all cards are put on the table before racing through the third act at top speed.
There are two things that should get mentioned. One is something that western audiences may not be aware of, but should. The second is not necessary to enjoy Vikram but will enhance it and viewers who love this movie will want to know.
First, Kamal Haasan, Vijay Sethupathi, Fahadh Faasil, the three stars of the movie, are all very popular, acclaimed actors and stars in India. One of them being in a movie is enough to sell it but all three of them in a movie is a big deal, similar to RRR. Obviously this is something that Indian audiences would just know but it’s good for western audiences to keep in mind.
The second is that the writer and director, Lokesh Kanagaraj, is in the early stages of crafting what is known as the Lokesh Cinematic Universe, of which Vikram is a part. A series of interconnected movies that all take place in the same universe with characters carrying over to other movies if and as needed. The MCU for action movies if you will. Vikram (2022) is named after one of the characters in the movie. That character was in a 1986 movie with the same title. Vikram (2022) comes after and directly references events from the 2019 action movie called Kaithi. Some characters from Kaithi are also in Vikram (2022). Each of these three movies stands on its own and you don’t need to know anything about the two older movies to enjoy Vikram. If you choose to go Easter egg hunting however they are there for you to find. I will say that if you like Vikram (2022) you should also watch Kaithi, which I also recommend.
Let me say this real quick. I am aware of the flaws in the movie. I could spend a paragraph pointing out criticisms. But here’s the thing. I don’t care. The sheer exuberant fun of the entire thing outweighs all else. Hell, I’m ready to watch it again and I may do so after I watch Kaithi again.
When I reviewed RRR I said, “Maybe RRR is the first experience you’ve had with Indian films and you want to know what to watch next.” If the action and spectacle of RRR appealed to you and you want to try another huge Indian action movie, Vikram is for you. Just like RRR I anticipate Vikram being one of my favorites come the end of the year.