Vikram & Vedha Character Arc In ‘Vikram Vedha,’ Explained

Vikram Vedha, a Hindi remake of the Tamil film of the same name, helmed by the same writer and director duo, Pushkar-Gayathri, is all about the big question: who is God, and who is the epitome of evil? Who is the right person, and who is in the wrong here? At the beginning of the film, it would be easy to point things out based on the jobs that people hold for the sake of their livelihood. We have Vikram, who considers himself the epitome of righteousness because he is a cop, and his job is to get rid of the so-called evil gangsters carrying out brutal crimes around the cities of Kanpur and Lucknow in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

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Vikram is a no-nonsense, brutal cop who goes after what he thinks is the dirt in the city that needs to be cleaned up by them. By doing so, he knows he is doing society a favor by getting rid of the so-called bad people who do all the wrong things as per the unwritten rule book on morality. Vikram also mentions that his father always taught him that there is either the right thing or the wrong thing. Anything in between is never counted. There are no such things as shades of gray when it comes to tackling crimes. At the end of the day, criminals are always bad people, and the cops running behind them will always be in the right. Vikram and his group of men are behind Vedha Betal, the dangerous gangster in Lucknow who happens to be on the run because the cops have managed to eradicate half of his syndicate. One of the few remaining is Vedha and his henchman, Babloo. Vikram’s actions stem from the fact that he is after Vedha’s gang because the man is responsible for 16 killings, and the man seems to be irredeemable. Vedha, on the other hand, surrenders himself to the police only to confuse Vikram. But he is sure there is more to what he sees in this stunt pulled by Vedha.

Vikram’s sense of righteousness falters when he sees his wife Priya, the lawyer who is representing Vedha. Vikram’s habit of being morally right because of his job makes him expect Priya to be the same and not fight for Vedha. But as a lawyer, she would do anything for her client, and as she states, every person, good or bad, criminal or innocent, deserves the right to legal representation. Cases cannot go in favor of the cops all the time, as Vikram expects. For Vikram, there is nothing that would distract him from the fact that Vedha is in the wrong, and he will always be in the wrong. Vikram opens up to the possibility of a gray shade when he realizes the man he had killed in the encounter was not just Vedha’s brother Shatak but also that there is a chance Shatak was innocent after all. It is the first time Vikram’s belief system has been shattered. All this time, he thought the mantra he was following was right, and he wouldn’t stop propagating it. Shatak comes off as an innocent man who only wants to do the right thing for his brother, and his unfortunate death also startles Vikram and makes him wonder if his belief system revolving around right and wrong may be flawed. Vikram is on his way to find out more about Vedha and his past, where many tried to upstage the man because he was becoming too powerful for many to fathom. They would want him to run out of steam, and this leads to plenty of power struggles, which eventually leads to a full-scale gang war. Even after hearing this story, Vikram is still not sure if Vedha’s words can be trusted. The man has killed 16 people, including a politician, whom he sliced into two halves.

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Vedha’s terror and the fact that he is indeed a dreadful gangster who has managed to win the gang war against his former boss Parshuram make Vikram wonder if the man is cooking up all these stories to gain some time for himself and rattle Vikram as well. Vikram has so far never believed in the concept that men who commit crimes have shades of gray in them. Vikram’s continuous conversations about the stories Vedha shares make him wonder if his thinking is flawed or not. Vikram’s sense of morality is also shaken when he comes to know that he might be wrong as well, and his talk of righteousness cannot be considered the only way of living. Vedha loves to play puzzles with Vikram, and he is successful in messing with the head of the man, who himself is considered ruthless amongst the cops. But Vedha rightly states that what Vedha and Vikram do for a living doesn’t make much of a difference. Vikram does it because he has the license to do that without understanding the consequences of it, while what Vedha does is considered a crime by the law of the land, and there is no way Vedha won’t land up in prison for it.

Vikram’s hunt for Vedha is just for the fact that he believes that no matter what stories he is being told, he believes that Vedha has an ulterior motive, which is to let himself off the hook by messing with Vikram’s mind. Though Vikram is quick to know that Vedha’s ex-boss and a person close to Vedha are the ones carrying out the extermination of his gang, Vikram finally understands that Vedha was probably right all along; there is indeed a mole that is sabotaging Vedha by getting rid of his main men. Vikram does his digging to find out who the informant is who is ratting Vedha out. With Babloo’s name coming out, Vikram has nothing to lose by informing Vedha about it. Vikram’s sense of ethics, virtue, and being a sincere cop is shaken when it is revealed to him that his friend Abbas, who was killed in a shootout, took bribes from Babloo in return for information about Vedha.

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Vikram’s understanding of everything he thought he knew had been shattered because he considered Abbas to be his friend, and he never shared this input. But again, Vikram is keen to know, even with the bribery revelation, who exactly killed Abbas. Vedha is someone who believes in the complexity of the nature of human beings and why they take the steps that they must to survive. Vikram, on the other hand, cannot believe his close friend had to resort to hiding this information. He does not know if he knows Abbas at all because now his sense of principles has been shaken to the core of his being. Vikram’s boss himself reveals, under strenuous conditions, that all of them had taken bribes from Babloo to trace Vedha. Without Babloo’s intel, the police had nothing on them. His teammates had to kill Abbas because suddenly he had a change of mind and, for once, decided to do the right thing, which did not go well with Abbas and Vikram’s boss. So, they had to kill him to save their necks. With Abbas’s death and its reason right in front of him, Vikram can only wonder what made things around him change, and he did not sense the change at all. Vikram comes from an idealistic school of thought.

Meanwhile, all these teammates, including his friend Abbas, switched sides because they had priorities to look after, so will Vikram consider them bad as well if they did what they did to barely survive? The sense of doing the right things and putting a label on people who do the wrongdoings—all of this comes at a juncture in Vikram Vedha when it becomes difficult to take sides. The viewers will be left to conclude and make a set belief on their own to understand and comprehend if Vedha is the right person here and if he deserves to be heard. Or, if Vikram is the right person here, despite knowing everyone related to the bribery charges is now dead, would it be the right thing to arrest Vedha? The overall theme of right vs. wrong, God vs. evil, and everything in between is beautifully explored by the writers. Only if it were this easy to choose between the two: the storyteller or the man who is listening to the story.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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