Vikram Vedha is a 2022 Hindi remake of the 2017 Tamil original, which tells the story of a trigger-happy but honest cop tracking a deadly gangster who is not afraid to kill. Saif Ali Khan plays the role of Vikram, the policeman, in the new movie. The original saw R Madhavan in this role.
Vikram is introduced as an encounter specialist working with the Uttar Pradesh police. He is part of a special task force whose job is to track down and capture Vedha. However, the presence of someone like Vikram on the team hints that the UP police’s real intentions are to kill Vedha instead of having him face the judicial system.
As someone who shoots first and asks later, Vikram comes with a clean conscience, knowing that he is taking the lives of bad people. He justifies his actions to Abbas – his teammate and friend from their police academy days when the latter expresses moral misgivings about encounters or extrajudicial killings. The character’s backstory informs the audience that his father was also a policeman and used to beat him with his belt – which was part of the uniform, for the smallest mistakes.
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However, Vikram learned an important life lesson from his dad that became part of his core belief – there is either right, or wrong, and nothing exists in between. This notion is challenged by Vedha throughout. His father’s death in the line of duty, when a criminal opened fire before the cop could, also explains why Vikram is happy to be the first one pulling the trigger. His relation with his team and superiors is pally, where Vikram makes it a point to know about his colleagues’ personal lives – like who lost a cricket bet, and who paid off their father’s loan.
The policeman is married to Priya, a lawyer, and their professions initially drive a wedge in their relationship when Priya starts representing Vedha, Vikram’s target. However, the two work out a compromise and get along.
Over the course of the movie, Vikram increasingly understands that nothing is as black and white as he might have imagined. The encounter he commits at the start comes back to haunt him when he realizes the victim was Shatak, Vedha’s innocent and unarmed younger brother. The cop also understands that the task force has been carrying out hits at the behest of Vedha’s rival from within his gang, who was bribing the officers. With his blinders off, he can no longer rest in good conscience and confronts his entire team – resulting in a firefight, in which Vedha helps Vikram survive.
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In the end, Vikram poses a question to Vedha, raising a moral dilemma of whether his current actions exonerate him for past crimes, or whether he should be held accountable for those actions. The two have a standoff in the final moments of the film, which does not ultimately show if the encounter specialist can take Vedha’s life, knowing all that happened and what drove the gangster to do much of what he did.