Movie Review – Uttama Villain

Posted: May 13, 2015 in Movie Reviews
Tags: , ,

I’m afraid I’m becoming a fan of Mr. Kamal Hassan. I’m of course a fan of Kamal Hassan but that’s more because of what Kamal is, as a person than as an actor. But this time when he was tied with ropes after his second ‘death’ and a huge wave takes him past I was the only one laughing uncontrollably in an almost empty theatre. The same had happened with ‘David’ where I and my friend Jeeva were watching the film and laughing for Vikram’s scenes. But that was different, I could safely disregard as Bejoy Nambiar’s genius. I could understand why people wouldn’t like David and why it won’t work as a mainstream cinema. But with Uttama Villain I wasn’t sure why it didn’t work. It’s understandable that it’s not a blockbuster material but it should have been at least a runaway hit.

uttama villain

Every time a Kamal movie releases, every time he makes a speech. It doesn’t make you feel worthless. On the contrary it makes you want to do what you want to do in your life. When in ‘Unnal Mudiyum Thambi’ he says to Gemini Ganesan that, “veliya oruthan sapatuku vazi ilathapo enaku sangeetham varathu” or in ‘Varumayin Niram Sivapu’ when he isn’t allowed to get into the house after haircut he cities a Bharathiyar verse. It boils your blood. He makes you want to be a rebel. He makes you come out of the cocoon and make your world dance to your tunes. I in fact even wanted to learn Bharatanatyam because of him. He is the only person who does Bharatanatyam in a manly fashion. What a genius he is.

What a pleasure it was to hear Tamil from Kamal. Thanks to Ramesh Aravind for doing that statutory warning voice over for cigarette. The first time we hear Kamal is when he talks about his mentor K. Balachander in that pitch perfect Tamil of his. It’s by camera zooming out of the projector, going through the crowd and finally to the screen. That scene didn’t work for me even though the idea was good. Actors were novice, the crowds shout were not passionate. There were scenes which were not acted well by extras. But the main cast makes up for it.

Entry of Kamal is that of a star vehicle but not a typical one. It’s not that we don’t find even the glimpse of him. It’s as if we see a star from the crowd, we would have seen a few times but we wouldn’t be sure until we see him face to face. That was how the scene was. There were few glimpses of him but we see him finally only on the big screen with ‘lovea lovea’ song. The song had Kamal overacting a bit, which looked different to how Kamal was in the rest of the movie. I guess that must be intentional. I’m not a fan of his western dance. But throughout the rest of the movie, his dance was phenomenal. The comfort level which Kamal has with his heroines is something extraordinary. Whenever he touches the heroine there wouldn’t be a bit of hesitation about it. The same couldn’t be said about other actors.

Kamal has this habit of going over the top in his movies. He was fabulous in this movie, the present that is. It’s as human a Kamal I’ve seen in recent times. Kamal has a fascination towards death. In Nammavar he explains about it quite a lot of times citing full stop as an example, when people greeted him in Kamal 60 saying that he should live next 100 years he said that he doesn’t believe in it and here too he’s much open about his death. He looked resigned, tired. It in fact makes us feel pity for him instantly. No one can make me cry like SRK and Kamal does. These guys can make any scene emotional. But this movie isn’t really a tear jerker. It’s a movie you’ll go out with heavy heart, much against what Manoranjan (Kamal) says to Margadarisi, “Padatha vitu pogapo elarum santhosama ponum sir” (people should go out of the theatre happily)

The scene where he sees his daughters’ photo through Jacob Zachariah and how his emotion changes when looking his daughter’s photo was fabulous. The way they had modeled Manonmani (Parvathi Menon) too was brilliant. It makes you feel as if she’s younger, of same age as that of Manohar (Ashwin). When Manonmani and Manohar go hug Dr. Arpana (Andrea) you feel as if she’s double the age of them. I don’t know how that was made to happen. Ashwin on the other hand was an excellent find. He does his part brilliantly. Everyone calls his scene with his dad just before the climax to be the best scene in the movie but for me it’d be the car scene where Andrea says, “inga irukura moonu amblangalum enakoru sathiyam pani kudukanam” (all the three men here should promise me). That was quite teary. But in the scene with Manohar I liked the way Kamal writhes in pain with his son on one hand and waving to the crowd on other.

I also liked the way how Arpana wasn’t disrespected for having an affair with Manoranjan. When she first makes an entry to watch the preview, the cameramen get excited to shoot her but once they get to know that Arpana isn’t a celebrity they stop taking pictures. Really? Won’t even the media be interested in their love affair? I’m not sure. When he gives an interview he mentions Arpana to come to the party. A lot of cameras would be focusing on him but he wouldn’t care. Is that Kamal’s way of saying, “I don’t give a damn.” Throughout the movie there are people who know about their love affair or people who don’t know. Except for Manohar nobody is really angry about it. That was a welcome relief. A man can love two women. It’s only the women who find it difficult. The way he had handled the angle was brilliant. Loving more than a woman and making it not dramatic and non Allenish is very tough. Kamal has achieved that.

It’s not just about these people but even Nasser, Pooja etc do a good job but even though we could appreciate it, we don’t get to have the personal touch which the other actors provide. Look how brilliant Oorvasi could be, especially the hospital scene. Both for K. Balachander and K. Viswanath it’s a cake walk. If Nagesh had been there I’m sure that he’d have done the character of Margadarisi in a much better way and I’d have preferred SP. Muthuraman for K. Viswanath’s role. It’d have satisfied the purpose of Kamal who was trying to have a real life resemblance from the cast. Muthuraman would have been more apt for Masala director part.

Some of the beautiful scenes would be the one where Manohar’s girlfriend thinks that Manohar has started seeing Manonmani. Manoranjan has one hearty laugh before his death. That along with the Iranya Nadagan music, Manoranjan looking through the window which has all the people whom he considers to be important in life, the way he removes his make up when his daughter gets to know about completely. Finally he’s without make up when he’s marred of guilt. How he gets into the villain part of the title when M. S. Bhaskar reads the letter to him. And it was also beautiful see people from all walks of life in the film. The driver, a muslim; his ex-lover, a Christian; his wife is a telugite, and a malayalee in the form of daughter.

Like all Kamal movies, analysis and various theory keep going on. To be frank I wasn’t much interested in the period setting part but as a dying man I was able to forgive him for trying to make us laugh. Few jokes worked too. I don’t know how it’d have been if things had happened only in present setting. May be the idea was to make people sympathize more with the character by trying to be funny even on the death bed. But the humor in the period part didn’t really appeal as a humor. It was a like a school play skit making use of only Nasser’s ear. See the irony with the movie. K. Balachander expired before the release, whereas Margadarisi gets sad because he couldn’t show him the edited version of song to Manoranjan. Nasser is the one who plays the comic hero but in real his son met with an accident during the shoot. Urvashi was an old mother who was supposed to be aged and deceased but in real she was pregnant and it’s said that pregnant women who glow as such.

Uttama Villain is definitely not going to go down the line as an epic movie like Anbe Sivam because it has its fair share of beatings but it was also not definitely half baked like Aalavanthan where we could see only ambition and no purpose. It’s one of the movies which one of you will remember for your own reason and nothing else.

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