Uttama Villain Review - Kamal's Self Indulgence
Kamal Haasan alternates between experimental risky movies and low-budget commercial remake movies. The question in audience mind is which category does "Uttama Villain" fall under? In Uttama Villain, The answer is Kamal has blended them both and achieved mixed results.
Story & Screenplay
The film is about the life of a superstar with and without a mask. The film dwells in detail the super star's feelings, his journey and emotions. The story has two parts -- One is a movie within the movie narrated along the lines of Vadivelu's Imsai Arasan/Pulikesi. The audience thoroughly enjoy the comedy portions and appear to be well engaged. The other part of the story is about the actor Manoranjan. This part of the movie feels very much autobiographical -- the portrayal of mentor-student relationship between Kamal and Balachander, Kamal's love interests, the relationship and bonding between the step siblings. The movie's biggest lapse is in its screenplay, which fails in stitching together these two parallel tracks effectively.
There are 4 directors associated with this movie -- Balachander, K.Vishwanath, Ramesh Aravind, and ghost director Kamal. It is clear what must have been the role of Kamal Haasan in the direction front. Ramesh Aravind should be credited for handling the comedy portions very well. Scenes individually are engaging during the first half. The dialogues are intelligent, witty and poignant. The movie proceeds at leisurely pace to set the right platform before it reaches the interval. However, the journey to the climax during the second half is bumpy and not compelling enough. Ramesh Aravind as the director could have stepped up to his plate during the making by calling the "cut" after the scene is long over. He could have worked with the editor to trim down the scenes at the editing table. Probably, his hands were tied due to the reverence the director may have for the actor Kamal.
The Tamil audience used to seeing bloopers in the end credits will be going home confused. The scenes shown in the end credits are nothing but a repeat of the comedy scenes in the movie. At the risk of being predictable, Kamal should have gone ahead to showcase a tribute video for his mentor, Balachander.
Kamal's intention to make this movie as a tribute to the directors who shaped his career is evident. Balachander's casting is understandable and carefully crafted. We should thank Kamal Haasan for memorializing Balachander. The casting and characterization of K.Viswanath appear forced despite the veteran director's brilliant performance. Nassar is the only actor who is able to match up to Kamal's comedy timing and phenomenal acting. Some of the best comedy portions of the movie involve Nassar and Kamal.
Pooja Kumar as Kamal's pair in the period movie looks too westernized. Kamal shows his capability to still truly love 3 women at the same time in the movie. Urvasi as Kamal's wife is spontaneous and delivers a top-notch performance. Andrea as Kamal's illicit lover delivers a dignified and assured performance. Kamal yearns deeply for his true love from past. The audience could not invest much in Yamini's life. The entire track of Jayaram's role is also forced . MS Bhaskar does well as Kamal's manager. Parvathi Menon continues to impress even in her limited role.
Music and Technicalities
Ghibran's mature efforts in songs and BGM are laudable. Ghibran engages the audience with his background score. Except for one song "Single Kisske" in commercial format, rest of the songs are musicals. Kamal uses the "Single Kisske" intro song as an excuse to shake his legs with the pretty heroine in foreign localess. Kamal appears short and stout and goes over the top with his expressions and moves.
Shyam Dutt's camera work in line with the story, especially the differences shown between the current life and period portions. Lalgudi Ilayaraja's art direction mixed with computer graphics is extremely well done. Cinematographer has used his lighting intelligently to blend the real locations, large sets and background generated by computer graphics. These three departments have worked hand-in-hand. Kamal and Ramesh Aravind have kept the editor Vijay Shankar on a short leash. Many scenes go past the useful life just to showcase Kamal's histrionics.
Kamal, the actor, is the "Uttaman" and his Over-indulgent self is the "Villain".
Rating: 2.75 / 5