**** SPOILERS ALERT ****
In early 2013, Director-Producer N.Lingusamy made an official statement confirming that Kamal Haasan had agreed to direct and feature in a film to be produced by his production house Thirrupathi Brothers. The actor had handed Lingusamy three scripts and the pair chose the most commercially viable option, with early working title of the film being BITTER CHOCOLATE. The project was eventually titled as UTTAMA VILLAIN in June 2013. In July 2013, Ramesh Aravind took over the task of directing the film from Kamal Haasan. It was later announced that M.Ghibran, who had worked with Kamal Haasan in VISHWAROOPAM II would compose music for the film. Shamdat Sainudeen and Vijay Shankar were also subsequently announced as cinematographer and editor of the project respectively. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Kamal Hassan, Jayaram, Andrea Jeremiah, Pooja Kumar, Nassar, Parvathi, Parvathy Nair and Urvashi; Directors K.Viswanath and K.Balachander has done cameo roles in the film. The principal photography commenced in March 2014 and the shooting was wrapped up in August 2014. The audio released in February 2015; the satellite rights has been sold to ZEE Tamil. Will UTTAMA VILLAIN be another gem in the crown of ULAGA NAYAGAN? Read on, to know!
Manoranjan (Kamalhaasan) is a Top actor in the industry, who does not have any time for family, love, sentiments or anything. He wants to do a film with his guru Margadharisi (K.Balachander), after encountering a personal tragedy and a couple of problems. The development of their new film UTTAMA VILLAIN and Manoranjan’s reaction to his problems forms the rest of the story.
First things first. Despite all the pluses and minuses of the film, UTTAMA VILLAIN will be one of the most special films for Kamalhaasan’s fans. There has never been a film in his career with so much of personal references, starting from the character of K.Balachander till the questions on his personal relationships. Also, there has been a lot of intentional and unintentional reference to his classic hits films and dialogues, which will be much loved by his fans.
The film starts so well and we get into the film more seriously from the scene where Manoranjan gives a shock to his guru at his home. The first half is well engaging and the problem starts with the second half which has very less energy. Despite the fact that the film is very well-made towards the climax, the second half is a bit dragging. #Manoranjan’s scenes stays so close to heart with high emotional content, whereas #Uttaman’s slow-paced scenes with some good humour and lots of laugh-less comedy turns to be the minus. To be frank, too-much of humour in Uttaman’s scenes lessens the seriousness of the Manoranjan’s over a point of time thereby killing the film’s soul to an extent; the CG work in those scenes were also poor. In a film where a dying actor has a last wish of doing the role of an undying actor, there is a lot of metaphors, layers and highly intelligent scenes and dialogues. As like most of Kamal’s films, it is not sure how much of the audience in the theater can understand / take everything of it. In the attempt (or journey, I should say!) of taking his audience to the next level / stage, Kamalhaasan has done a lot in this film too. But, the question is how far he has been successful!?
The biggest plus points of UTTAMA VILLAIN are Kamal’s awesome screen-presence, the brilliant performances and superb emotions all-through. There a lot of scenes that leaves a lump I your throat, for sure. Few scenes to quote are where Manoranjan reads Yamini’s letter, the scene where Manonmani reads the other letter, the scene where Manoranjan plays with his son and the climax. The dialogues and the heart-warming emotional scenes are the soul of the film. As like in every Kamalhaasan’s films, dialogues have been the best. The sharp, witty, fun-filled and highly intelligent dialogues will leave you spellbound; the way Kamal plays with languages and his prowess in vocabulary is adorable!
Kamalhaasan as Manoranjan and Uttaman delivers his best perfroamnce once again; the scenes where he looks at his children when Manonmani reads the letter and the scene where he meets Jacob in private are enough to describe why he is one of the finest actors in the country! It is so divine watching Legendary director K.Balachander on screen in such an important role; his character and performance is a great value addition to the film. Though appearing only in a couple of scenes, Parvathi does an impressive job; Andrea has done her part decently. Pooja Kumar in the role of Karpagavalli, makes us feel that there could have been a better casting in her role (at places). M.S.Bhaskar as Manager Chokku and Oorvasi as Varalakshmi has given one of their ‘Career-best’ performances; M.S.Bhaskar comes in a role that will be remembered for years and Oorvasi as the most worried wife bursting out in the hospital scores high. Veteran actors like K.Vishwanath and Nasser are big names not to be missed here.
Songs and background score by Ghibran acted as a strong pillar for the movie. Shamdat Sainudeen’s cinematography and Vijay Shankar’s editing has helped hand in hand for a great narration. Lalgudi Ilaiyaraja’s eye-catching set designs will be spoken much of! The CG works in Uttaman’s portions were so poor, not sure whether the reason was time constraint or budget constraint.
VERDICT: Not a perfect classic, but a great attempt! Watch it for Kamal’s awesome screen-presence, the excellent performances and heart-warming emotions.
P.S: Definitely, not for people who love #Kaanchanaa2 or #Aambala kinda stuffs. People, please stay at home. You can celebrate it after a decade!
Review by: Rahman
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