I love Kamal Haasan’s films and voraciously read gossips about his upcoming projects. He is no stranger to controversy and his latest movie Uthama Villain got the much needed attention as soon as pictures started leaking. As expected, religious outfits are demanding a ban on the movie. Kamal Hassan is a shrewd business man and knows to ride the wave and make money even out of controversy but I am not sure if he can ride the wave of negative reviews that have started pouring in.
He is a brilliant actor no doubt. I am willing to even call him Indian cinema’s living legend. After watching Uthama Villian, I want to ask him, what were you thinking? Everything was amiss about this movie directed by Ramesh Aravind, not just the editing or story line. Is there a lack of heroines in the movie industry that he decided to stick with Pooja Kumar and Andrea Jeremiah? What hold do these talentless ladies have on the talented actor that he felt compelled to cast them again. What a waste of precious talent like Director sigaram K. Balachander sir, K Viswanath, Urvasi, Nasser and many others.
To me this movie resembles an over thought but under executed project. This cinema is about an adulterous and vain cinema star Manoranjan, who when faced with mortality, wants to leave behind a legacy. Manoranjan is a typical masala king who runs around trees singing duets in foreign locations. But he was not one when he was a new star introduced by his guru Margadharisi (K Balachander). After they make a few good movies together, Manoranjan marries Oorvasi, the daughter of a rich producer whose sole target is commercial success rather than critical acclaim. Margadharisi refuses to make movies with big stars as he does not want to compromise on his story line to accommodate the halo around the heads of big stars. But Manoranjan is dying and this news is broken to him by Dr.Arpana (Andrea) with whom he has an affair (A hero on the screen and a villain in real life). He takes her along to convince Margadharisi to make a movie that will be spoken about for ever – A movie that will make him immortal. This movie inside a movie is set in 8th century and of course the hero of this movie is Uthama who cheats death many times.
There is also a daughter Manoranjan sired with his girl friend Yamini. A daughter whose existence was revealed to him by her step dad played by Malayalam actor Jeyaram. The love story between them was disrupted by the father in law with the help of MS. Bhaskar who has done justice to his role as Manoranjan’s assistant.
When ever I saw Pooja Kumar (Uthama’s pair) on the screen, it felt like someone was scratching on a black board with sharp nails. She has no acting skills whatsoever and lacks the elegance and grace required to play an 8th century princess. Urvasi has portrayed the role of a gullible, insecure and paranoid wife of a super star perfectly. Andrea Jeremiah is unfit for this role or any onscreen role for that matter. She comes and goes in glamorous outfits and that is pretty much it. Jeyaram comes for a few minutes but captures our heart while playing the role of the affectionate step dad and a dutiful husband who is on a mission to fulfill his wife’s last wish. Nasser is another actor whose potential was totally wasted. He comes as the 8th century king who is spurned by Pooja Kumar. He looked more like the court jester than a king.
Will this movie make money? kamal Hassan has hardcore fans who will watch it at least once. Will it get awards? No if movies are judged fairly. Kamal deserves an award for managing to convince distributors to buy the movie. Will a regular movie watcher like and appreciate this movie? I doubt it. Is it narcissistic? Very much. Yet another one of those pompous self indulgent attempts that have bankrupted many producers in the past.
This is pure lacklustre film making and I pity Margadarisi who was compelled by the script to say “Ennama perform pannirukkaan paarunga. Pinnittaan!”. KB sir was right all along. Good cinema cannot be made by stars with a big halo around their heads.
My apologies if this sounds blasphemous to some people but watch it only if you think you have 2.5 hours to waste watching Kamal take an ego trip where he tries to prove to you frame after frame that he is a great actor. A great actor shouldn’t have to do that in my opinion.
I hope to enjoy Kamal’s next movie Papanasam which is a remake of Mohan Lal’s Drishyam.