Uttama Villain! A Multi-Layered Biopic - Connection between 8th century and 21st century

Uttama Villain! A Multi-Layered Biopic - Connection between 8th century and 21st century

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Some movies are very straight forward, at least the Tamil movies. It is either a good 2.5 hours’ time pass or it isn't. And there are some movies which try to break the common path and take the Road less travelled. And trust me; most of people from outside are going to criticize you for taking the unconventional path, because those watching from outside have never travelled. Such movies stand the test of time and criticism


àUttama Villain is one such movie, with not exactly the most complex of screenplays or the most artistic movie, for example Kanchivaram. Uttama Villain would be a very good example of a movie which does simple things differently.


As a longtime fan of movies, especially Tamil movies, I felt I should write about the movie, to let a wider audience understand the actual core of the movie. 


This piece of writing is a platter of my review of the movie, opinion, a dissection of the movie, the relation between 8th century and the present, and all the brilliant portions I noticed in the movieI strongly feel, understanding how the 8th century portions span out and how it is related to Manoranjan, is the key thing to understand and enjoy the movie. For certain movies, it just needs to sink in, for you to completely like the movie. Uttama Villain is one such movie.



What exactly is Uttama Villain?


Story of a current day Superstar with Grey shades. He is at the peak of his career with his recent movie Veera Vilayattu opening to thunderous response. Uttama Villain opens with audience enjoying the movie, and we are into the Single Kisskey song with some more than decent dancing by Kamal Hassan and Pooja. Kamal doesn't look awkward and I felt glad to see Kamal dancing after a long time, after Panchathanthiram to be precise. There are slight signs of aging, but the good news is, some years ago he was looking like early 30-s and now it's like late 30-s. So there is a long way to go to catch up with the actual age.


Akilanda Manoranjan, then receives two shocking news that turns his life upside down. Counting his days, he wants to leave behind a legacy as a super star and also as a person. What he does and how he does forms the rest of the story. I don’t want to dwell into the story; you might have already known or seen it in lot of other reviews



Uttama Villain! A dissection of the underlying brilliance and Multi-layered Screenplay – Connecting 8th Century movie with Manoranjan’s Real life                                                  


è And now, straight to the point. I’m sure you would have already watched the movie and know the story. There is a common perception about the movie. Everyone liked Manoranjan’s portions and felt 8thcentury scenes were completely random stuff just to fill in the movie-in-movie portions.  Read further if you think so


è Recap what Manoranjan sets out to do. He is about to die and goes back to Margadarisi for one last film to complete his legacy. Remember that Manoranjan was desperate and didn’t have any story to convince Margadarisi. He just starts off with a one liner of his own life


è Then they agree that they will make a comedy movie for the audience to have a good laugh by hiding their personal disaster.  So it is clear that Manoranjan doesn’t have a ready-made story to make, but wants to make a movie soon, and that too a comedy movie


è Now, here comes the brilliance, like a diamond concealed in a Metal box. You just need to open the metal box to unearth the diamond.  We are not shown any scenes where Manoranjan and Margadarisi discuss about what story they want to make, and it unfolds in-front of us in a concealed and subtle manner


è Name of the movie they make is Uttama Villain – An Oxymoron. Manoranjan stitches all the incidents in his real life, in the shortest time possible and comes out with the comedy movie. He portrays the Uttaman and also the Villain in Manoranjan as a movie.  Interesting? Read through


Manoranjan now has two gigantic tasks in-front of him – to make a movie and also the reveal the Uttaman in him in his personal life. His daughter should accept him as her father




Now the movie inside the movie, Uttama Villain


Characters in the 8th Century Movie and the Characters in the Real story


è 8th Century Uttaman, a folklore artist who supposedly escapes death each and everytime


Manoranjan the Uttaman, a talented superstar who tries to leave behind a good legacy and remain immortal as a person and also a star


è Mutharasan – King facing death very soon. Fond of women. Betrayed Sadhaya Varman to become the king with help of Sudalai Muthu


Manoranjan the Villain – Superstar facing death very soon. Extra-marital affairs. Ditched Margadarisi after 4 consecutive hits, to become the superstar with help of PC Rao


è Yamini, the first love of Manoranjan. According to Zakariah’s and Manonmani’s words, a brave lady who took on the adversities of life. Leading a lonely life


Karpagavalli, the princess. Brave lady (Maveerar Thamizhachi, line in the song). She is brave enough to control a tiger. Leads a lonely life


è Jacob Zakariah – Married Yamini after Manoranjan supposedly ditched her


Kaakaapu Sundar – One of the two ministers of Mutharasan who is by the side of Karpagavalli



è Ottraan – King’s Ottraan. The person who brings news about Karpagavalli to the King and also the news about King to Karpagavalli.  Well, I’m sure every one of you knows who the king is. It’s not Mutharasan. The neighboring country’s king


Chokku Chettiar – Manoranjan’s manager. He is the person who reveals the letter from Yamini to Manoranjan and Manoranjan to Yamini


Well, does it get interesting?  Then, read further to relate the 8th century movie scenes to Manoranjan’s real life story


Now, we are shown directly that Margadarisi and Manoranjan start off with the 8th century portions with a superb Villupattu.


è Look out for the story they are narrating:  It seems the story of Lord Arjuna getting the Pasupatha Astra from Lord Siva


With the story they are narrating, and references to “Ulaga Maha Kalaignan”, it’s clear thatManoranjan puts himself in the shoes of Lord Arjuna through Uttaman. Lend your ears to the dialogue “Arjunar Villain, Sivan Villadhi Villain”. It’s clear that he equates the struggle of Manoranjan winning the trust of Manonmani to the struggle of Arjuna getting the Pasupatha Astra from Lord Siva. Manonmani, with the swagger of calling Zakariah as the Hero, and Manoranjan as the Villain.  So, Manonmani is clearly the Villadhi Villain


è Now the story of Mutharasan: It’s crystal clear that Manoranjan scripts Mutharasan based on the Villain inside Manoranjan.

Mutharasan is a king who kills Sadhaya Varman with the help of Sudalai Muthu. He is fond of women .He learns that death is imminent for him and seeks immortality.


This is exactly the story of Manoranjan. He ditches Margadarisi with the help of PC Rao and becomes a super star.  Facing imminent death because of Brain Tumor Type 4. He seeks immortality and wants to do one last movie to remain immortal in the minds of the people



è Karpagavalli writes a letter to the neighboring country’s king seeking his help to free her from Mutharasan. Letter never reaches the king. It is through the Ottran and Kaakapu Sundar that the king gets the news and helps her


     Yamini writes a letter to Manoranjan and the letter never reaches him. It is through Chokku Chettiar and Jacob Zakariah that Manoranjan gets the news about Yamini


è Initially Uttaman is afraid of Karpagavalli’s tiger. Only after her words, tiger doesn’t harm Uttaman and he gets to ride on the tiger. It is after this incident that Mutharasan totally agrees Uttaman is Immortal


     Initially Manonmani (Yamini’s daughter), doesn’t like Manoranjan. It is only after reading Yamini’s words and the love between Manoranjan and Yamini, Manonmani completely changes her mind, and accepts Manoranjan. It is only after this, Manoranjan is finally satisfied within himself that he is immortal, and he affords a laugh. Remember he doesn’t even live to see the movie that he made and see the audience claps.


è Saagavaram song is an excellent song which seems to be the self-conflict that Manoranjan underwent before he finally decides he needs to make one final movie to be immortal. It is clear from the scene where Uttaman advises Mutharasan that best way to become immortal is to stage a drama that people will remember. It seems Manoranjan convinced himself that it’s the best way. Remember, he takes this decision, without consulting anyone


è Now again, a Koothu-inside a movie-inside a movieIraniyan Naadagam

To me, Kamal peaked as a writer here. Now they decide to make a Koothu.

If you know mythology, Iraniyan Naadagam is about the conflict between Iraniyan-Prahalad about why Prahalad considers Shri Narayana as his god despite being his son. So this is the real story of Manoranjan’s conflict with Manonmani as to why she considers Jacob as her Hero, and Manoranjan as the Villain


è This comes at the last part of the movie just after Manonmani reads Manoranjan’s letter to Yamini. Manohar asks if Jacob is her dad, she replies no.

Intelligently, the Iraniyan Naadagam will finish with Narasimhan dying. Is that Narasimhan? No. It is the end of Mutharasan, the Villain within Manoranjan. So Prahalad accepted Iraniyan the villain implying Manonmani accepted Manoranjan as her father whom she considered as Villain.


è And what’s the final twist? Uttaman is not a folklore artist. He is the king for whom Karpagavalli wrote the letter seeking help. He reconciles with Karpagavalli dressed up as a small child (Prahalad), portraying the re-conciliation of Manoranjan and Manonmani. This is revealed through the Ottraan, who is Chokku Chettiar in the 21stcentury story.


So, does that sound cool? Are you still of the opinion that 8th century scenes did not mean anything?


è The movie ends on a sad note, with Manoranjan dying, but he achieved immortal status by doing a comedy movie which audience enjoyed thoroughly. His children loved him, his wife, his driver, his father in law, his guru, everyone loved him, and the movie ends with Arpana revealing the news of death to his children, while others are having a hearty laugh watching climax of Uttama Villain. Ends without a fuss of everyone crying for him


è So what you think Uttama Villain means? Uttaman who is a Villupattu artist, Hence Uttama Villain. Tax purpose alright. The actual meaning is Manoranjan’s confrontation with the Uttaman and also the Villain inside him. Story about Manoranjan who writes a script with two major characters  Uttaman and Mutharasan with two different shades of the same person Manoranjan


Credits: Rakesh


Aala Vandhan

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