Uttama Villain - Visitor Review

Uttama Villain - Visitor Review

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Writing a review for a film like Uttama Villain is truly an arduous task. Superlatives seem inadequate to describe the many areas of excellence in the film but the film has some major flaws that hold it back from being labelled the greatest film in Kamalhassana’s brilliant career. The supporting cast includes directors K. Balachander and K Vishwanath, Andrea Jeremiah, Pooja Kumar, Parvathy Menon, Oorvasi, Naasar, M.S. Bhasker, Jayaram and Chithra Latchmanan.


Plot Summary (Contains very low level spoilers)

Uttama Villain is an intense Shakespearesque muti-levelled portrayal of Manoaranjan, an aging actor who has made more than his fair share of mistakes in life in his single-minded quest to achieve stardom. Scorned by his son and tolerated by his manager, Manoranjan’s life seems already complicated. Manoranjan desperately wants to unite with his Guru, Marghadarsi (K. Balachander) although their parting early in his career was not on the most cordial of terms. Amid all this personal turmoil, Manoranjan was not in the least prepared for the revelation made by Jacob Zacchariah (Jayaram), a revelation that shatters his façade of strength.



Kamalhassan has had many memorable acting performances – more than any other actor I know – but his performance in Uttama Villan must surely rank as one of his best. Perhaps it is the plethora of biographical elements or just the sheer power of his expressions and voice modulation but it is impossible not to be moved by his performance in this film.

He gets solid support through powerful performances by K. Balachander, M.S. Bhasker, Naasar, Oorvas. Pooja Kumar and Parvathy Menon. What makes the characters more impressive is the depth of the script that etches out realistic performances that stand out from what commercial cinema usually offers. 


Screenplay and scripting

The script is witty, moving and rich in references to Kamalhassan’s other films and characters. There are no wordy or lengthy scenes but there are many electrifyingly powerful scenes. However, it is in the screenplay that Kamalhassan falters and staggers: The idea of a film within a film is an excellent one to provide juxtaposition and illustration of Manoranjan’s character but the scenes are too numerous and too long drawn out that they have the effect of interrupting the audience’s yearning to see how Manoranjan’s life unfolds.  It is this part of the film that prevents it from being labelled Kamalhassn’s greatest film ever. Even with the scenes, it is still a magnificent effort.



Shamdat’s cinematography is good in the outdoor scenes but disappoints with his indoor scenes and low-light sequences.



Ramesh Aravind does a commendable job with most of the film but is held down by the flawed screenplay. The visual effects were also well below par.



Uttama Villan could easily have been Kamalhassan’s best film to date had more care be taken with the screenplay and the technical aspects. Despite that, it still towers high above most commercial films and should not be missed.


Rating :8 / 10


Devan Nair

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