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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Uttama Villain – the battle between ‘fantasy’ and harsh ‘reality’….

The title Uttama Villain (Uttaman- Good Samaritan, Villain – Baddie) itself is an amusing choice, rarely do we come across such contrasting words coined into a title and to those who don’t know—Kamal initially started the film with a working title—Bitter  Chocolate which is again a coin of words with two contrasting qualities.

Not just the title, the entire film and its screenplay have been written in such a way that the transitions between the present portions of the Superstar Manoranjan who is battling with his death and the make-believe ‘Mrithyunjayan’ Uttaman who cleverly or luckily escapes from all forms of deaths –Snake bite, stick blow, king’s sword and the poisonous nail from the disguised Narasiman in the climax are cleverly fabricated in a screenplay that has minute detailing with emotional transitions between these two worlds!

One such example – Arpana (Andrea) who plays as the dignified woman who falls for the married Manoranjan says she cares for his wife Varalaskshmi (Urvashi)who is her patient but she too wants a respectful life—Arpana asks the other two men, a doctor friend and the driver to keep the secret and then both Mano and Arpana hug each other—may be they moved to a ‘love’ state , cut to the next shot—we are shown ‘Kadhalam’ song with Pooja Kumar which sums up what has happened in the previous scene. These kinds of transitions were present throughout the movie.

In another scene Uttaman is kicked into the river with his hands and legs  folded, there is no way he could escape but a fisherman pulls him out with a net and there he is alive, now the film’s director K Balchander appears and ask the crane to pull over, here comes the Manoranjan Kamal who  is bleeding from his nose which indicates that he is slowly dying and the camera moves to a freshly caught fish which is about to die—such symbolic representations prove that this film is not your regular commercial cinema with eye candy songs and racy fight sequences—it demands all your attention!

Another wonderful shot in the film is when Manoranjan asks his biological daughter Manonmani (Parvathy Menon) to read the original letter which he had written to her mother Yamini. As Parvathy reads the letter, she slowly gets to know the truth that his father actually loved her mom so much and he is not the cruel person as she  thinks—in a symbolic representation Kamal removes his Theeyam make-up and now his clear innocent face appears in front of her daughter

(Wow, this particular scene was so much endearing that it will inspire many future filmmakers to conceive such poignant shots)

In the next shot, Kamal’s son Manohar asks whether Manonmani wants a hug as she is emotionally moved and she nods with her moist eyes—there comes Manohar’s girl friend Parvathy who does not believe that both Manohar and Manonmani are actual siblings. When Manohar asks his father to reveal the truth, he mischievously moves out of the room and When Jayaram (step dad of Manonmani) asks him what’s this all about—Kamal says ‘go inside and watch it for himself’.

Apparently Kamal sees the whole site of Jayaram, Manonmani and Manohar through a glass window with a satisfying smile – there goes the dialogue “En Uthirathin Vithai… En Uyir Vithaitha Sathai… Veroruvanai Pagavan enna Poruthudivena” which conveys the meaning “ She is my daughter, she came from me, how on earth I would allow to call someone like you as her father” (Earlier in a scene, Parvathy tells Jayaram is her real father and not Kamal, as she always thought him as an opportunist who ran away from her mother).

The same phrase ‘En Uthirathin Vithai’ also comes as the opening line in the Iraniyan song which is about the demon Iraniyan who doesn’t want his son Prahalnathan to call Vishnu as lord.
Even the characterizations in the present and fantasy portions have some common factors, for example – in reality Kamal’s manager Chokku(MS Baskar) betrays him by not sending his letter to Yamini and also hides Yamini’s letter from him but in fantasy Uttaman or Cheran Senguttavan’s spy is very loyal to him that he keeps the secret until the climax where he says – “Engal Raja dhaan Uttaman aga nadithu ungal Mannaney kondrar”.

The screenplay writer Kamal Haasan maintained the logic in the fantasy portions as well—In a scene when the minister Gnanasampantham yells at the spy that whether his king is actually helping them and Uttaman immediately interferes ‘Rajavidam Amachair ippadi kettal enna solvathu enna ketu vanthrika vendama?’ and the spy humbly look down and tells him ‘Mannaridam naan ivalavu pesiyathey athigam’ –this is a lead for us to understand that Uttaman is the actual king.

The climax of Uttama Villain also ends up with the battle between the fantasy and harsh reality—in real life Kamal(Manoranjan) undergoes an operation to escape from brain tumor but he ends up dying. In fantasy, Nassar (Mutharasan) wants Narasiman’s role which was actually planned for Uttaman and he even placed the poisonous nails for the character, later they (Uttaman and Princess Pooja Kumar) throw honey bees at the king and when he starts scratching his own skin, he dies thus Uttaman’s ‘silly yet clever operation’ actually works out  in the fantasy world.

But in the last shot, both Uttaman and Villain ( Manoranjan)—in fact they have amalgamated into one as the dream film is released now and as an artist both have truly become ‘Mrithyunjayan(s)’, they are immortals through the applause of the audiences .

-Rajasekar S

You can find the edited version of the article here --->

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