Last week’s crop of films failed to impress much; and only made the audience turn back to OK Kanmani and Kaanchana 2. This week though, there’s stiff competition in store. Kamal Haasan’s much-awaited Uttama Villain hits the screens, along with the highly anticipated Vai Raja Vai.
Contrary to what its title suggests, Uttama Villain is not about an honest villain, says its hero Kamal Haasan. The title alludes to a man well versed in playing string instruments, and hence the ‘vil‘. Part social drama and part musical comedy, the film explores the concept of immortality. Kamal had a different title in mind when he wrote the script though. He wanted to call it Bitter Chocolate, but since he felt that he’d be called out for using ‘English titles’, he changed it to Uttama Villain.
As the trailer suggests, the film has two distinct time lines, both of which has Kamal and Pooja Kumar in the lead. The film boasts a huge cast with the likes of K Viswanath, the late K Balachander, Urvashi, Jayaram and Nasser sharing screen-space. Music has been composed by Ghibran, a recent Kamal favourite, while Shamdat Sainudeen cranks the camera.
As expected, some religious groups have filed petitions seeking a ban on the film, something Kamal Haasan said he was prepared for in a press meet earlier this month. “Controversies always seem to find me. With Sandiyar, Thenali, Mumbai Talkies…the list is endless. Even Papanasam has been in some trouble in the past. But I’ve weathered them all.”
Gauthami has worked on the costumes for this film, and is sure to receive applause for her extensive work. According to Kamal, the former actress worked closely with him to get the costumes right for the characters, especially for the portions featuring Theyyam artistes. “I’m greatly pleased with the work Gauthami has put in this one. There is a lot of room for mistakes in this film, especially since a part of it is set in the past. But thanks to Gauthami’s diligence, we’ve gotten it right. I’m sure she’ll win a lot of praise for this film.”
Uttama Villain has been censored with a U, and is dedicated to the memory of K Balachander, who passed away late last year. According to Nasser, the first scene between KB and Kamal Hassan will be ‘terrific’. KB is said to portray Kamal’s mentor in the 20th century portions of the film. What makes it more bittersweet is the fact that this marks KB’s last onscreen appearance.
Ramesh Arvind makes his Tamil directorial debut with this film and is all praise for his all star cast. “I’ve been lucky enough to have legends working on my film. This is Kamal’s script through and through. I am just here to make sure it’s executed right.”
What it has:
Kamal, K Viswanath, K Balachander…and Urvashi!
Two stories for the price of one; plus some stuff about immortality
What it doesn’t have:
Taapsee Pannu in a yellow dress
The children of four legendary artistes – Rajinikanth, Karthik Muthuraman, Ilaiyaraaja and Vairamuthu – have teamed up for Vai Raja Vai. While Aishwarya Dhanush directs, Gautham Karthik takes on the lead role, Yuvan Shankar Raja has composed the music and Madhan Karky has penned the screenplay. This being Aishwarya Dhanush’s second directorial attempt after 3, a lot is expected of it. A con film, this one too has a huge star cast, with Gautham Karthik, Priya Anand, Taapsee Pannu and Vivek in lead roles. A major portion of the film has been shot aboard a cruise ship and is fast paced, according to its director. Priya Anand has stated on record that her role in this film is by far the ‘best’ in her career and that working with a female director has only added to the experience. “I play a simple girl from Chennai in this film, but Aishwarya’s writing has given the character layers. I’m waiting to see how the audience will receive it.”
Gayathri Raghuram plays a supporting role in this film, and agreed to be a part of it only on Aishwarya’s insistence. Director Vasanth too has a major role to play in this film while Dhanush reprises his famous Kokki Kumar role for an entertaining skit towards the end, according to sources. Comedian Vivek too has an important role in this one and said that it was an honour for him to work with Aishwarya Dhanush and her crew. “I’ve worked with Rajini sir, Karthik sir. Now, I’ve worked with their children. I hope I live to work with Gautham and Aishwarya’s children too.”
Cinematography is by Velraj, a Dhanush favourite. Says Aishwarya of his work, “He is a man of very little words but his camera work is absolutely brilliant. Since we’ve known each other for a long time, it was very comfortable to work with him.”
What it has
Four star kids
The blessings of Rajinikanth, Ilaiyaraaja, Vairamuthu and Karthik Muthuraman
Move Your Body, ft Ilaiyaraaja
What it doesn’t have
The important Ks – Kamal, K Viswanath, KB
Two stories for the price of one
A huge budget