Why is there a sinking feeling that Uttama Villain will turn out to be a dud? This despite buzz around the film.
Uttama Villain, starring the Tamil actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan, has been in news for the longest time. Be it Kamal’s ambitious designs to tell a story well (he camped in the US for a long time for its production), its controversies (apparently there was much talk that Uttama Villain poster was a lift from one of the works of French photographer Eric Lafforgue and VHP asking for its ban for offending Hindu sentiments!) or its release-date delays, the film has been talked about a lot since its inception
Even as social media and Tamil diaspora wait with baited breath for its release (at the time of filing this story), here are some thoughts on why the film might not work.
Is Kamal Haasan now too old to play a romantic lead?
Kamal appears in a twin avatar of a big movie star and an 8th century artiste. There is no conflict with Kamal in his role of Theyyam artiste. If the trailers are anything to go by, one guesses that there is a parallel narrative of a Theyyam (a north Kerala worship tradition) artiste caught in a web of deception that looks pretty convincing. It is the superstar thread that looks weak, not because of Kamal Haasan’s acting, but because he just doesn’t look young enough to pull off a romantic lead. Paired with much younger actors such as Andrea Jeremiah and Pooja Kumar, he clearly looks out of place.
Will the narrative that goes back and forth in time interest audience?
A Theyyam artiste — does it ring a bell? Full marks to Kamal for deftly weaving it into the narrative but will it work with a largely young audience lapping up CGI-based Hollywood entertainers like Fast and Furious 7 and Avengers: Age of Ultron?
With horror film Kanchana 2 going great guns on the box office, two weeks since its release, and OK Kanmani too doing well, Uttama Villain might find it tough to dislodge the two.
Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan: Old wine in recycled bottle?
Not quite but there is serious challenge from the younger crop of actors like Vijay, Suriya, Dhanush and Vikram to name a few who have been giving box office successes for a few years now. Rajinikanth has been playing a vigilante even since one can recall. To his credit, Kamal has been playing a variety of roles and has a dutiful fan following in Tamil Nadu, much like Rajinikanth.
To draw a parallel, Amitabh Bachchan too has been around despite the Khans, Akshay Kumar and what have you in Bollywood. But to his credit, Amitabh has been doing unconventional roles for a while now (Paa, Cheeni Kum, Boothnath, Buddha Hoga Tera Baap and now the upcoming Piku). He has been consciously steering clear of a ‘romantic hero’ angle. Even when there is a romantic angle, at least he plays his age (remember Cheeni Kum). Isn’t it time that Kamal did the same?