Tag Archives: K. Balachandar

Uttama Villain Review

Uttama Villain Review – Uttama Villain is a Tamil comedy drama released in 2015. Manoranjan is a leading actor in the film industry and takes everything in his life for granted. When he learns he is suffering from brain tumor and will die soon he tries to set everything in his dysfunctional life.

Well many of you might have already seen the movie. And it did not get great reviews across from the box office. I liked whatever Uttama Villain had to offer. It is a very bold move by Kamal Hassan to act and produce such a movie. If you are expecting a commercial movie on the lines of Panchathanthiram, Sathi leelavathi and go in then you are in for a great disappointment. The movie is much different than many of the main stream cinemas you see today. If you are able to identify this difference then you would enjoy Uttama Villain. The most impressive part is the film within the film and the story narrated in it. It is very intelligent humor savored in the recipe of a fairy tale. If you set aside everything else in the movie this part alone is very much enjoyable. The performance of the artists in particular Kamal Hassan and Nasser is commendable. The movie draws a stark contrast of the actor’s real life and the reel life. The title is apt in this way, An idealistic hero and a role model for many on the silver screen (Uttaman) is in reality leading a dysfunctional life (hence Villain).  Although Kamal for the sake of the screenplay tries to explain the Villain term as “Toxophilite” (one his good at Archery, villalan), the deep meaning is very different. Kamal’s performance is very good and he does the characters with ease and a natural flair. The presence of K. Balachandar playing the role of a director is a master stroke and a fitting tribute to the Legend himself. As the movie shifts between the reel life and real life there is a strong contrast drawn at every shift. The fact that an immortal hero on screen is dragged into mortality in the real life is shown very well at every cut in the movie shoot. The movie does not carry any moral or social message but a pure drama exploring two ends of a spectrum. The art work for the sets and the make-up is a great plus for the movie. The dance sequence in the climax is made brilliantly.

Where the movie has failed to connect with the audience is the way it had been promoted and positioned. If Kamal Hassan had prepared the audience for a drama then it would have worked better. Kamal deserves applause for not falling into the trap of any stereotypical storyline. He has tried to explore the next level in cinema. Director Ramesh Aravind deserves a special mention for directing the movie so well.  Another item that would definitely catch your attention is the sound recording. It is so good and very immersive in nature. The hard work had paid off.

High Points: Kamal’s acting performance, Fairy tale storyline for the film within film, Experimental value, Sound recording and direction

Low Points:  Length of the movie is tad bit long, May not appeal to everyone, People expecting a slap stick comedy would be disappointed

Overall if you are in mood for a new wave cinema which explores different dimensions then you would love Uttama Villain. If you are looking for a commercial entertainer then this one is not for you.

Worth a Watchonly for lovers of new wave cinema

Over the shoulder shot

Over the shoulder shot is a filming technique in which a shot is taken in an angle that is gazing onto the character from over a shoulder of a different person with whom the subject is talking to. The back of the person, shoulder and the head is used as a frame the image of the scene. Although this sounds simple a lot of planning needs to go before this shot is taken like which side of the frame should the shoulder occupy and how much it should occupy so that the relevant emotions of the character in focus is shown.

This shot is very useful when you need to have the character not focusing into the camera and delivering a dialogue. Having the shoulder of the other person in the frame also intensifies the interaction between the two characters. Maniratnam had used this technique to a great extent in the movie Thalapathy for the interactions between Mamooty and Rajnikanth. It places equal importance between the two characters and also exemplifies a high degree of emotion.

The scenes of interaction between Mamooty and Rajinikanth were mostly taken as over the shoulder shot

Maniratnam had also used this in Nayagan to show Kamal Hassan’s reaction for his grandson’s question “Neenga Nallavara Kettavara” (Are you a good person or a bad person) over the shoulder of the kid. K Balachandar had used this in many of his movies to highlight the emotions in the face of the main character and also to intensify the scene. The following still from Ninaithale Innikum is an example of it.

Over the shoulder shot to intensify the interaction between two people.

It could simply be used to change the point of perception or to focus the attention on the main character in the scene. The following scene in the movie God Father is an example of this where over the shoulder shot is used to reinforce the presence of other people in the room and also focus is given more on Don who watches out of the window. The object of focus is in the center of the frame avoiding distractions from the right half enhances the focus on the action of the character.

God Father
Over the shoulder shot used in God Father to change the point of perception and avoid distractions

This can also be used for hiding the identity of the character like an unknown person not relevant to the plot talking to the main character or a mysterious person talking whose identity may be revealed later.

A simple and ordinary scene can be made interesting through the angle of the shot. The skill of the director and the cinematographer is involved in choosing one from a varied set of options for the camera angle. Over the shoulder shot is definitely a powerful one which has been used very aptly by many great film makers. Next time you watch a movie watch out for the camera angle in which a shot is taken.