Tag Archives: Panchathanthiram

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

Friday Fundas: Reaction Shot

Reaction Shot 

In this week’s Friday Fundas we would see one of the basic units of film grammar – Reaction Shot.

A Reaction shot is the one where the camera moves away from the main sequence to show the reaction of a character to the main sequence. It could be a response to a dialogue or an event in the preceding shot. Reaction shots are usually a medium close up shot.

The famous shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is a great example of a reaction shot. You see the killer approaching the shower and opening the screen. Immediately the next shot is the woman screaming and then the scene shifts back to the killer and proceeds from there. This might appear to be trivial. Now try to imagine the entire sequence without this single shot you would not feel connected to it.

Reaction Shot - Psycho

Reaction Shot – Psycho

The reaction shot is usually present in the shooting script. When the screenplay is written there would be no mention of the reaction shot but when the script is converted to a shooting script there would be mentions of reaction shot.

Usually this is determined by the director’s vision for the script.


In a comedy film the reaction shots play a very important role in making audience laugh. If you can think of comedy movies like Panchanthanthiram you would now be able to relate to some of the very effective reaction shots.

Usually the reaction shot occurs post the actual main shot. However many film makers have improvised on this to show a reaction shot before the actual main shot to make it more dramatic.

Jurassic Park - Reaction Shot
Jurassic Park – Reaction Shot

In the movie Jurassic Park as the crew is taken for the first tour around the Park they spot the huge herbivores walking around. Initially Spielberg shows the reaction of the people in the Jeep and then later shows the actual scene to which they are reacting to. This is the first time the audience see a full dinosaur in the movie and this just increases the anticipation and prepares the audience for something spectacular.

Few directors have omitted reaction shots on certain occasions to create a suspense that would be later revealed in the movie.

Sixth Sense Restaurant Scene
Sixth Sense Restaurant Scene

In the movie Sixth sense restaurant scene director Manoj Night Shyamalan does not show many reaction shots during the most part of the conversation Crowe’s wife’s face is not shown. Only later when she is signing the cheque her face is shown which works effectively to conceal the secret the climax would reveal later.

Whether reaction shots are present or not present they are very essential to the visuals. Effective use of it is elementary to an engaging movie.