Villain : No Absolute Hero this Villain!
Release date: 18th June 2010
123Telugu.com Rating: 3/5
Director : Mani Ratnam
Music Director : A. R. Rahman
Producer : Mani Ratnam
Starring : Vikram, Aishwarya Rai, Prithviraj, Karthik Muthuraman, Priyamani , Prabhu and others...
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Mani Ratnam’s films irrespective of how they are and the talk surrounding them are seen with keen interest by critics and audiences alike. With ‘Villain’ he brings Vikram, who is a brilliant actor and beautiful Aishwarya Rai Bachchan along with his usual teammate A R Rahman, and a plethora of other India’s best crew. So how is this ‘Villain’?

What’s It About: Veerayya (Vikram) is a tribal leader who has some grudge against the District SP Dev played by Prithvi. He kidnaps the SP’s wife Raagini (Aishwarya Rai) to teach him a lesson. The SP starts searching with the help of few other characters. As it is obvious by now the film is hugely inspired by the tale of ‘Ramayana’. Few characters are inspired from Hanuman and Surpanaka too. However, a dance teacher by profession, Raagini keeps questioning Veerayya why she has been unnecessarily pulled into men’s fight and as the answers keeping coming at different times, her view of the villain keeps changing. But her quest to find answers for her questions takes her journey to a climax that raises the questions that few would have dared to ask on screen.

What is Good: The characterization of Veerayya shows that there was some effort into designing it. Vikram is excellent as a Villain who has enough questions within himself, but has the huge cover of villainy to save himself from showing any smoothness. Aishwarya Rai’s performance deserves some appreciation as she tries to bring honesty to Raagini. Their chemistry is worth a ‘dekko’ as it stumbles from hatred to anger to understanding to some extent a controlled love for each other.

It is good to see the step brothers of the film ‘Gharshana’ - Karthik and Prabhu on screen again, though they hardly have any scenes together. Priyamani, in the few scenes she has, gives an excellent performance.

Few scenes in which the hero slowly burns a newspaper, and the one in which a woman describes how she was raped show who this film belongs to. The concept of the film has to be appreciated thoroughly as it uses the maximum extent of freedom of questioning that is allowed in India.

What is bad: The first half of the movie meanders slowly, taking cues from the likes of ‘Apocalypso Now’, Cinematographer Santosh Sivan’s ‘Terrorist’, RGV's 'Jungle' and Mani Ratnam’s own ‘Roja’. The dialogues by Sri Ramakrishna don’t gel well with the concept of the film, as they sometimes are too vague most often.

The necessity to show Aishwarya Rai’s dances with one song, and showing the Villain dancing destroy the aura with which the film wants to move forward. Such sequences question the very necessity of having songs in film as the screenplay slows down considerably in the first half. Recently in an interview with the media in Hyderabad, Mani Ratnam said that his film is about raising ‘questions’. And it is only in the second half that he takes the story forward, brings the twists, and importantly raises ‘the questions’

Technical Departments: From the beginning of the film to its final ending, two technical aspects remain absolutely brilliant – A. R. Rahman’s music and Santosh Sivan's & Manikandan’s Cinematography. If the DVD of the film should be released with anyone’s commentary it is these guys who should be commenting!

Samir Chanda the art designer and Sabyasachi Mukherjee the costume designer did their jobs well too. Editor Sreekar Prasad must have had a tough time deciding what to do with the first half though he does his best throughout the film.

With these guys around one would think that this movie doesn’t need someone like Mani Ratnam. However few scenes have his mark, and the climax, irrespective of how the content of the film was, is stunning and spot on. Mani Ratnam dares to do what he is known to do.

Final Point: The film is inspired by 'Ramayana' and uses Raagini’s character to ask following mind boggling questions to those who can put their brains to work:

  • Is a man who doubts his wife a hero?
  • Is a man who never touches a woman, even though she is in his complete control the villain?
  • What is right and what is wrong, and who decides what is what?
  • Is there an absolute Hero or Villain? What is absolute truth?

While these questions might bother few people, Mani Ratnam takes the safest route of not giving any answers. He leaves the audiences in silence, with stunning Rahman’s background song ‘Egiri Po’(Fly Away) which is not included in the audio.

It is tough to rate this film, and yet to say that this film is going to be a great watch. Watch it if you are fan of all the big names attached to it, but at your own risk of coming out of a film with a lot of questions than answers.


123Telugu.com Rating : 3 /5

Legend:    5 - Flawless
                4 - Must Watch
                3 - One Time Watch
                2 - Wait for the DVD
                1 - Stay Away
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