Villain Movie Review

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villain – is Mani Ratnam

The master is back again after Guru this time retelling us the epic Ramayanam. As with any film of Mani Ratnam, the expectations are pretty high and when he combines with a power house of talent like Vikram the expectations only reach dizzying heights. To give company to Vikram, who plays Raavan(Veerayya) aka Villain, we have Aishwarya Rai Bachan as Ragini and Prithiviraj as Dev. The film also marks the reunion of Prabhu and Karthik with Mani Ratnam after Gharshana nearly two decades ago.

As we know at the outset the film is a modern take on Ramayanam so as in the epic Sita (Ragini) is abducted by Raavan (Veerayya) and Ram (dev) follows in persuit to bring back Sita. Dev is helped in his journey by Hanuman (Karthik). Here the Raavan is tuned into an outlaw who is hated and most wanted criminal for police who wants to get rid of him but the local people look up to him as a rebel as a hero, a veerappan like figure. When the life of veera is shattered by dev and policemen veera retaliates by kidnapping wife of dev.

While everything seems predictable what engages in the movie is the character study of the principle characters who as seen from the point of view of ragini changes as we move further into film. The good appears to look bad and bad appears to look good. She is confused as to what to believe and where her loyalties should be. In the end the director leaves it to the audience to choose who the true raavan/villain is based on her point of view. Though at the end its easy to anylize what has happened, sadly the journey i.e the film isn’t all that gripping and falters all along the way till the climax.

The first half of the film moves at snails pace and continues in the same vein till the pre climax when dev and veera face each other. The scenes aren’t fresh either we have seen them many times before and this further adds to the boredom. The heavy dialogues and vikram’s telugu only makes things worst.

Vikram is in full form as veera. The way he changes the mood from anger to sorrow to love is just marvellous. His breakdown during the flashback, his confrontation with dev and climax truly stand out. Aishwarya rai is the backbone of the film its through her point of view the film progresses and she does well. She starts of very irritatingly but as the movie progresses her performance also gets better especially in the second half. She looks at her goergeous best though. Prithiviraj fails to make an impact. Karthik and Prabhu does well, especially prabhu gets more footage and he uses it well. Priyamani in a small role leaves her mark as her character is the base for the whole film.

Now where the film scores heavily is the technical part. The cinematography by Manikandan and Santosh Sivan is just out of the world, mind blowing. They are the true heroes of the film. One could watch the entire film just for their work. Music by Rahman was good. But in the film only two songs are picturized rest comes as part of background music, which is excellent. Editing is where film fails in technical department, especially the first half. The songs choreography too doesn’t leave a mark like any of previous mani ratnam films, hence a big disappointment. Stunts are neatly done especially the bridge fight, its breathtaking.

Finally direction by Mani Ratnam on technical front is just brilliant. The frames that he captured on screen are very powerful and beautiful but it’s the story and screenplay department which lets him down. This would be his weakest film. The fluidity that one generally associates with a mani ratnam film is missing here. One just hope this is a minor aberration and he gets back to make movies like his normal self with his next venture.

Bottomline: A one time watch only, for people interested in cinematography

Rating: 2.75/5

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