Behind the Movie Villain: Creative director Maniratnam is always a sensation whenever he arrives with a movie. ‘Villain,’ the dubbed version of Tamil ‘Raavanan’ is most awaited movie for a section of audience who thrive for a movie from this creative genius. To join Mani’s team are most beautiful Aishwarya Rai, versatile heroes Vikram and Prithviraj. Once again AR Rehman gets ready to give the best for his best friend and partner. With a crew of Santosh Sivan, Manikantan, Sameer Chanda and late Veturi; let us see who and what this ‘Villain’ actually is?
With in the Movie Villain: Superintendent of Police in forest region of Anantapur district Dev (Prithviraj) takes on direct attack with Veerayya aka Veera (Vikram), the leader of downtrodden forest living tribes. Movie starts on a great note with Raagini (Aishwarya Rai), wife of Dev kidnapped by Veera and his gang. Veera’s elder brother Singaraju (Prabhu) and younger one Chakri (Munna) help Veera to get Raagini into the forest with an intention to kill her. The fearless attitude of Raagini impresses them and slowly Veera gets attracted towards her beauty and simplicity.
On the other hand Dev starts his hunt into the forest for Raagini with assistance from his battalion and Gnyana Prakasham (Karthik), the forest guard. Now and then Raagini attempts to escape from the clutches of Veera but fails. At a point when Inspector Hemant, member of Dev’s troop was caught alive by this tribals; Raagini questions Veera about the moto behind her kidnap. Here comes the small flash back where Veera’s sister Vennela (Priyamani) is being cheated by her timid lover cum husband who hand overs Vennela to police forces who are in search of Veera. These police forces in the station rape her and poor Vennela is dead unable to bear the insult. Veera wants to take the revenge on these cruel police thus kidnaps Raagini.
Atlast when Veera’s brother Chakri is also killed by Dev in the name of negotiations, Veera enters direct battle with Dev. During the pre climax scenes, Veera leaves Raagini for Dev and travels back into forest. Dev in climax part etches out a simple plot to kill Veera by using Raagini as a pawn. What is this plot? Will Dev kill Veera? What is that special relation developed between Veera and Raagini? form the interesting climax.
Values of the Movie Villain: Story is a direct lift from ‘Ramayana’ exactly from the point where Raavana kidnaps Seetha Devi till the end of Raavana in the hands of Rama. Maniratnam can’t be the same as Valmiki. This modern Valmiki, Mani’s focus of script was mainly on other side of strory that is on the connection developed between Raavana and Seetha that is between Veera and Raagini. Story line is very thin to speak about, but narration of this story for nearly 2 hours is a brilliant effort from Mani. Although there are few loose ends, Maniratnam succeeded in gripping narration.
Major credits for Maniratnam team must be offered to Cinematographers Santosh Sivan and Manikantan. Extraordinary visuals with lushy green pastures, high peaked mountains, thick and bushy ever green forests, beautiful water falls, slight drizzle all along the length of movie and above all gorgeous Aishwarya Rai…hats off to these two people who made the movie kicking and alive. AR Rehman’s background was like a soul for ‘Villain’ while songs wise it was just okay. Art Work by Sameer Chanda was also good. Editing by Srikar Prasad was in tune with all other departments. Choreography by Ganesh Acharya, Brinda and Shobhana elevated the songs. Dialogues section looked very weak by Sri Ramakrishna. Production values of Maniratnam, Sharada Trilok and Madras Talkies were top notch.
Performance wise Aishwarya Rai outshines every body in the frame. What a beauty is she? Both your eyes will ask more of her close shots and she was brillaint to her role. The amount of hard work Aish kept for the role trekking those hilly tracts and remaining wet for the total movie with drizzling all over will make you feel the difference. Equal to Aishwarya was Vikram, the Villain who once again donned the role with so ease. Special histrionics developed by Vikram for this role will catch the attention. Prithviraj comparatively has got less screen time than the above two and he too was upto the mark with his manly looks. Apart from these three, though short and crisp, Priyamani was key to the movie and a big plus was her self dubbing. Remaining star cast Prabhu, Ranjtiha, Karthik, Munna were just apt to their roles.
Out of the Movie Villain: Every movie is a collective effort of various departments. ‘Villain’ too falls under the same category but indifferently a lion share of credit goes to Cinematographers, Music and Aishwarya Rai. The way Maniratnam has tightly handled the script with a small story line makes him again the winner. Ofcourse Mani has failed in bringing out the clear concept behind the rivalry between Dev and Veera and a sluggish narration here and there; yet he pulls of the movie by the presence of powerful lead artists.
Episodes which need special mention are:
1. Aishwarya Rai jumping from mountain creek to escape from Vikram.
2. Twist in the climax.
3. Priyamani marriage song and sequences.
4. Prithviraj and Aishwarya Rai song.
Movie starts on good note and leads to interval just with brillaince of Maniratnam’s taking nothing much happening with the story; it is second half where exactly story telling gets the momentum leading to an interetsing climax. If Mani’s entire technical crew, Aishwarya’s beauty, Vikram’s acting skills are heroes for the movie; thin story line, sluggish narration, strengthless dialogues, lack of comedy may prove Villains for Villain.
Audience in A centres and especially die hard Aishwarya’s fans will enjoy the movie thoroughly while others may be slightly disappointed. Coming to B and C centres, it will be a neat escape.
Cinejosh Verdict of the Movie Villain: Mani’s typical and brilliant depiction of Villain and Heroine in Ramayana
Reviewed by Srivaas