Movie Review: 'The Villain' Is The Worst Thing To Happen To Kannada Cinema This Year

Karthik Keramalu
Shiva Rajkumar in a still from 'The Villain'.

The Villain was the most-anticipated movie from the state of Karnataka in the second half of 2018. And now that it is here, all I can say is I'm angry and sad that the film has turned out to be a bungled mess of stupid ideas. Director Prem has taken two of the biggest stars of Kannada cinema, Shiva Rajkumar and Sudeep, for a ride.

Both the actors get thunderous applause when they are introduced to the viewers via songs and dialogues. If that's what fans expect in movies starring their favourite demigods, so be it. These are petty issues that can be brushed aside once the actual story begins, I thought. But every line, every gesture and every scene in this nearly three-hour movie is written for the cheerleaders in the front row. However, I'm afraid that even they will begin to feel irritated after the initial volley of whistles.

Shiva Rajkumar and Sudeep didn't become stars overnight. They are terrific actors whose range has been explored in several movies. The cool cop you see in Tagaru (Shiva Rajkumar), and the badass villain you're afraid to get closer to in Eega (Sudeep) seem much better showboats for their careers. Those movies utilized the value of their stardom and the actors gave thoroughly enjoyable performances. In The Villain, though, when Ramanna (Shiva Rajkumar) jumps off buildings and lands on other terraces—in parkour fashion, no less—there's more disappointment in the air than excitement.

The Ram-Ravana conflict has become stale now. Unless filmmakers know how to use mythic characters to tell their stories (Mani Ratnam's Thalapathi comes to mind), they should stay away from painting their characters black and white and, of course, from calling them Ravana and Ram to signify the qualities their characters represent.

Ram (Sudeep), whose glances and on-screen re-entries are underlined by the "Raavana... Raavana" background music, is an underworld don who calls himself an underworld don. His tomfoolery makes it hard for anybody to accept him...

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