Kamal Hassan-starrer Uttama Villain will open worldwide on April 10, a few days before the Tamil New Year, taking advantage of the long weekend. Also, with the school examinations out of the way, many, many footfalls can be expected in theatres screening the film.
Hassan, who stepped before the camera for the first time as a five-year-old child in the 1959 Kalathur Kannamma (with the leading stars of the time, Gemini Ganesh and Savithri), has acted in about 200 movies till now, but still feels that he owes his success to K. Balachander, who died last December. It was in his Arangetram (1973) that Hassan clinched his first adult role. Since then, Kamal had always looked upon Balachander as a mentor.
Hassan told a media conference here today that it had been his life's dream to act along with Balachander, and this opportunity came almost at the very end of the auteur's life, a man who is revered as a social crusader. Credited with discovering almost 100 talents in the South Indian film industry -- including the likes of Rajinikanth and Hassan -- Balachander's radical and far-ahead-of-his-time thoughts were woven into movies like Aval Oru Thodar Kathai, Apoorva Raahangal, Varumaiyin Niram Sigappu, Thanner Thanner and Ek Duje Ke Liye (remade from the Telugu hit, Maro Charitra).
Hassan said that Balachander had a very significant role in the Ramesh Aravind-helmed Uttama Villain (Noble Villain), whose other actors included Nasser, Jayaram, Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah and Parvathy Menon. Several of Hassan's films were now lined up, and some of them were Papanasam (remake of the critically acclaimed and commercial topper, Drishyam, whose Mohanlal character of a cable television operator will be essayed by Kamal), Viswaroopam 2 and hopefully Marudhanayagam (waiting for years to be made).
Pitching for simultaneous DVD-theatrical release and Direct-To-Home scheme, Hassan -- who had desired such plans for his earlier Viswaroopam but could not effect them owing to pressure from the producer-distributor-exhibitor lobbies -- affirmed that these were THE future of cinema.
Still a great method actor, Hassan has the ability to surprise us by offering sheer brilliance. For this writer, Hassan's hesitant steps as a Tamil boy in love with a Punjabi girl in Ek Duje Ke Liye and his delightfully broken Hindi, and as the Tamil don in Mani Ratnam's Nayagan are unforgettable. Works such as Saagar, Moondram Pirai and 16 Vyathinile have also revealed the master actor in Kamal.