Sunday March 1, 2015
Uttama Villain (Music review), Tamil – Ghibran
There is a strong undercurrent of interest in immortality all through Uttama Villain, as if Kamal Haasan wants to ensure that at least his body of work remains immortal. It starts with the magnificiently mounted Iranian naadagam, where Hiranyakashipu assumes he is immortal, till Vishnu finds a loophole. The song comes out better in the full version (at almost 8 minutes vs. just-under 5 minutes CD version) and ends with Kamal asking us to compare immortality’s pain to an endless story’s lack of listeners.
Then Uttaman kadhai that tells the absorbing story of Uttaman, who cheated death multiple times, though there is a rational explanation for each, even as villagers call him a ghost. That story pans itself out wonderfully in the soundtrack’s best, Mutharasan kadhai, telling the story of King Sadaya Varman, his evil brother-in-law Mutharasan who usurps the king’s throne and eventually looks to Uttaman to extend his life predicted to end in grusesome death. Together, these three pieces of music offer the finest combination of natively-told stories blended to Western classical impressionist and atonal musical styles, courtesy Sofia Symphony Orchestra. The story-telling is immaculate, thanks largely to Kamal’s rich verses and vocals.
Saagaavaram is conventional, in comparison, but extends the immortality theme again. Veteran Villuppaattu proponent Subbu Arumugam joins Kamal in the beautifully-rhythmic – very unique to Villuppaattu form – Utthaman arimugam, an apt intro song to Kamal’s gargantuan repertoire. Padmalatha breezes through the seemingly Vasantha-raaga based Kaadhalaam kadavul mun, while the soundtrack’s most accessible Love’aa is lyricist Viveka’s mischievous ode to Kamal’s image and Ghibran letting down his hair with catchy orchestration. The 7 instrumental pieces too add to the rich tapestry of sounds, topped by the Theme. Uttama Villain’s soundtrack is one of the most daring and inventive musical attempts in recent Tamil cinema history.
Keywords: Uttama Villain, Uthama Villain, #300, 300, Ghibran