Prem's The Villain does not belong to one genre as he brings multiple elements to the story. The movie can be divided into three segments where the first hour is peppered with action and romance. The story shifts gears in the second half by bringing in twists and turns, leaving the audience wondering whether it is an action thriller! The final hour is all about mother-son sentiment.
A tragedy hits the family of a drama artiste played by Sharath Lohithaswa, an actor who has a penchant for playing Raavana's character from the Hindu mythology Ramayana. Cut to the present, Ramappa (Shivaraj Kumar) accidentally meets Janaki (Amy Jackson) and finds out his missing locket is with her.
A flashback takes us to the romance of Kaisar Ram (Sudeep) and Janaki and we are told that he is the most wanted criminal in India as he successfully concealed his identity. But the truth about his life slips out of his mouth after which there is a series of twists and turns in the story.
The story of The Villain is quite simple – a gangster reuniting with his mother after 20 years. Prem makes it interesting by adding multiple layers and back-stories to the story. He follows his usual tried-and-tested template – underworld setup, mother sentiment and the same old build-ups for his heroes.
He takes his own time to establish the characters and tries hard to satisfy the fans of both Shivanna and Sudeep. In the process, the story has been stretched. Here, the good story required a fast-paced narration to hold the viewers' attention.
Sudeep has a bigger role (in terms of length) compared to Shivaraj Kumar, yet they both have equal importance to their characters in the storyline, but required detailing to their roles are missing. For example, the way Kaisar controls the mafia in the UK with the support of a member from the Parliament is not convincing.
Coming to the performances, Sudeep looks stunning in three avatars. Firstly in kurta-pyjama, then in suit-clad costumes in the UK and the climax attire. He has pulled off his role with ease. Whereas Shivaraj Kumar at 50+ continues to leave the viewers spell-bound with his energy levels. The chase scene in the first 30 minutes of the movie clearly holds mirror to his abilities. The major plus point about Shivanna and Kiccha is that they never try to overshadow each other.
Amy Jackson does not have a significant role in the film. Tamil actor Saranya Ponvannan was not necessary for this role. A local actor could have done a better job. And Mithun Chakraborty was brought to the film with so much of hype, but he appears only in two scenes and his character has an abrupt ending.
Technically, Arjun Janya's songs were already hit and his songs have been well-shot although it has been forcefully added into the storyline. Special mention for cinematographer Girish R Gowda and costume designer for giving colourful frames.
On the flipside, the length of the movie is a major drawback.
Verdict: The Villain is a treat to the fans of both the actors. The movie might be little boring at times, but it definitely has the content to impress mass and family audience.