Monday, June 16, 2008

தசாவதாரம் - Kamal ALL the way..

Dasavatharam - Movie Title
Kamal tends dominate his movies and in Dasavatharam, he dons 10 different roles to overshadow everyone and everything else in every second of this 3 hour long movie. One might question what was the need for Kamal to play 10 roles and I have the same question. But, he does them to perfection and carries the entire movie on his shoulders. Others, including Asin doesn't have any solid to role to play, they just come and go, including the Bollywood glamor girl, Mallika Sherawat.

From George Bush to Vincent Poovaragan to Avtar Singh, Kamal simply excels in all roles he plays. It is not just the makeup that differentiates the roles, but from body language to dialog delivery, Kamal has simply become the character he portrays. Kamal deserves an national award just for efforts.

But, unfortunately, Kamal's herculean effort is wasted with a weak story line which he himself has penned. The story is about a small vial inadvertently shipped from US to India triggering an international hunt for it. Its the usual good guy vs bad guys (two avtars of Kamal) chasing it. Sounds familiar ? It did to me.. looked lot similar to MGR's ulagam suttrum voliban (உலகம் சுற்றும் வாலிபன்). In that, MGR after inventing a 'nuclear' bomb MGR will run around the world to prevent it from going in to the hands of the bad guys, in Dasavatharam, Kamal does the same to prevent the bad guys from getting to his invention, a biological weapon. While trying to do that, the good Kamal chases the shipment from DC to Chennai to Chidambaram and all places in between with a Japanese twist.

But, the weak storyline has been well masked by the brilliant acting of Kamal and excellent production. All aspects of production looks impressive. From cinematography to art to editing, all departments have contributed and played well together to make this slick end product.

Yet, I am unable to understand why Kamal chose to start the story from the 12th century Saivaite, Vaishnavaite clash. What is the relationship between the (மூலவர்) big idol that what thrown in to the seen then and the (உத்சவர்) small idol that kamal chases around in the 21st century? What is the relationship between the 12th century King and the happenings now? The savior of a weak storyline again is Kamal (and crazy Mohan) with this witty and intelligent dialogs.

In all, Dasavatharam is a different kind of Tamil movie and a welcome one, even with its weak and non-existant storyline.

Direction - KS Ravikumar has done a good job of bringing the best out of Kamal. This is certainly a different kind of movie for him and will figure in 'life long' directorial achievement list.

- Kamal at his best and everyone else don't seem to matter. I don't see a compelling reason by Kamal donned 10 roles.. but then I guess he did because he can.

Music - Liked two songs - 'Kallai mattum..' and 'Mukunda, mukunda..' rest is just passe..

Grade - B+ for a different theme and a slick production.

Bottom Line - Watch it.. Once..

ps: Thanks to KK, got to see this movie on the first week of its release. I wouldn't have gotten to see this movie without his connections and offer. So, once again Thanks KK.



    OK, how does Dasa incorporate Chaos theory and Butterfly effect?

    In essence, Dasa talks about eight characters who are inconsequential as such, but are integrated in a larger picture. Without Bush, the plane would have been called back. Without Shinghen, Govind would be dead. Without the tsunami, the world would have been destroyed. Even Krishnaveni (the old woman) plays a very important role. If she had not put the vial in the idol, maybe Govind would have recovered it then and there and a powerful weapon would have been unleashed. The very fact that it went into the idol meant that it was being accelerated to its destiny. Without Kaifulllah Khan, Govind would have never escaped... the list simply goes on.

    The idol that is drowned in the sea along with Rangarajan in 12th century by Chozha king results in a fault being developed at the bottom of the ocean and creates tremors more than 800 years later. These tremors result in the Tsunami. This again is a classic case of Butterfly Effect wherein a seemingly inconsequential event (the drowning of the idol) saves Tamil Nadu from being wiped off the face of the earth.

    Now tell me, does THIS movie lack a story? This movie has the most beautiful story ever attempted in Indian cinema. Unfortunately, Indian viewers and critics are obsessed with the "boy meets girl" and "revenge" themes, so they fail to see the story in this master piece.

  2. Anonymous

    Wow.. didn't know it had such a connection.. need to dig deeper to find them I guess..

    but I agree with you that 'Everything is connected'.. that still doesn't explain why Kamal had to do those eight 'inconsequential' characters..

  3. Welcome back with a Bang Ram! How did you manage to get kids time off from school?

    Yes Dasa displeases. 2 on 5. Himesh R screwed up the music. Devi Sri Prasad scores the background well.

    Connecting inconsequential events, is in the eye of the beholder (who watches). Forget Chaos. Its just theory.

    I spoke to Charu, who has participated in story discussions, and no mention of Butterfly effect/Chaos Theory when movie was made. It was built around 10 characters a story line, with modern issues. Thats it. They wanted flesh and there comes Mallika S (ex jet Airways Air Hostess).

    Chidambaram temple issue was there - Dikshidars * Alwar + tail pasurams - so it was plugged in by Sujatha - people like to see things in limelight at that point of time. On Ranganatha!

    That irritating dialog of "Naan Ramanuja Dasan" (obviously there is no lip sync when he jumps) is just to irritate the guy who put scores of cases against him. That is the same guy, who is causing trouble with Vadakali and Thankalai Naama's at Udupi. (That is the temple where one is compelled to put a Y).

    Finally very good marketing wins the day. 43 crores first week collection versus 60 crores of Shivaji is mindboggling.


  4. the 10 characters are different avatars of lord vishnu... go through chaos theory and butterfly effect (the butterfly flapping on the first and the last scene explains it)and all the 10 avatars of vishnu ...once u are aware of these u would be pumped in to watch the movie again..


  5. @Anonymous in the first post

    "The idol that is drowned in the sea along with Rangarajan in 12th century by Chozha king results in a fault being developed at the bottom of the ocean and creates tremors more than 800 years later."

    I don't understand. The tremors are caused due to the movement of the tectonic plates. How is it related to the Idol. Or am I missing something here? Please explain.

    I still do not understand the purpose of the 12th century episode?

    Butterfly effect & Chaos theory - Kamal refers to it in the beginning of the movie.