my thoughts.....

constellation, assimilation, formation and expression of my cerebration!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Review of Dasavatharam

Despite great acting and a very good story, the movie falls flat largely because of badly written screenplay, much-hyped-turns-damp-squib technical aspects and a clutter of too many roles. First of all, Dasavatharam needs a very strong screenplay for two reasons: 1. the script has ten roles of a single person and connecting them all together interestingly in a script is not a joke. 2. the script revolves around chaos theory, a concept too tricky to make a movie out of it through a simple screenplay.

However Kamal Hasan has to be appreciated to come up with this story, something totally new to the Tamil audience but his over-ambitiousness of screenwriting himself failed the movie miserably. The movie starts promisingly with Kamal as Rangarajan, a priest at Vishnu temple in 12th century. Rangarajan, a devotee of Lord Vishnu, gets into conflict with his chola emperor, a follower of Lord Shiva, due to the difference in their beliefs. Kamal is terrific as Rangarajan in these scenes.

Ravi Varman's camera work is excellent in capturing the Vishnu temple and the following scenes where Kamal gets executed. After the king kills Rangarajan by tying him down to the Vishnu statue and throwing him into Sea, the movie cuts fast-forward to 21st century and stops in a bio-tech lab in US where Kamal as Govind, a scientist, works. This is from where the movie starts meandering laboriously without a good screenplay to support.

Govind and his fellow scientists synthesize a deadly virus and their manager tries to sell it to the bad hands for money. How Govind tries to save the world by stopping this deal forms the rest of the movie. As he flies across continents, drives across the states and bikes across the towns in his pursuit of saving the world, he ends up crossing the remaining eight characters by Kamal and helps the story unfold in a quite boring way.

What saves the movie to a good extent is Kamal as Balram Naidu. His impeccable comic timing and very well-done body language as a Tamilu (Tamil+Telugu!)-speaking bureaucrat is simply superb. You 'd love this role as much as you 'd loved Kameshwaran of Michael Madhana Kama Rajan. Kamal proves once again he is an expert at dialogue delivery whether it is Ceylon Tamil as done in Tenali or Kongu Tamil as done in Sathileelavathi or Madhurai Tamil as done in Virumandi or Tamilu done here in Dasavatharam.

Apart from Balram Naidu along with Poovaragan, a social activist, Fletcher, a former CIA agent and a Japanese Martial artist, all other roles fall quite flat due to poor make-up, ill-defined characterization and/or being unnecessary to the script. Poovaragan role is commendable for the same reasons as for the Naidu role. The final fight between the martial artist and the former CIA agent is worth mentioning.

The much-hyped CG works are very disappointing. The most expected Tsunami scene is way below standard. If you take some of the video clips of actual Tsunami available over the internet and compare with the scene in the move, You realize how tacky the scenes are. The CG works totally fails in leaving any impact to the audience. I‘d guess a logical reason might be budget constraint.

The sheer magnitude of demands by the script and an ambition of donning ten roles at the same time can get too overwhelming to handle for anyone. Kamal becomes no exception here. That it certainly needed another Kamal , two more years and few more tens of million dollars is very evident as you watch the movie!

Last few scenes of the movie are interesting as the main story climaxes to discuss if all the happenings in the world are just too chaotic to explain or completely pre-planned by the God. But Kamal don't discuss an issue as open with us as Mani Ratnam did in Nayagan (“Nallavara? Kettavara?”). He simply thrusts upon his ideologies into us smartly (or atleast he thinks so)!


  • Mani,
    Welome to the world of blogging. One of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life.

    By Blogger Brijesh Nair, At June 18, 2008 at 12:30 AM  

  • all means..
    * 1stly, chaos theory imbibed... yes..well..ive not yet seen the movie..jus inquisitively asking: have u seen the film"butterfly effect".. which also deals wth chaos theory.
    * Next..the tamilu u not wet state u were..wen u penned..or..compared the naidu role wth tht of kameshwaran..i sincerely doubt if he could reproduce something of such sorts again !!. may be..u jus got a little inflated or xcited.. wen u made tht statement..perhaps..i reckon..i jus reckon :) !
    * Yes.. and may be..the make up issue..half done criticism..perhaps.. was done purposely..perhaps..
    *lastly, the "mani"an way :) .. rather..i reckon..all mani's :) are quite straight forward :).. and i completely..go by the kamal's imposition f ideas on public..may be he s confused..or perhaps.. jus wanted to create a " " .. amidst the mob.. by dealin wth gods.. and contradictin every movie..i don thnik..he is next to know..who god be..ppl are pushin him..too much..close to the "god"... which makes him..alcoholic abt it..perhaps..!
    *and my personal remark..abt dasa..wud be..unduly..made a few roles..excessively.. may outsmart the navarathiri history.. and..thereby..ending in several loose ends while implementing the same

    By Blogger Raghu, At June 18, 2008 at 9:16 AM  

  • is not wet was which state :) /.sry abt typin :)

    By Blogger Raghu, At June 18, 2008 at 9:22 AM  

  • Good job Mani!!

    By Blogger Ramakrishnan, At June 18, 2008 at 9:31 AM  

  • good one, mani

    By Blogger MayilVahanan, At June 18, 2008 at 10:12 AM  

  • From Dr t subramanian from UK(camp:Trnidad)18/06/08
    Dear Mani,
    I WELCOME YOU TO THE WORLD OF BLOGGING.I wish you all the success in this modern media publishing means.
    I read your review of recent Kamal's film Dasavatharam. I must admit we 've not yet seen the film. I am very disappointed that the film has not met the mass expectation and probably not a 'box office' hit. The fact that writer Sujatha's untimely death has put the onus of managing the whole script on the hands of KAMAL has resulted in bad outcome. Whatever people may say Kamal is a rare and exceptionally talented wholesome artist in every dept of film art. I have always regretted that Indians,particularly South indians and still particularly Tamilians never appreciated or supported Kamal wholeheartedly. If artists of Kamal's calibre would be forced to resort to meaningless commercially successful trashes. even if films like Dasavatharam did fall short of expectations I would support it as they would pave the way for for improved productions.We can't expect the holly wood bonanzas in one stroke. Personally I can confidently say that films like Hey Ram was any less when compared to any Hollywood productions. But yet we did not make it a success. In the same way I was very impressed with the Cheran's beautiful production of 'Mayakkannadi'. When average or below average productions bear the name tags of StevenSpielberg,George Lucas and Harrison Ford ,the film could recover the cost and make csizeable profit, I can only pity the whims and fancies of our Indian film audience. But I would certainly go and watch Dasavatharam in a theatre with my family at least appreciate Kamal's effort to produce different type of cinemas in Tamil.

    By Blogger drsubbu, At June 18, 2008 at 11:19 AM  

  • Congrates on your first blog. It was very well written and was true to the real meaning of a review.
    I have not yet seen the film but I'm a huge Kamal Hassan fan and I have seen almost all his movies. He has not yet disappointed me. But thanks for the balanced review.
    I have seen "the butterfly effect" it was a fabulous movie simple and to the point and gripping in its own right. This kind of concept requires that one should have a clear aim of what needs to be said and it seems maybe this was lacking in Dasavatharam.
    I will hold back any further comments on the movie until I have seen the movie myself.

    Good job!

    By Blogger Bharu, At June 18, 2008 at 7:53 PM  

  • Mani,
    Well wriiten one.Obviouly the movie was a let down although sparkling performance of Role Naidu still stays with me.As far as i see Kamal has moved
    from his atheistic position in Anbe sivam to an agnostic position in this movie.Movie fails to poise well in the tone of rationalism,dances to the tune of secularism,
    most part of the movie was chaotic and so helped chaos theory,kamals smirk at Intelligent design dangling from no where warrants me to respond that
    in all this chaotic situations Earth's sustenance of life is strangely organized.

    By Blogger Sebas, At June 18, 2008 at 11:06 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Ramakrishnan, At June 18, 2008 at 11:21 PM  

  • Great job,Mani!! Way too good for a tyro!!!

    By Blogger jhanvi, At June 18, 2008 at 11:30 PM  

  • Mani, Glad to see you communicating through this blog medium. I have always known you as a movie buff...great rock...


    By Blogger Shiva, At June 22, 2008 at 10:47 AM  

  • Mani, kalakunga!

    I actually liked this movie. It was very funny. Certain parts could have been done in a different way, but its much better than the standard Tamil movie. The technology was good too - sometimes you don't even see it unless you are looking for it.

    - Jegan

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At July 9, 2008 at 6:35 PM  

  • so in the end a cluster fck of characters losely tied together by flat storyline. Sometimes even greats fall flat on their ass..

    Yo mani didnt know you had a blog. had to find it the hard way.

    Cool review later... i am sure you going to have many pissed people.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At July 11, 2008 at 11:18 AM  

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