Friday, July 04, 2008

Dasavatharam

Yeah. I know. Why would someone want to read a review after almost 3 weeks since a movie has been released? Well....how about...to kill time? :-).

The basic problem or advantage (depending on your taste in movies) in Mr. Hassan's movies are that he tries to convey lot of things in one movie and sometimes it just spills out. While the average viewer used to dappankuthu and punch dialog stuff as in Vijaykanth, Balakrishna and Vijay's movies may find it too hard to understand and digest, the avid cinema lover would embrace it with all his heart as watching it time and again gives him a refreshing experience and conveys a new meaning every time its viewed.

That is exactly the same problem/advantage in Dasavatharam.

Among all the hype and hoopla surrounding the 10 characters Mr. Kamal has portrayed, it is quite to difficult to spot and be in awe of them and lose the plot and narration. There is no story to speak of and so it is quite odd to write a review and not mention the basic plot.

The plot revolves around Govind, a scientist in US who finds a virus which he says is powerful than anthrax. Govinds superior is corrupt and tries to sell the virus which leads to a chain reaction which ultimatley brings forth all the avatars of Mr. Kamal. In between he meets all the Kamals and that to say...is Dasavatharam. Odd? What the heck? Yep. Thats what strikes you when you hear the story (or lack of it).

But truly, Mr. Hassan is indeed a jack-of-all-trades. Not only does he don the mantle of writing the screenplay, but also plays all the 10 roles (virtually hogging every other frame of the 3 hours odd movie) and plays them with distinctive touches. Thank god, if not for the central character Govind, I would have even forgotten what the real Kamal looks like.

Almost every other issue under the sun has been discussed ranging from Butterfly Effect, Nuclear war to Caste discrimination and Sand Quarry Theft. Personally I think it is a masterstroke to include so many of them in a pot pourri masala flick and possibly only Mr. Hassan can achieve it. But that as well robs the movie of the distinction of belonging to any one particular genre.

Personally I think the characters of Fletcher and Balram Naidu were the best. Bush was needless to say funny. Given a choice, I would love to see a movie featuring Balram Naidu and his stupid antics. Fletcher should rank as Mr. Hassan's most stylish role to date (the square jaw being characteristic of CIA Assassins?). The general complaint has been that there have been some roles which were just filled in to make a round count of 10. Not to defend it, but I think that is EXACTLY the point. Don’t we see how one small action triggered in one small corner of the world affects someone somewhere else?

I don’t know if it is me, but personally I felt that the character of Govind stood the most poorly sketched. And yeah, what was with the Bullet-curing-cancer theory Mr. Hassan? Hope we wont have cancer patients who will run around the doctors with guns in their hand and asking them to shoot-and-cure them. Asin was so irritating that I wished that Kamal would take the vial from the statue, tie her to it and throw her in the Indian Ocean. Among all the pygmies among Gulliver Kamal, M S Bhaskar raised few laughs with his Jeppiarish english.

Surprisingly Himesh Reshamaiyya's two bhajan type Kallai Kandal and Mukunda fared better. Hope that doesnt prompt him to wear the swoosh cap and croon "Om Jai Jagadish Hare" in his nasal accent. Devisri Prasad's background score is good and sometime has some Harris Jairajish touches. But dont know why he needed to include the Spiderman 3 promo music in the beginning. Maybe all Mr. K S Ravikumar was needed for was for the Balram Naidu parts and to dance in the climax.

The graphic sequences are quite tacky compared to hollywood, but then cant complain much as we can do that much with limited budget and so we are still taking baby steps in graphics. Don’t know how many of you noticed, but Mr. Hassan has a small homage to his acting guru Mr. DeNiro when Fletcher quips "You talking to me?" in the climax reminiscent of the famous monologue in Taxi Driver.

Mr. Hassan is a great actor and we all know it. But this film does not require much of his acting abilities. Rather other skills as his patience to go through the grind of hours of make up for minutes of shots, his unmatched perfect linguistic talents and change of body language have been put to test. Finally, this film would be remembered for an intelligent (but incoherent) screenplay talent of Mr. Hassan that he has used to bind these 10 characters.

Last but not the least, there was this amazing piece of dialogue.

Asin: Are you saying that God does not exist?

Kamal: I am not saying that. All I am saying is that I wish he did.

This one piece of dialogue was bloody worth my ticket price and a standing ovation.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

10 comments:

Bhargavi said...

So you are back with a tsunami huh? and LOL at M.S.Bhaskar's 'Jeppiarish' English!! (Chidamabaram-chi-tam-bram??!!)

yaeecks veens is here said...

I loved the movie... i dnt knw why..

i guess... there was not a moment in the movie... my eyes strayed away... :)

yur review is good...

but well... as u guessed right... i dnt really care abt so many things :)

and that dialogue was sooper :))

ரம்யா ரமணி said...

Hi harish that was a good one :). Of Course Kamal movies convey so much information which are so subtle that it doesnot reach all the audience.

I felt this movie was a good one.Forget the hype and watch it we can really appreciate it. We must appreciate Kamal who has portrayed "Butterfly Effect" so nicely in the movie.

True Asin character was irritating one. She was actually screaming in the whole movie.My 2 cents ,She was just brought in to have a pair for Govind aste :)

rsubras said...

wow..comment moderation...... inna machi.....wotz the matter :)

kamal padathukku kamal maathiriye genius ah review irukkae boss :)

>>I would love to see a movie featuring Balram Naidu and his stupid antics.

I dont know why everyone is referring to this........ imho, this is one role, that kamal can sleepwalk to perfection........ :) poovaraghavan is one role for which he must have done a lot of homework

Teal™ said...

Hmmm ... I doubt if anyone in kollywood even knows what 'Chaos Theory' or 'Butterfly Effect' is :)
Kamal always sets a std when it comes to making movies. Dasavatharam is a class apart.
And yes, Asin was pretty idiotic.

Usha said...

parvalla idhe 3 weeks gapkagadhan naan ezhudina blog-a naan release-e pannala ;)

I liked that last dialogue too, pretty much how kamal managed to take a movie with a religious link and yet managed to assert his stance, is quite a talent.

Sathej said...

Good review :) Saw the movie only a couple of days back. Well, agree on most points. But the fact that it didn't require much of his acting skills is disputable. To me, donning 10 roles, varyingly diverse at that, demands quite some acting skills. To me, the film was a display of technical mastery coupled with an abysmally poor story and some pathetic moments like the bullet-carrying-away-the cancer. Boy, that isn't possible even theoretically down to the lowest of probabilties!And butterfly effect tweaked as it is!
Sathej

Anonymous said...

Did the movie remind anyone of the serial "Marma Desam" with the plot around the "Navabhashanam" "Namboodri" and so on... ? Someone I connect the movie with that serial. Anyone thinks the same?

Nivi said...

Out of curiosity, how much was your ticket?

Mine was $15 and I was furious enough to go to kamal hassan's house and demand a refund!

Everything you say is applaudable, but where was the need for one. I as a kamal fan expect to either see an awesome movie like Anbe Sivam or expect to see some real good masala flick . He failed me in both the areas.

Ok so does a movie that talk about chaos theory be chaos in itself!! Every few minutes one gets the feeling "What the heck?"
And the dialogues,billions of blue blistering barnacles, why on the earth were they so corny!!He should never ever handle dialogues.Mumbai Express was an excellent proof.

I dont understand the whole hoopla about he conveyed so many things, he has such attention to detail.

Because from my view point, however amazing you execute something, if your screenplay is as thin as the anorexic models, then the movie is just not conveying what it sets out to do.

And the movie is supposed to have cost 140 crores. And my only question is "Did they forget the number system?"
Where did all the money go? THe graphics like you pointed outcould have been bettered by an undergrad graphics student. If you say its the make up, they could havew donated the money to the homeless. THe make up was ghastly except for the balram naidu and japanese guy.THe patti especially seemed mutilated.

Kamal Hassan is a phenominal actor. He does not need to prove that to the world. He is the only guy who can take the throne of shivaji Ganesan.The fact that he did a movie just to prove a point makes me sad. And when I sit back and think, Navarathri where Shicaji Ganesan played 9 different roles was probably a million times better ,everyone of those characters spoke to me and are etched in my memory even know.

Yet another lesson to every movie maker. Screenplay. Not actors, not huge budgets, definitely not make up , screen play people.

Gargling Garbage said...

I found Asin, Mallika and Bhalram Naidu damn irritating. And that 'Rao-oda-Rao' made me feel like I was buried under tons of oosi pona upma :@

As much as I loved the first half hour, I detested the mid-portion of the film. So many characters walked in and out of the frame and just that easily out of my mind.

The script, in my opinion, should have been a lot more serious than silly. It just lacked intensity. And screenplay could have been tightened and more coherent.

Dasavathaaram had its class moments too. I enjoyed the pun on Ramasamy Naicker and Kalaignar! The Rangarajan Nambi part was the best- everything about it was mind-blowing! And Kamal... 10 roles... Unbelievable mental and physical preparation! :)

But... Hmm... I'm disappointed...