Monday, June 23, 2008

Dasavatharam: Leaves us gasping for better

Kamal Haasan is one of the rarest gems in the world who I think lives,eats and sleeps cinema. And when you have him saying Dasavatharam is the biggest film in his career you are bound to go to the theater with huge expectations. That was exactly the feeling I had when I went into the theater. Was I let down by the genius this time around? The answer is yes and a No.

Dasavatharam is a multi layered film for me. It is a very very ambitious attempt to make in Indian cinema. There are three main elements in the film according to me. One is the concept or the basic story line of the movie, which is usual in Kamal's movies of late like Anbe Sivam,Hey Ram etc. Second being the fact that Kamal has dared to do what no one else has ever attempted, playing 10 different characters with different makes ups, mannerisms and voice modulation. The third aspect for me is the special effects involved in the film. Majority of the film has scenes involving special effects. Kamal as a script writer had a difficult task to manage a script which accomodates all three of them in a logical sequence with a smooth flow. And as is typical to Kamal he adds his own doses of humour and atheism here and there.

Now to my interpretation of the movie and what I liked and disliked about the movie. To me the movie has two faces one atheism and other theism. It is the way you look at it that it will reflect upon you. The fact that the idol caused the tsunami due to chaos effect which killed thousands of people makes one feel "enna maari kadavul idu" but when we think of the fact that the tsunami saved tamil nadu from total extinction due to the bilogical weapon makes a statement in support of theism. This is evident in the film as there are characters who represent atheism and theism alternately. Also, the film stresses upon the fact that good and evil co-exist in the society. The synthetic bio-weapon is inside the statue of God for majority of the movie. Also, one of the avtar(role) of Kamal is the villain of the movie. To me the concept of the movie is an Indianised version of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons.

The movie has lot of interlinked scenes and characters and Kamal has left it to the viewer to interpret them in his/her own way.

To get to the point of what I liked about the movie.
  • The movie opens really well. The opening sequence and the mere screen presence of Rangarajan Nambi is awesome. Kamal throws a stellar of a performance as Rangarajan Nambi.
  • Rangarana Nambi's acting is superb even though he lasts for hardly 15 minutes. It is truly of Kamal standard.
  • The basic premise of the story and the concept involved is very good and the effort taken in showcasing these on the big canvas needs to be applauded.
  • Make up for some of the roles like Christian Fletcher,George Bush and Naidu are really good.
  • It is indeed an edge of the seat thriller.
  • The humour quotient provided by Naidu is really good.
Now to what I disliked about it:

  • The special effects in the movie is rather poor in some sequences. For example, the scene during the first scene when Rangaraj is taken in a boat to the sea. I feel these animations could be avoided in the first place instead of doing such a shoddy job at it.
  • Make up for some roles are really shabby like Avtar Singh,the patti, the Dalit leader(his full body is not black). How can a genius like Kamal miss something so obvious.
  • Avtar Singh doing typical Kamal steps was something which can only be laughed at.
  • And what was Kamal thinking when he thought of the first/last scene of the movie where Kamal is delivering a speech. I mean, what was the felicitation for. The dupes for Kalaignar and Manmohan were poor. George Bush dancing before going to the mike, well.................. The movie should have ended with Kamal explaining the chaos effect to Asin , both of them leaning on the statue of Vishnu.
  • Too much make up on faces of the majority of characters prevents us from seeing the usually brilliant facial expressions on Kamal's face.
  • And the biggest sore point of the movie for me was the music. How can Kamal do such a gruesome mistake of chosing Himesh for music for such a film. A film which he is terming to be his biggest in his career.
So, can we say that it is a bad movie. Definitely not. Just that Kamal fails to live upto the expectations we have from him. Just for the sake of playing 10 characters he has created certain characters/sequences which has played its part in hampering the script and narration. I feel Kamal had too many things in his hands to deliver and hence these small goof ups. First, the concept of Chaos effect and Butterfly effect in itself is enough to be written into a full length script with inter-related characters and sequences. On the top of it Kamal in his typical self praising arrogance chose to play 10 characters. To add to all these he had sequences which needed international quality special effects. Special effects are definitely very good when thinking of standards of Tamil films. But when viewers these days have so easy access to movies made in Hollywood and when we are trying to catch up with the movies being made there, the special effects in Dasa leave a lot to be desired. So in an effort to make an all please movie Kamal has failed slightly to impress and deliver what he is known to deliver always, THE BEST.

Note: Had this been a movie by any other star than Kamal then all these shortcomings could be neglected but not with Kamal.