Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dasavatharam - தசாவதாரம்

Very few movies get so much pre-release hype if you discount Rajnikanth from the scene. So considering all the hype how good is this movie?

First, I feel that, to properly review the movie, you need to dissect it into two: Kamalhasan and the script (not necessarily just the screenplay, the entire movie itself). Reason being, every one knows the ordeal the actor went through for his ten roles and that magnificence can get easily mixed up with the story and can distort things.

As the actor, it is sufficient to say that no one else in the industry (IFI at least) can pull this off! The person who is capable of the feat has acted in this movie. The sore point is the make up - even acknowledging the effort. It bears a mask like layer and can be discerned. If you have ever tried to maintain a distance from your personality, putting on ten different "masks" should give you an idea. exclaim Kamal has even managed to change the gait of "his" personality. I do not have details if all ten "voices" are Kamal's. If they actually are, the achievement borders on the stupendous. If budget was available (I read that it already was 127 crores {~30MUSD}), CGI could have been used more powerfully to really obliterate any traces of the "original" Kamal! Having said that, I think "ten" was picked to break an existing record! There is no real need script wise to do ten. It just complicates everything and the effort that should have gone into the script is wasted on the make up.

And now the movie! It is almost a total letdown! Considering that the movie is 150 minutes, about 90 to 100 of them are spent on chasing a stupid vial! Come on, with a 100 cr + budget and a humongous effort going into the "acting" part, some one should have taken up in building a steel-fortress of a script. The dialogues are all "crazy mohan" style silly-cracks and really get tiring. Kamal / KSR have done this in enough movies and should have steered clear of all these cliches. Kamal is really capable of excellent screenplays (cases in point - Hey Ram and Anbe Sivam). He has also acted in one recent movie with ultra solid screenplay (Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu). I presume his effort got sucked into the mammoth task of forging his ten personalities. A management decision should have been to hire a professional screenwriter with Kamal overseeing the stuff (may be even Gautam Menon!). Some reviewer mentioned that the movie will not recover it's costs. If the budget is actually 127 cr, I doubt the same. Kamal has burnt his fingers (and others' as well) enough times without doing a cost analysis chasing fantasies (Hey Ram and Anbe Sivam were sad endings to almost everything done right, Aalavandhan was an atrocious act and this one - we will just have to see). It is probably time he does a sanity check before he runs out of sponsors for his ideas. That would be really sad because we have very few people with magnificent talent.

  1. Some people opine that this movie is used by Kamal to voice his athiestic views. On the contrary, I feel he poses enough cases for both view points. The movie tantalizingly exaggerates enough incidents to suggest both, while the climax dialogues tend to tilt it in favor of atheism. (No spoilers! wink). I would say, very well done!
  2. Only 4-5 characters are really needed!
  3. You will probably need to watch the movie twice. One for Kamal and one for the story! The sheer effort into his acting deserves this treatment!
  4. For all practical purposes, the story is made of ten different characters (hmm, or nine!), despite the fact that one actor has done it. You should watch it the same way!
  5. !!Spoiler!! Why should people on rebirth have the same appearance? AFAIK, every single movie in this concept follows the same style! And it is surprise that the athiestic Kamal is actually make this a factual screenplay setting! !!Spoiler!!
  6. Kamal's fetish for gore is un-understandable. One scene, you can may be discount as a historical re-creation. Even then you were not there at that time and people will understand if you are toning it down! Time and again, we see him doing this in all his movies with painstaking detail - for what!?!
  7. CGI is very ineffective - especially, in the climax, you can easily make out the graphics! Given the scale of this movie, I don't think budget is an excusable explanation! Hmm, if only Pixar was given the task biggrin
  8. As an experiment, if some Hollywood studio gives Kamal a no-strings-attached budget quota (and given that 100 mill is a very paltry movie investment these days at Hollywood), it will be really awesome to see what Kamal comes out with. Some contact who can manage this? As a side note, I would also love to see if Ilaiyaraja can get such a leeway. May be, Kamal will make IR the composer and give him a no-holds-barred orchestra budget (think how "Hey Ram" came out!). Sigh! sad
  9. Per my understanding, the inception of the movie and the climax are not connected. It is just a very trivial link. If I am mistaken, some one can correct me.
  10. Some one posted a review linking the ten avatars of Vishnu and the ten roles of Kamal. That was way too mind-bending, but I cannot rule out Kamal thinking that way. If it really is the case, there may be screenplay ideas we have not uncovered which Kamal has already thought out. He can't keep his mouth shut about them anyway, so we may hear about them soon! smile
  11. Asin! hmmm, Sigh!
  12. I want to write about the individual characters - at least a few of them, but you cannot do that without spoilers!
  13. Bio-weapons - nothing path breaking about the concept. The movie anyway degenerates to a silly chase sequence in the end. "Outbreak" has a much more focused screenplay around the same subject. It also provides a good case for a solid screenplay!
  14. Kamal's spoofs about "George Bush" are really well done! If GWB really thinks that way - gives me the shudders! (Examples, !!Spoiler!! "Can't we drop a nuclear bomb on the city? We can't? OK!" or "If it's complicated, don't explain it to me!" !!Spoiler!!)
Overall, people spend so much time over reviewing and probably re-watching the movie. Kamal has earned that for himself with the effort and dedication he has placed into it - and he richly deserves it. But one can't help but say that the the movie maker has taken too much complexity upon himself without the necessary effort (yes, it requires much more!) and budget (yes, it requires much more!). In the end, it will remain a movie that could have been so much more!

3 comments:

Rams said...

As someone quipped..."dasavatharam padam nalla illainu sollalaa... irundhirundha nalla irukkumnu dhaan solren" [:D]

But for Kamal's efforts (as an actor), the movie doesn't have much.

Deepak said...

Rams, that comment is a really nice touch!

Rams said...

As someone quipped..."dasavatharam padam nalla illainu sollalaa... irundhirundha nalla irukkumnu dhaan solren" [:D]

But for Kamal's efforts (as an actor), the movie doesn't have much.

 
Web Analytics