Banner: Oscar Films (P) Ltd
Starring: Kamal Haasan, Asin, Mallika Sherawat, Jayapradha
Director: K S Ravikumar
Music Director: Himesh Reshammiya
Producer: Oscar Ravichandran
Release Date: 13th Jun, 08
Dasavatharam, which was under production for almost two years, has finally hit the marquee and in style. Kamal and the marvel of technology rule this venture of Aascar Films directed by K S Ravikumar who has packaged Kamal's dream with aplomb.
It would be an uphill task in understanding Dasavatharam if one does not pay adequate attention to the opening stadium scene where Kamal as scientist Govinda Ramasamy, renders an acceptance speech for all the praise he receives. The ensuing 12th century sequences will not fall into place if one does not concentrate on this scene.
Kamal as Rangarajan Nambi, in a gravity-defying movement, flies from the bottom of the statue and thrashes the baddies who are involved in removing the Lord Ranganathar idol. Napoleon plays Kulothunga Chozhan who is an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. He agrees to pardon Kamal if he just chants Om Nama Shivayah but the latter meets his watery grave by saying Om Namo Narayanaya along with the idol.
Sharpness of dialogues exchanged between Kamal's family and Napoleon in this scene is commendable and a testimony to the clashes between Saivism and Vaishnavism that persisted in those earlier times. Napoleon, albeit in a small role, dazzles in his performance as the Saivite King. His arrogant countenance and 'mightier than thou' body language reiterate the experience of this veteran star in filmdom.
Cut to the present time again: Govinda Ramasamy (Kamal) is a scientist working in America, researching the components of biological warfare which are potent enough to wipe out the human race. The story that follows shows Kamal in a race to save mankind from the hands of his superior who purloins this dangerous chemical. His struggle begins in America and ends in Chennai on the 26th of December 2004 - during the Tsunami.
Out of the ten Kamals, the first one who walks away with plaudits is Indian RAW agent Balram Naidu who is presented with little make up. His Telugu dialogues are enjoyable and remind us of the SPB of Guna. Next is Boovaraghan with his Nellai Tamil. His body language is exemplary. The Japanese kung fu exponent comes third in this avatar race with limited dialogues and moderate make-up. The remaining Kamals fail to make an impression.
The theatre broke into raptures when the American Kamal asks the Japanese Kamal if he remembers Hiroshima to which the Japanese Kamal counters with, 'Do you remember Pearl Harbor?' Dialogue writing in the movie needs to be singled out.
The filmmakers ought to have done a better job of the poorly conceived Mallika Sherawat song sequence. The lady has disappointed her fans. Asin has done her job as best as she could, given her hysterical character. M. S. Bhaskar tries to make us laugh.
Cinematographer Ravi Varman has worked in sync with the story line and his camera movements are commendable. He has used artificial lighting well, especially with the lengthy shots where more than two Kamals appear on screen. Himesh shines in the Kallai mattum kandal and Mukunda numbers, while Devi Sri Prasad has done a good job with re-recording.
The usual filmi gimmicks such as grandma-Kamal walking on the shoulders of people, and Bush-Kamal trying to act hip could have been avoided.
In short, with unexpected twists and turns missing in the film, Dasavatharam is a make-up magic show that disappoints as drama and satisfies as a technical showpiece. Atheist Kamal seems to be indirectly affirming the existence of God here.