Though the movie released yesterday with a grand opening all over, I got my chance to watch it on the second day. Getting a ticket in Sathyam Cinemas in Chennai is not that easy, especially on the very second day of the most awaited blockbuster of 2008, ‘class-cum-mass’ movie. So I decided to head towards Mayajaal (ECR) which screened 45 shows of 'Dasavatharam' per day. Finally, when I had the tickets in my hand I was anxiously waiting till the show time. Though it cost me Rs.400 for two tickets, the actual cost should have been Rs.240 (120 each). Well, I actually dint mind paying 400 bucks at that point of time; because I was waiting to watch this movie for months, just like many others.Another unforgettable experience was to watch the movie sitting in the first seat, raising my head at an angle of 45 degrees.
Let me explain what raised my expectations to watch this movie. First of all, my love towards ‘Lord Krishna (precisely Vishnu) and his leela’. From my childhood (even today) I got addicted listening to stories(by means of my grandmother, animated movies, books,etc) of all his avatars. Most of the devotional songs which I keep humming would be of Lord Krishna’s. So my attractions towards the movie (or rather why I wanted to watch Dasavatharam) are
1. ‘Name of the movie’ itself (Curiosity about the 10 avatars or roles)
2. Kamal ( though I wont accept him as a 'Ulaganayagan' he is definitely our 'Ulloor Nayagan'- a legend of Tamil Cinema)
3. Mukuntha-Mukuntha song ( a short description of the 10 avatars)
4. Tsunami ( after 26Th Dec 2004, I grew a separate love for this word ‘Tsunami’, not for the destruction it caused but for the scientific truths about it)
5. The hype it created
6. Is it worthy enough to bag an Oscar award?
A roller-coaster ride! A must watch movie! 3 cheers for Kamalhassan! Well, I am not the first person to say this; a thousand movie critics have already praised Kamal since its release yesterday.
For a change, the 10 avatars of Lord Vishnu, all of which belongs to the Hindu religion have been portrayed as 10 different roles in the movie, but with a mixture of many religions. Well, the usage of religious or caste-based words is not new in a Kamal’s movie.
As Nambi of 12Th century, I liked Kamal’s costume and his justification towards the role as I felt it suited him better than anyone else in Tamil cinema. Special cheers for his biceps!
Scientist episode bagged the first place of all the others, mainly due to my interest and love towards bio-technology. Note the word episode and not the role. Otherwise scientist Govind is a normal Kamal whom we saw in any other movie. Poor actor’s skin was given a chance to breathe fresh air without much make-up for this role than the other ones.
Villain Fletcher exposed the most stunning performance and the make-up matched the role so perfectly when compared to others. A mixture of most Hollywood popular faces put together with Kamal’s negative-role acting. Mallika Sherawat has done justice for the money paid to her. Nothing more nothing less!
Dalit ‘Vincent’ is the second best in make-up and an unforgettable acting of all the other roles. As Vincent, Kamal would definitely win a many more hearts in Tamil Nadu other than his current fans count. To be more precise, support from a wide range of fans from the wide range of communities (castes) spread across Tamil Nadu.
Naidu, is my favorite character. His delivery of Telugu mixed Tamil dialogues is so original which reminded me of my Andhra-based professors in college, colleagues, friends etc. But, I felt the flaw here was, as per the story , the case under Naidu's control being an international one about a terrorist should have been handled by a more responsible officer, while Naidu is considered to be the comedian of the movie. (Remember, the movie is aimed for Oscars and just not another Tamil Cinema). Of course people who watch a movie for 3 hrs and more will expect a bit of humor in it, but I felt this(such an officer given responsibility to trace an international culprit) won't happen in real life.
The Chinese man - an extra-ordinary brilliant piece of acting combined with make-up. The stunts are stunning and it looks like a professional ‘hooo-haaa’ kind.( I am very poor in the names of these Ching-chong fights. Used to admire them in many Jackie Chan movies).
Paati (old woman) character will stay in the hearts of many due to her acting and voice modulation. She (the character) touched my heart in the climax when she actually took the dead Dalit’s head and put it on her lap crying for him, breaking the so called rules of many ‘caste-creed’ wars between the upper and lower castes in Tamil Nadu. (Of course, this is just a movie and not a real-life attempt. But I am sure this will be an eye-opener for many)
Punjabi- cheers again for the make-up, but I expected more from the role. The colors seen in the song ‘Oh Oh Sanam’ are attractive enough. JayaPradha is just another character in the movie and nothing much. I felt Kiron Kher would have best suited the role.
Bush – I liked the way he smiled at the crowd while traveling in the car. Truly reminds me of the president of America. The English accent is interesting.
Tall Musalman -Comparatively lesser dialogues. Again, I felt a flaw in the make-up done on him. His face resembled more of Fletcher's (Villain role). Actually his is the one role which didn’t attract me much.
On the whole, of all the reasons I expected, and I feel the reason it deserved an Oscar award is Kamal , his acting, his make-up - precisely his effort.
Asin is the biggest drawback in the movie. Most of her scenes were unwanted or rather irritating for an ‘Oscar aimed movie’. Her love towards the ‘Perumal’ idol till the end of the movie could have suited her role if she was showcased as a lunatic. Being a normal young Tamil girl her innocence shown towards the scientist’s words on bio-technology and its importance, were an overdose or probably over-acting. She is a pretty damsel whose characterization is not been concentrated much in the movie.
Other drawbacks in the movie are the unnecessary fight sequences, rape-attempt scenes (Asin’s), a group of soldiers trying to open the temple’s main door using a wood log while Nambi trying to close it from the other side; are the ones which equates this project more closer to an usual Tamil movie.
Music is another drawback. Rahman would always have been the best choice for this movie, he being the Guru (Of course next only to Illayaraja who has become old enough to give good music these days). He knows better than Himesh.
And it is a known fact that 'Dasavatharam' is a total Kamal movie , while Ravikumar being namesake. Tsunami effects are not up to my expectations or rather not up to Hollywood standards. Remember how sea water gushed inside Titanic after the hit of an iceberg?
On a nutshell, D-A-S-A-V-A-T-H-A-R-A-M is ‘THE’ best Tamil or rather Indian movie I have ever watched. But, not enough for Oscars!
*** keep viewing for 'Dasavatharam – My View(Part2)'.