Its midnight on Sunday and I am just back from watching Dasaavatharam a second time. A hundred questions and answers running though my mind, I just had to write all this down before I forget it.
1. What is the basic premise of the movie?
If you believe too much in something you will die due to that something. This concept is illustrated through characters dying: Rangaraja Nambi (dies after refusing to convert to Saivism), Vincent Boovaraghan (believes in universal brotherhood and saving the planet, dies saving an enemy’s kid in a planet-caused tsunami).
2. Why are the effects so cheesy?
Ignore the effects, lok at Kamal’s amazing body language for each character. That alone is worth the price of entry.
3. Is this movie ‘inspired’ by any other?
Kamal takes inspiration from all over the world, this cannot be dnied. It makes him a better filmmaker. The screenplay concept seems to have been lifted straight from Syriana and Crash, with disparate events being connected slowly, but the execution is authentic Kamal.
4. Why so many avatars when 4-5 would have been enough? And he could have just played Mamohan Singh as well, couldnt he?
No choice, my dears. 4 he has already done in MMKR. Naming a movie with 5,6,7 or 8 characters would have been a nightmare ( Try Anjaanenjan, Aarumthinai, Ezhaavthu Naal, Ettu Podu, horribe aint they?). Nine has already been done by the Nadigar Thilagam. 10 makes a lot of sense. It enables a period piece in the movie, it clearly conveys how many roles are there in the movie, its the highest number of characters played by one guy in one movie ever, its perfect! And if he had played Manmohan Singh as well, it would have been 11, not doable!
5. So does Kamal believe in god or not?
In his own words – ‘Kadavul Illai nu naan epo sonneyn? Irundhaa nalla Irukum nu dhaan sonneyn’ 😀
6. Why does he have to thrust his so called ‘message’ into this nice movie?
If there was no message, this movie wouldnt have been so nice sir! When Kamal says chauchaalayam is also an alayam, or when he questions the sanity of god for having used a tsunami to save Chennai from the virus, he makes us think, he makes us wonder. His questions are not mere rhetoric, they are voiced by a person who thinks about these concepts (god, religion, belief) a lot. And manages to convey his opinions about these concepts in a coherent manner, with a lot of humor and masala.
7. Why did it have to be KS Ravikumar?
I agree, it is a Shankar size project and would have benefitted from an expert hand like hm. But the issues are not the same. There is no ‘shortcut to social development’ concept (Indian, Gentleman, Anniyan) being handled here. A lot of world issues are discussed, but no opinion is given, no solutions sugested. Shankar wouldnt have been comfortable with the treatment of the subject. K S Ravikumar is the best vehicle for this kind of message. Like a train full of masala taking some mineral water to thirsty minds worldwide. Sale of masala benefits the seller. While the sender of the mineral water is satisfied at having quenched the knowledge-thirst of many people.
8. There are too many logical incosistencies throughout the movie. Like Avtaar cured by the bullet and the Japanese Kamal knowing where exactly to come, to fight Chris Fletcher Kamal and many others.
Again, its a K S Ravikumar movie my dears, ignore the flaws.. Have fun!
9. Chris Fletcher Kamal looks very familiar. Where have I seen him before?
Michael Westmore seems to have modeled this one on Duke Nukem and Terminator. The resemblance to Duke is uncanny
10. Chris Fletcher Kamal says in one scene ‘You talking to me?’. 3-4 people in the audience reacted strongly to this line as soon as it was spoken, why?
Because it reveals one of Kamal’s influences. ‘You talkin to me?’ is an immortal line spoken by Robert De iro in the Academy Award Winner movie Taxi Driver. Kamal is simply payng tribute to De Niro.
I am going to stop with that, in keeping with the 10 theme. But as a diehard fan, what I felt is this.
I place Dasaavatharam, Hey Ram and Aalavandhaan on the same level of Indian cinema. They are not among the stars of world cinema firmament, but they are somewhere high up, in between the usual Indian masala fare and quality word cinema. The only difference is –
In Hey Ram and Aalavandhaan, Kamal was looking up to the stars. In Dasaavatharam, he is looking down into the gutter.