Some thoughts on Dasaavathaaram aka DasaFAQ

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.

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9 Responses to Some thoughts on Dasaavathaaram aka DasaFAQ

  1. So far, I have heard two kinds of reviews – the ones that love it and the ones that hate it! Kamalhassan has succeeded for sure.

    Beyond the commercial value, I certainly consider this a commendable attempt to create a lasting piece of art! This certainly is not a perfect piece of art, but certainly an excellent one – we all know pursuing excellence is better than pursuing perfection and never get there….

    Really heartening to see artists who want to think beyond a triangular love story, feudalism or corruption. Kamal (which means lotus) stands out truly as a ‘setril mulaitha senthamarai’ this way.

    Over the years, I continue to be impressed by Kamal’s attention to detail. In Da’tharam, the ones that impressed me are the following:
    1. 12th century Iyengar kamal has ‘samasanam’ done in his shoulders
    2. Bush’s body language when he waves his hand to the Indian crowd – impeccable!

    Look forward to more great efforts.. way to go!

  2. Hrishi says:

    what is the connection between the 12th century and present day events da??

  3. Ponnarasi says:

    Ur mention about Kamal’s agnostic version was too good 🙂 A review which has a professional touch after a long time. Great reading.

  4. mythreyee says:

    aalavandaan and hey ram were kamal’s very own masterpieces, finish to end, every frame and every minute sound in the movie was kamal-inspired and showed through and through, unlike here in dasavatharam, where it’s so obvious kamal wasnt involved in any way more than just his own role-plays.

    the graphics were downright terrible. the characters were amazing, except for the sardar – he kinda bugged me really! why did we have a sardar in the movie and why was he singing stupid stupid himesh reshamaiya TAM songs?! geez! i never thought i’d be forced to hear that bugger’s music in tam cinemas too!

    and kamal is above and beyond petty facing-the-camera-and-delivering-a-makkal-punch-dialog scene! c’mon, K.S, gimme a break!

  5. Ponnarasi.K says:

    Hai..correcta enna welcome back Ponnarasi nu solluthu! 😀

  6. Aravind AM says:

    Before watching it, I didn’t expect it to be a masala! I thought it would be a genuine sci fi film… So, was not satisfied!!
    But, loved the movie whn i watched it the second time, coz i watched it with a masala-movie-mindset 😛 kudos to kamal for thinking out of the box, and making a masala movie so that it reaches the masses!!!

  7. sanu says:

    Dear all,

    Dasaavatharam was a marvellous and brave attempt to innovate indian movie concepts.
    But the sreenplay written by kamal was dragging in some scenes(Scenes of
    paatti,khalifullah and Asin).and the Director who was not strong enough to suggest
    and change these scenes, could’nt do anything in this movie

    Kamal as a writer is in confusion at many times and tries to confuse the people also(Hey Ram,Alavanthan).It seems he does not have any clear message to convey or if he has , he has done it in a mystic way. In the future I expect him to not write any scripts because almost all his scripts has lot of flaws and eccentrism in it.It lacks a free flow in many places.
    His thoughts are some times immature and it is reflected when he presents Asin and paatty. Their combination scenes where harassing.Every one knows chouchalam is an alayam but not an alayam which everyone like to mention
    or to cherish. Kamal is not the first person to realise this..

    If the writer, and the actor is the same person,he can present things in his view only and not in the view of a third person.An in this case the director who
    should have a total outlook of the movie unfortunately bends himself to the
    ideas of kamal only.And I strongly recommend Kamal not to direct or write his next venture Marmayogi .Please give the movie to some good directors like sankar who will lead the movie and coordinate all the factors including kamal(Indian).
    If this happens the movie also will be perfect entertainer(not like dasaavatharam which lacks perfection ).He has ideas and the guts but to make it perfect he should accompany some one who can guide him to make it perfect.

    One of the other problem was with the makeup. The makeup which claims to
    be perfect was ugly for many charecters(Paatty,Khalifullah,Bush. But the
    Body language of all of the charecters were Superb,which can only done by kamal.

    The computer graaphics in the movie was yet another failure. If the first
    scenes were shot normally or with good graphics it would have been far better.
    The scenes like the soldiers taking him to the sea, the shark in the sea, the tsunami
    were below than average. According to me Graphics , if not properly used
    will exhibit poor results and will be far away from reality and cannot convey the
    effect to the audience and I strongly advice to avoid graphics and if it is inevitable
    work with the best technicians.
    Dasaavatharam is in between the sweet movies of kamal like
    Apoorva sahodarkal,Indian,Thevar magan,Avaai Shanmugi,nayagan, Anpe sivam
    and his sour experiments like Hey Ram, Alavanthan and Virumandi.The later
    movies were not art oriented or not entertaineres that will entice his Fans.These
    movies contains the flavours of both the categories and not perfect in both senses.
    He himself and the audience were confused about the movement of the movie(whether art or commercial) and its concepts an its message.He himself was
    hallucinated and depicted certain incidents and tried to tie together, and it failed
    to entertain people.
    Dear kamalji, The themes you are trying to say is always Superb than
    any other Actor or Film maker.But you should remember that u are best in acting
    and please try to concentrate in it.Plese leave the other fields like screenplay
    and direction.Try to accompany the directors and give them freedom to express
    themselves.They are more closer to the Audience than you. Now you are
    very far from the pulse of the audience.You always select good themes.The
    problem is the treatment of these subjects.Try to tell these stories in a way
    it will entertain the people also(Like Indian).
    Lets forget the past .As a Kaml Fan I expect his next venture.
    God’s grace A.R Rahman is with him .It wll strengthen the movie a lot.And
    Kamal please give the complcated areas like Sreenplay writing angd direction to
    the professionals.You may be a genius than them.But they are more closer
    to audience than u angd it will help tro make ur new movie both perfect and popular
    and a clean Entertainer

  8. Kaushik says:

    Not sure if I hated the movie. For certain didnt like it.

    But reading thru Scudies’ blog is far more entertaining.

    Its worth watching the movie.

    Super Scudie.

  9. Ponnarasi says:

    Tok Tok…Any1 here? 🙂

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