Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dasavatharam - the movie review

I got to see this new Kamal movie Dasavatharam over the weekend. I guess I was expecting more given the hype, but came out with a lukewarm feeling about the movie. It seemed more like a reincarnation of Micheal Madana Kama Rajan, rather than 10 incarnations!

First, the Rangarajan Nambi episode is a bit gross to watch with family. The scenes are well taken, and Napolean has done extremely well sitting throughout on an elephant. I think the legend is Nambi fell by himself into the water along with the statue - not chained up as depicted - they were clear upfront that they have used a figment of imagination. Legend also has it that 2 of Ramanuja's disciples had their eyes gorged out, so we can't give a clean chit to the king. It was a good way to convey the message that people will find divine identities to fight about - when Allah and Jesus weren't around, they picked on Vishnu & Siva, though the Gods have nothing to do with these fights.

The idea of deadly virus and all that is good. The scenes are designed well (especially tsunami related), and somehow linked to the main storyline. What bothered me was the need for so many characters, which didn't look like Kamal at all. The make up as President Bush, the granny, the white terrorist (Keith Fletcher) the CBI officer (Naidu), tall muslim, the social worker (Vincent Boovarayan?), Japanese karate master was all too much. Since the world knows Kamal is a distinguished actor that can do any role, I don't think this proved anything new.

I was actually expecting the avatars will happen in sequence (just like the original Vishnu's 10 avatars). But, all of these characters were mixed, and didn't look like Kamal, so that was disappointing. If I compare this with Austin Powers, where Mike Meyers comes in about 4 roles, I'd rate Austin Powers much higher than Dasavatharam. The dialog, the comedy, the scenes are structured and coordinated much better in Austin Powers, and it doesn't make you toss in the chair at times, wondering how much longer is this going to be. In Dasavatharam, some of the tamil is too intense, the Japanese tamil, telugu mix and plenty of english is a strange combination. I think director Ravikumar is also running out of steam - Sivaji also has a similar formula and somewhat a drag towards the end.

The final message is also good (in complex tamil, though) - there needs to be a majority of rational people for religious beliefs to be replaced with scientific thinking.

My dad didn't like it, and my wife wanted to see it again and I was in the middle. Overall, an ok time pass, but could have been done way better to live up to the name and hype.

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