Dasaavatharam – My impressions

This is coming much later than it should have. I don’t see the point of writing a review now, coz every possible point of view has been said a hundred times already on one blog or the other.

Now if you want plot and other things, you might want to peruse this, and this. Much of this might seem alien to you if you have little or no interest in the movie. If you are interested in watching the movie, this post might contain spoilers… but everyone and his brother seems to have watched this one, so I’ll give short shrift to the possibility you haven’t yet watched it. Here go my impressions on this flick.

  • Don’t don’t don’t read a hundred reviews of a movie you’re planning to watch, irrespective of how high your curiosity levels are. It affects how you view the movie. In my case, I already knew about all the 10 roles, and what to look out for in each; part of the WOW effect was lost. And… you already know which avatar each Kamal is, so you don’t anymore have the joy of it all dawning on you.
  • I despise the mall culture even more now, and believe these islands of high pricing should be done away with as soon as possible; Rs. 300/- per person is simply not done, so what if it’s a weekend.
  • Now to the movie – it comes close to perfection. Well-made, definitely. Flaws, yes it does have them. But the plot.. ah, now that’s what is called seamless. No loose ends at all!
  • The pace is real fast, especially in the first half – you turn to explain something to your cousin next to you, and snap! you’ve missed a good deal of what happened.
  • The performances. First let’s see the non-Kamal ones – Asin’s okay except for the hysterics in the first half. Mallika Sherawat… ironically, the lady is totally unnecessary in this plot about how everything-is-connected-to-everything-else. Nagesh and KR Vijaya are their usual selves. Rekha (no, not Gemini Ganesan’s daughter, better known as Umrao Jaan or Mother ’98) sheds tears well in her bit role. Jayapradha looks good, shakes a leg, but doesn’t have too much to do. The Japanese lady simply captivates you with her calmness, poise, loyalty and grit to fight till the end. Napoleon as Kulothunga Chola is believable, and when Asin throws her Mangalsutra at him and he laughingly dodges it, you’ve never hated anyone else more. Heck… only this many non-Kamal characters???
  • Now for Kamal. Rangaraja Nambi is slightly over the top, but a powerful performance nevetheless. Govind is stock guy-next-door Kamal. George Bush has nothing much to do. Fletcher needed more punch I felt. I didn’t like Avtaar Singh that much. Khalifulla Khan was well-etched as the dutiful son. Shingen Narahasi’s stunts are great, apart from the bits where (cliched though it might sound) his silence speaks volumes, and his Japanese is flawless. Vincent Poovaragam is a strong performance. Krishnaveni Paati was awesome. And Balram Naidu… if a role came close to being perfectly researched, perfectly executed, or just Perfect, it was this one. The accent (he speaks five languages in Telugu) was so Gulty you can’t help but marvel, and the CrazyMohan-ish dialogues have everyone in splits.
  • My status message now says “In Dasaavatharam, Kamal does 10 kinds of roles – good, and godawesome“.
  • Himesh sucks. He really does. Why couldn’t it be Karthik Raja or Charan or even Yuvan Shankar Raja?
  • The plot, like I said before, was flawless. Kamal really deserves a pat on the back for this effort at writing a plausible storyline with so many constraints – ten characters of varying makeup requirements, ten connected stories which should all make sense together as well as have some paisa-vasool sequences… heck, nothing appears forced in this, except for ten characters played by Kamal.
  • Talking of which, if the ten characters had been played by ten other people, it still would have been an awesome plot. This one beats all the other unconnected-stories-linked-up flicks hollow, including Babel and Crash. And is more believable than both put together. I’m not going to talk about the interconnectedness here, but if you disagree with that bit, do feel free to start a discussion about the same on the comments section.
  • I do have a few gripes though. Asin’s “PerumaaLae!” is too screechy at times. The song in the opening sequence totally diluted the whole seriousness of the scene. The make-up is too caky for Bush, Fletcher, Paati and Narahasi. And whatever the infinite monkey theorem might state, it was still a bit too much to believe the monkey could type in the password on first try. NaCl *sigh*. And why did Naidu have to be called a R&AW official and be portrayed as a bumbling bureaucrat in the first half? Wouldn’t the CBI have been sufficient?
  • The bullet taking the cancer away was portrayed more plausibly than in a Mithunda flick of yesteryear… and if it wasn’t for the popularity of that scene in extremely derogatory ways, I don’t think it would have been taken so negatively. Still, it’s one of those “Ohh.. *sigh*” scenes, along with the one where the ice boxes get exchanged.
  • Some trivia: I read somewhere that the Bay of Bengal in the 12th century was home to sharks, locally known as suran. So the shark in the scene where Nambi is drowned is not just some jingchak special effect. Lazy Geek draws parallels between Sin City’s Marv and Fletcher here.
  • The bits about Ramasamy Naicker and Kalaignar from Asin invoked nothing but empathy, and I suppose I’m not alone in wishing it wasn’t censored away. Various other little things… theetu, Asin singing the idol to sleep, Asin getting the shivers when she hears a wolf howl… everything about Naidu’s intro scene including the Gulty ringtone, his asking the guy named Narasimha Rao whether he’s Gult too… these are the little details that add life to the characters.
  • KS Ravikumar…  heck, how can he manage to actually look not-at-all-out-of-place in a song sequence?
  • You see so many flicks about love across faiths, but this is the first I’ve seen about a relationship between a believer and an agnostic.
  • Someday I’d like to see a sequel.

I’d say go watch it. And if you already have, watch it again.

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
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8 Responses to Dasaavatharam – My impressions

  1. sparsham says:

    I totally agree with the first point of yours… 🙂

  2. Karthik Ram says:

    I am sorry. Did we watch the same movie?

  3. Tuna Fish says:

    Havent Watched, Dunno if I will(Lesse)but I heard bad reviews

  4. Rita says:

    If it wasnt for the make up looking unconvincing, it was all nicely done.

  5. wanderlust says:

    @karthik ram:
    i suppose you were watching the film that was hyped as kamal’s magnum opus, while i was watching a movie made with the constraints of creating a guinness record as well as making money and being watchable.

  6. xterminator says:

    I could not believe that you thought asin’s role was okie.
    All she said in the movie was “En perumal-ai En kitta koduthirungoooo” and ya she reintroduced me to the long forgotten word chowchaalayam.
    About kamal haasan, he has really done a gr8 work for the movie. But We all would have loved a simpler story too.
    Sure Himesh sucks.
    Asin falling in love with govind, Their journey hanging in the train, The dialogue “Think about it.We will talk about it later” were all pretty funny.
    Enjoyable film.

  7. sofia says:

    normally i hate kamal movies….after watching dasaavatharam….reallly i got impressed…dont have words to praise him…..watched the movie more than six times…i never watched a movie like this(not even two times)…i appreciate his dedication….plz dont compare anyother actors with kamal…it means we r spoling kamal’s image…..proud to say he is an Indian..hats off kamal….u need for tamil cinema…no one can beat you….lot of risk in make up and characters only u can do it….i’m sure abt that…in simple words…….YOU ARE GREAT;)

  8. Jermain says:

    Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon…

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