This review is my personal opinion of the movie. Have made an attempt as how Dr. Kamal Hassan would have conceived the movie. There could be flaws in my interpretation, but have made a sincere attempt to be honest and had to watch the “full” movie second time to get clear understanding of the movie.
The movie is based on ‘Chaos Theory’ and the screenplay has been adopted just to prove it. Ironically, Mr. Hassan has used Lord Vishnu’s ten avataram to prove ‘his belief’ about Chaos Theory, that’s the gist of the movie.
Recently, I have started admiring him more as a official/unofficial director(Hey Ram, Virumandi and Alavandhan) than as an actor and this movie is just another example. This movie has lot of flaws, which I am sure he would have very easily avoided on his own, but could not. The reason, I guess, is just the opposite of what people commonly believe. It is a common belief that he interferes with his director’s work but this film clearly shows that the director and producer have interfered in Mr. Hassan’s script, if not it would have clearly catered at least one set of audience. The director and producer, must have insisted Mr. Hassan to spice up the script by adding few commercial ingredients. The end product is “neither for the class nor for the mass audience”. A lot of stuff seen in the movie have put Vijay/Rajinikanth movies to shame. Example, Patti running over people’s shoulder to put the veil under the statue, the bullet getting rid of Avatar Singh’s cancer tissue, Christian Fletcher jumping down without any tools from the fifth-sixth floor of a building, Govind Ramaswamy jumping from a high bridge without knowing what is going to happen next, only to find him cushioned on a vegetable lorry, over use of Asin in the second half etc etc., Such things could have been VERY EASILY avoided. Quite naturally, the producer must have been scared about the commercial success of the movie and hence the director/producer’s influence is clearly seen in such scenes.
Regarding make-ups, a lot of hard work and effort has gone into it, from that aspect he has done at great job even at his age. However, the end product reminded me of the fancy dress competition that we used to have in my school, nothing more than that.
In my opinion, if Mr. Hassan was bold, he on his own should have produced this movie and should have made it like the Lord of the Rings. This movie had quality contents that could have been filmed for a minimum of 8-10 hours. I am sure it would have been a class movie if it was done that way.
As said earlier, the movie is about Kamal Hassan’s belief in “chaos theory “and “butterfly effect”, according to this theory what it means is
“systems whose state evolves with time – that may exhibit dynamics that are highly sensitive to initial conditions” - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory.
According to this concept, the happenings of a system(here world) are highly sensitive to the initial conditions, that is the reason he goes back to the 12 th century, where the heavy statue of Lord Vishnu falling on to the sea bed has a small effect on the tectonic plates, slowly causing a chain reaction, which later develops into a Tsunami after 800 years. He also intelligently uses the Nambi character from the same 12 th century as the fore-father of Govind Ramaswamy’s character to tell the story. Excellent story telling technique.
Secondly, a lot of people criticize the use of ten characters, he surely has a valid reason to it and has done it very neatly and each character has a meaning to the chaos theory. If Bush had called the plane back to US, the story would not have progressed, had the Japanese character not been there Christian Fletcher would not have been killed, had Patti not dropped the veil into the statue it would have gotten into the hands of the villain, with Kaifullah, Govind character would not have escaped, without Vincent Boovaragan, Andal(Asin) and the statue(which had the veil) would not have been saved, a lot like these, and the list goes on and on. All these things happen in a unpredictable chaotic manner and had a effect on the final happening, in short chaos theory.
Kamal Hassan has VERY NEATLY attached(he could have done it more effectively) each of the ten characters to the ten avatarams of Lord Vishnu.
1. Shingen Narahashi – Narasimha avataram – Not just the name and the makeup, also the characterization. In Narsimha avataram, Lord Vishnu was a guru and he was neither a man nor an animal and had to kill Hiranyakasipu without any weapons and hence the martial arts thing and the weird makeup.
2. Vincent Boovaragan – Krishna avataram -Was a Dalit, Saves Andal(Asin) from the Sand quarry villan while her cloth is being stripped and gets killed by a steal rod poked on his leg. Exactly similar to what Krishna was and how he died, Krishna died of an arrow being hit in his leg and saved Draupathi while her dress was stripped and he too was suppose to be a Dalit.
3. Kalifulla Khan - Vamana Avatar – This is the avataram where he takes the vishwaroopam and hence this character.
4. Christian Fletche - Parasuram Avataram – Referred as Rama with the Axe – Christian Fletcher has an iron axe in his hand. This is one avataram where Lord Vishnu gets into killing spree and kills and kills 21 generations, and so does Christian Fletcher her, he gets into a killing spree.
5. Krishnaveni Paati – Varaha Avatar – Her makeup was very horrible, plus if you look closely, the character’s makeup resembles like a pig, mouth protruding and also she plays that character of a pig in the Mukundha song……
6. Rangaraja Nambi - Masya Avatar – This character was tied to the statue and thrown into the sea, loosely depicted character of Masya Avatar.
7. Balaram Naidu – Balaram Avatar – The name and action clearly imply this avatar and he was fair skinned as compared to his brother Krishna and hence the makeup looks pretty close to Vincent Boovaragan.
8. Avatar Singh – Rama Avatar – Who believes in love and one man/one woman theory, and hence he was willing to sacrifice his voice for his wife….
9. Koorma Avatar – Probably Bush –for being slow to act, the character even says funnily, “if it is complicated then don’t say”.
10. Govind Ramasamy – Kalki Avatar – Who is yet to appear and is suppose to appear to the current world.
He has clearly weaved a very good script, with an excellent storyline and clearly interlinked it at each stage to chaos theory with the help of the above ten characters. He did not make an ordinary rags to riches or love story that we see today, he has given a very brave attempt.
To make it class movie he should have cut all the commercial contents and made each of the character elaborate, and made it a 10 hour movie, but will people accept it ???
If no, he is not running a charity, he too is running a business, from that aspect he has done an excellent job.
I might or might not agree to his concept of chaos theory, keeping that aside, he surely is a RARE and TRUE genius in Indian cinema a class apart. We should be proud of unearthing such a treasure, we should encourage him and people like him for their on screen activities if we need to take Indian cinema to the next level.
Dasavatharam - review.