Friday, June 13, 2008

Dasavatharam - Movie review (Tamil, 2008)

Finally, Dasavatharam is out. Reading all the media reports gives an indication towards to kind of bumper opening the movie has taken. Obviously a lot of effort has gone into the movie and it is visible in every frame. Has all the effort translated into on screen success? Read further.

The story is as simple as it can get. It's start-to-end chase movie. A bio-tech company in the US has developed a synthetic bio-weapon. Fearing that the weapon will fall into bad hands, the hero (Kamal in one of his avatars) pockets it and takes off while being chased by a ex-CIA agent, RAW agent while running into a host of characters such as a pop singer, 90 year grandma, a dalit social activist, a tall Muslim, a Japanese kung fu expert and ofcourse George Bush. Another character played by Kamalhassan is that of Rangarajan nambi where he plays an ardent vaishnavite priest

While the actor in Kamalhassan admirably performs the job, it's in the role of scriptwriter that he fails. The movie tends to lag a little and a host characters add no value to the movie apart from being there just for the sake of it. Of course, some of the characters do sparkle especially the RAW agent with his telegu background and accent while the CIA agent does show some charisma. You won't find fault with the acting at any level but at the same time their presence isn't mandatory. One thing that stood out like a sore thumb was the 12th century portion which has no relevance to the rest of the movie. That segment while being engrossing on its own, doesn't connect with the rest of the movie.

Dasavatharam has big ambitions and it's sad that though a lot of money was spent on the movie (according to Indian standards), it still ain't enough. As the movie relies on a lot of special effects, this further adds to the woes of the movie. A lot of special effects used look amateurish and tacky. This is a big dampener as seamless use of special effects is integral to a movie like Dasavatharam. We still have a long way to go in this area. Make up is another area that doesnt fully satisfy the viewer. It's still plainly visible that the actors are donning a layer of plastic on their face. But credit to Kamal to make us overlook such an obvious flaw with his nuanced acting.

The much hyped movie does deliver in parts. Humour is weaved in an unobtrusive manner and so is pathos. The stunts are choreographed pretty nicely and so are the songs kept to a minimum thus not hindering the flow of the movie. Asin and Mallika, both have minimal roles to play, and are suitably used.

Watching the movie, I feel that Kamalhassan may have been constrained by the budget and technology available at his disposal but with his grand vision will allows others to venture into territory hitherto not pursued.

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3 comments so far...

Anonymous said...

Never knew that tamil movie gets released in Cardiff as well:-)

Wasn't worth 8 quid - the screenplay was very weak.

Well - certain movies we "ought to see" irrespective of whether its good or not. This was one - so never mind.

There wasnt much crowd in the theatre either. Last time i saw a tamil movie (Sivaji) in Ilford it was packed.

ashwin said...

..........the film is terrific..........the theaters are overflowin......u must hav watched in a hut

Mahesh Subramanian said...

Well, they do release quite a few tamil movies in Cardiff. I watched Dasavatharam twice and both the shows had good crowd. And people were definitely enjoying the movie. Wish it had a more sensible and strong script which would have enhanced the performance by Kamal