Friday, June 20, 2008

Nuances in Dasavatharam

Having reviewed the movie after watching it for the first time, I decided to watch it once more casting aside my expectations. I found the movie more entertaining and I was able to appreciate the subtle gimmickry much better.

My focus was completely on Kamalhassan, the actor. I blocked out everything else and I was amazed at the sheer virtuosity of the talent exhibited by the actor. Every frame in the movie features multiple avatars of Kamalhassan and at no point do you get the feeling that all the actores aren't sharing the same screen space. The perfect timing that he displays coupled with his wonderful reactive abilities has taken the movie to an awesome level.

Each avatar is characterised by a different gait, diction and body mannerisms. You could call it method acting at its best. It would be easy for an actor to get bogged down being under layers of make-up (as it so happened with Ajith in Citizen). In spite of the restrictive facial layer, he makes his eyes speak volumes and the degree of control his facial muscles exhibit over the make-up is something to be seen to be believed.

Kamal plays the 10 roles with so much ease that he makes us feel that it may not be the same actor playing the 10 roles. Special mention must be given for the portrayal of the RAW agent Balram Naidu (with his Telegu accent) and the CIA agent Fletcher (with his American diction nailed to perfection).

The stunts have been superbly choreographed especially the one featuring the Japanese martial arts expert and the CIA agent towards the movie finale. While each portion featuring an actor was separately shot, the end result makes up for a really fantastic kung fu battle. I am not sure as to how many CG effects were used to render the fight scene but Kamal does come off as extremely agile and I guess some credit must go to the cinematography / choreography team for the picturising it the way they did.

Being a Kamal fan, the review may seem biased but having been critical about the movie in my original review, I tried to only look at the positive points this time. While some (including me) may crib about the necessity of Kamal portraying the 10 characters, one cannot argue about the vision need to bring such a script on screen. The technical team behind Dasavatharam has easily set a benchmark for Indian cinema and this is step in a positive direction towards taking Indian cinema to greater heights.

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