Sunday, June 22, 2008
Of course I watched it. I enjoyed it too. Because I paid to watch it and I think it is mandatory to give a film enjoyment commensurate with the ticket price. A fantastic movie is one where you toss the ticket in air and enjoy without a weighing scale. Dasavatharam (10 avatars) is not that.
My first notion of this movie was, here is going to be a story where 10 different characters will be required who can be best played by only Kamal (and I think he is the greatest actor in India. Honestly, no one to beat him in anyway). I hope my preconception is understood. If there is simply going to be a cricket match in which 10 of the 11 players are going to be Kamal in different guises, I see no point and I think it is purely a whim and indulgence on the part of an actor to do something like that. If there is a story where there are 10 characters, each very very important to the story and so important that we need the best actor available to perform those roles, then it makes sense (to me) to make a Dasavatharam. Dasavatharam probably had 2-3 such roles which deserved great attention. That is the first thing that disappointed me.
Let me start with the good things about this movie. It is fun to watch. Kamal has done a wonderful job in linking all the stories together in a very interesting manner. The humour was ok but Balarama Naidu took the award for making the movie most enjoyable. He had this typical Telugu patriotism of which I have been personal witness many times during my stay in Hyderabad. I had a colleague who was so passionate about Andhra Pradesh that he couldn't help enquire into everyone's village of origin and then ascertain whether it was to the east or west of the Godhavari!! He would only read the online Telugu e-nadu or whatever it is called. I thought it was peculiarly him, but it turns out that many such individuals exist in the Andhra population. Balaram Naidu was absolutely amazing and the best scene was probably when his mobile phone rings with some weird tune!! Kamal, hats off to you for that. I liked the music though not too much. The fight sequences were also good. The dialogues were also good and I esp. liked the twist of Arivom to Hari Om. Balaram Naidu's dialogues were also fun. Hmmm that's it.
Let's now look at where the movie failed. First of all, the CGI was below poor. It looked like a movie made in 1990s. That gave the movie a very amateurish feel. I think even the direction should have been placed in able hands. Andal (played by Asin) was truly annoying but that might have been intended. My greatest grievance was the pointlessness of certain roles and the greater pointlessness in having Kamal to do those roles. The Afghan, Avatar Singh, Earth activist and the Japanese were totally pointless and seemed to be forcefully inserted in the story. I couldn't stand the way Kamal pronounced "chaos" at the start of the movie. The greatest silly part was Kamal and Fletcher arriving in India at the same time. Huh!? Kamal was in the cargo plane which took off immediately (or nearly immediately) but Fletcher was generally killing people and traveling to Vegas to get Mallika as a translator and then marry her (but why marry her? He is not Indian to have the kind of ethics that he will only travel with his legal wife and no one else!) before catching a flight to India. But he is there within few minutes of the main Kamal being taken into custody!!! Whoa! Doesn't make sense. Some of the stunts also seemed pointless and wasted (like Fletcher cartwheeling off the roof into the parking lot). Mallika was a total waste inserted merely to titillate. She was pathetic in dialogue delivery and even more so in her acting. I wonder why she acts like a grand artist in real life. Asin was passable and served the purpose of the heroine that must exist in every Indian movie in order to achieve commercial success.
In summary, the movie can be watched if you have time to spare! Too long a movie though, but ok.