Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dasavatharam - Kamal in a Vijayakanth Starrer

I was never comfortable about Indian movies that took gimmicks as the USP. They can never make them to perfection like hollywood, nor can they leave out song-dance-fight-sentiment sequences.
I was hoping Kamal would never do such a film loaded with irritating gimmicks stretching his physical endurance to the limit. He has done that, in good style and very little substance.
The movie starts with 17th century Shivite-Vaishnavite ideological tussle with Kamal as the Vaishnavite protogonist who would kill himself than acknowledge Shiva as the supreme God. He gets crucified in the style of Jesus (save us) and gets sunk into the ocean along with the statue of Narayana. What makes me wonder is why this episode is needed? Is it all to say that Lord Narayana created tsunami 3 centuries later to save us from biowar? Or is it to show that Kamal has a muscular physique and he has a fetish to flex his biceps even as he lifts his hands to reach out to god?
Besides all these, the song sequence that lead to the immersion of the statue and the way the ocean has been created in graphics, does make us sit up and expect stunning visuals all through the movie. You will not be disappointed on this account (saving the last tsunami scenes).
The movie cuts forward to the present day USA where Govind (Kamal) works as a bio-scientist creating biological weapons. You may please avoid asking questions like "Why is Govind working as a bio-weapon scientist, when he does not believe in killing lives?". No stakeholder of the movie seems to care. The movie has a USA portion, there is Mallika sherawat, Kamal, car chases etc. Who has time to think about stichting holes in the story line?
So Govind develops this weapon and the owner of this venture funded lab decides to trade it with know who it is. Govind promptly removes the weapon (an NVS pattanam mooku podi sized dabba, which carries a deadly virus) to a safe (or thats what he thinks) place.
The next half hour of the movie is about swanky cars, fast chases, helicopter combing and some stylish encounters typical to hollywood. In the process we get introduced to the conman "Fletcher" (Kamal again) who brings loads of gore within minutes of settling down in the screen. (You are better off bending down to pick up your pop corn than witnessing the jigsaw style killing of the japanese wife of Govind's friend).
While you still wonder why an American could not have been hired for this role, the movie shifts base to India, where the bioweapon has been transported to. (accidentally in a cargo flight). Much to our relief, Govind encounters a gult supercop (Balram Naidu) who mistakes him for a terrorist that came with the cargo flight. This gult role a class act of Kamal. Strengthened with Crazy Mohan dialogues, the scenes involving Balram, Fletcher (who has followed Govind to india) and Govind set the floor on a laughter spiral. Kamal's role as a Andal's (asin) paati is another highlight of the movie. Kamal pulls off the 90 year old's voice modulation and amazingly, even the withered physique...
The bioweapon which gets to India as a cargo delivery, gets delivered to Andal's paati in Chidambaram. The weapon, through a sequence of rip roaring comic events get into the Narayana idol which is on a procession in the street. The rest of the movie is all about where the weapon travels and how the entire cast camps at Chidambaram to get the weapon. Its hard to reason out why Avtar singh (Kamal again) decides to come to Chidambaram for his live concert. He probably knows a thing or two about crowding metros and second rung cities being the growth drivers? Whatever! Jeyapradha is his wife (Kamal will never get enough of her I guess).
We also dont understand why the 7 ft muslim and his family (nagesh, KR Vijaya) were needed there, nor do we understand what Kamal tries to convey through Santhanam-Dalit leader Vincent (Kamal again) stand off. The kanyakumari-Trivandrum fishermen dialect could not have been delivered better. Vincent's body language, dialogue delivery and make up are sure case studies in their respective areas.
After a protracted chase laced with some amazing stunts and entertaining crazy mohan-esque climax chases, Govind, Fletcher,Balram naidu and the Japanese Kung Fu brother of the slain japanese girl all meet up in the skating rink in besant nagar beach (all trying to take possession of the weapon).
At this point, since we were all given liberal dosage of intolerably foolish and sub-standard logic and turn of events, we dint bother to check if indeed "Sodium Chloride" (Salt) is the solution to de-activate bio-weapon. We give in to believe that it is the case. Thats the only way we can end bio-war and the war on human kind (Dasavatharam-the movie).
What 10 avatars of Kamal (including that of Bush) cannot achieve, Lord Narayana achieves by creating Tsunami and heaps millions of gallons of NaCl (kadal thanni ba!) on the bio weapon.
When we think the movie should have ended, Govind goes into the lecture of atheism and picks a caricatured (courtesy: sriram, for this thought) iyengar girl's unrefined ways of proving God's existence, to prove his point that God indeed does not exist or even if he does, he is not better than bio-terrorists.
Firstly, Kamal should understand he is not a thought leader in the areas of existence or lack of god.
Secondly, even if he does believe he is, we are not there to pay for his movies to get his sermons..We are there to watch a movie. Period
Thirdly, when choosing some contrived stories with choppy execution (which he admits by bringing chaos theory unnecassarily to support to disjoint script) he should have spent less effort and donned just one role (that of the scientist) and should have left the rest of the roles for actors who have their real skins and acting flavors than pasting tons of plaster of paris and looking like disfigured ghost for most parts.
Better it would have been if Kamal had decided to direct the movie and let Vijaykanth act as the scientist. We would not have had much expectation and we would even have not minded if the cargo plane landed in Afganisthan instead of Chennai. Vijaykanth has made these things possible and believable in all his blockbusters.
No! As an afterthought, Vijaykanth as an old paati would have been the worst thing, even more dangerous than the bio weapon itself!

2 of my fans were here!:

Jan said...

Narayana! Narayana! Why didnt the 2004 tsunami take Kamal Hassan??!

Sriram on 9:39 PM said...

ohboy - as much as i love ur scorching review (& my quote!)u better hope 'kamal saar' doesnt read it or the kazhaga kanmanis will be upon us in no time!


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