I usually don't write a review of a movie. Three simple reasons: 1) The movie is not so impressive or I have nothing new to add to what has been said already 2) I don't watch movies often(yup! I'm NOT a movie fan. If I watch five movies in a theatre in a year, my family and friends would be so surprised because I just don't watch them in theatres!) 3) I usually thrash out a movie with friends or family after watching it(usually, my sister ends up being the scapegoat where she would patiently listen to me analyzing each scene and each angle of the story. Sometimes its good(like in Gajini), sometimes its bad(like in Om Shanti Om) but all the time,its interesting!) But now that I'm stuck in S____ and the first condition got satisfied, here goes the review of Dasavatharam.
Basically, its a good movie but turns bad and then worse as more and more masala is added to it. Kamal is a versatile actor, there is no doubt in it. But he has tried to do too much in the movie. He has discussed everything from politics to religion to science to what not!!!??? Even in each of these categories, he has taken pains to cover each part(or atleast a sliver of each part). For example, in politics, he has used Bush(yup! the very same American president), Dr.ManMohan Singh(yeah, our Indian prime minister), both our CMs(now and then). I fully expected him to bring in or atleast talk about all the problems of the world(like sand burglary). Thankfully he stopped with this array. In religion, he made sure he covered the Saivites, the Vaishnavites(two major sects of Hinduism), Christianity and finally Islam. In science, he went all the way from Biology to Chemistry. And he added the Japanese guy for .........? For what? To create a fan club for him in Japan(just because Rajini has one)?
I like each of the characters that Kamal portrays(I bow for his excellence in acting, but that's about it. I know I might draw flak from Kamal fans but this is my opinion and this is a free world! So, no comments on this statement please!) but my favorite character is Mr.Balram. He is so natural and the character fits Kamal like a glove. The ones with Bush, the old lady(who incidentally likes rose milk and reminded me of the glorious days of summer break where I did nothing but drink rose milk, play in the hot sun, eat icecream and finish a story book a day! Sigh! Now, I just can't imagine a summer like that any more in my life!), Kallif Ulla, Fletcher(Man! Terminator in tamil ;)) were kind of artificial and showed too well that it was pure makeup. It reminded me of someone wearing a mask and acting. Guess the field of makeup hasn't grown to such a level as to what Kamal expects. But its a good effort! And the Vincent character is good as well but it could have been given more screen space. About the first Ramanuja Daasan, his acting was good if a bit too theatrical.
About the story, there was nothing much in it, right from the beginning. It reminded me of some novel where every character hurries every minute only to leave the reader wondering why all this hurry. Similarly, here, the reason to hurry was not captured and delivered properly to the viewer (unlike Kaaka Kaaka or Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu where the viewer can understand the urgency within a scene!) Here, everyone seems to rush all the time but there is no deep meaning for it all. A short version of the story is that Kamal discovers a virus that can kill everyone in minutes and leave the Earth barren and his boss decides to sell it to terrorists. After a melee(I'll tell you, it was neither hilarious nor gripping! It was similar to Race, the movie where it was confusions galore), Kamal reaches Chidambaram followed by Fletcher(another Kamal, the villain) followed by Balram (another Kamal, the ubiquitous law man) followed by a Japanese(God knows why this guy is there in the movie because all he does is to come on in in the end and fight Fletcher, which Kamal himself could have done(given that loads of tamil heroes manage to do it with ease) Or maybe he was aiming to keep the movie natural? Only Kamal should tell) where he meets Asin(who, by the way, is portrayed as a staunch Vaishnavite and says "Perumaalae!"(Lord's name) every minute. But this turns irritating after some time.) and her granny(another Kamal). Now a chase begins where everyone chases in the above given order and finally Tsunami comes to finish up the unfinished business of the humans.
Now on to why I think the movie can't go into must watch list. Simply put, the movie doesn't give time to the viewer to actually get into the story. It starts in US, then chases begin, then moves to India, then chases go on, then climax. What IS happening? A lady before me in the theatre actually asked her husband this question! LOL!
Secondly, each character has been etched too hurriedly and everyone jostles for screen space with the result that no one gets enough to do justice to their roles and finally confuse everyone(now what was the Muslim family doing in the movie? Too many extra characters like that! It reminds me of "I want a share in the apple pie" story and finally everyone gets a crumb and no one is satisfied!). Even Asin seems to have been added to each scene rather than being part of the story flow. Atleast there should have been some good scenes between Kamal and Asin. It finally looked like they kept running all the time and he fights to save her and everyone thinks they go together and she falls in love even though his principles about God are the exact opposite to what she believes. I can take some amount of comedy, but this is atrocious!! Also, talking about life and love in a superficial manner when tsunami has struck is all the more comical!! Maybe that is why they didn't have a separate comedy track in the movie? Its so cruel to use Mallika Sherawat as done in the movie and kill her even before she tries to act(now you can't blame her for poor acting if her character gets killed after a song and a few other shots, can you?)
Third, some of the characters are so out-of-storyish that I just feel that they have been added to the story just to add another character to Kamal's doable characters list(like Avtaar Singh, Fulla, etc). Fourth, there are loads of double entendres in the movie and its kind of difficult to explain kids as to why the audience laugh for a particular sentence when they don't find anything odd or funny in it. I know that it is expected in a Kamal movie (in any movie nowadays, for that matter) but this one had loads(or is my movie watching skills so low that I don't know the present count/trend? If so, I feel sad for the present teens and pre-teens. They have work cut out for them in keeping their innocence and enjoying childhood and adolescence as much as they can)
Finally, I feel as if they've assumed that every person who watches this movie doesn't have basic sense and would accept everything that is dished out as a movie(just because we pay $20 doesn't mean we have to accept all the crap that is given right? Or is it that we are expected to keep our common sense at home when we go to watch movies? This, especially, disappoints me in this movie! I expected better from Kamal Haasan's movie). Example: the bullet from Fletcher's gun hits the cancerous growth in Avtaar Singh's throat and cures him of cancer without need for surgery while miraculously saving his voice and keeping everything else intact. Nalla kaathula poo sutharaangayaa!!
All said and done, this movie is watchable once but not more than once unless you are a film student and want to know how to act even with a makeup mask on you. This is a simple case of "Too many cooks spoiled the broth". Too many things said in three short hours made sure nothing reached the audience, or at best a garbled message reaches them. Want to know how to etch each character and still do something like acting 10 roles in one movie? Watch Navarathri by Sivaji Ganesan. Now, that is a movie! The lead actress(Savithri (thanks for pointing the error, G!)) leaves home on day one of Navrathri and meets eight different Sivajis and returns home on the tenth day to marry the ninth one. Every character adds some meaning to the movie and there is a good flow in the storyline. And each character, ranging from the inspector to the doctor to the skit maker to the terminal patient, has been done so perfectly and is so amazing. We just can't say that one character has been given more attention than the other or has been protrayed better than the rest. Everything was so good and it was all done with lesser makeup! I guess that is why Sivaji is still considered to be among the best of the best when it comes to acting and Kamal is still trying to reach there!