Picture courtesy : Behindwoods. All 10 avatars of Kamal Haasan in Dasavatharam
No. This isn’t a review of Kamal Haasans recent flick Dasavatharam. This is my personal outburst against those negative reviews about the movie. I am not an ardent fan of Kamal Haasan, but I have always been an admirer of his movies, his creativity and his attitude to never give up.
I have read enough criticisms on Dasavatharam already; most of which have slammed the movie harshly. Agreed, the movie doesn’t have a great storyline. It doesn’t even boast of CGI’s of Hollywood standards. Even the makeup of some of Kamals avatars looked plastic. and also certain scenes didn’t make sense to some part of the viewers. But my question is have we ever got to see such an effort from any other actor in India? Have we experienced something like this before from the Indian film industry? Wouldn’t future movies on similar genre would benchmark Dasavatharam for its creativity content? We have seen directors and producers experimenting with their movies, but they also end up casting a new or an upcoming star because the established actors avoid risks. But it needs courage for a veteran actor like Kamal Haasan (from now on K.H.) to come up with a product like Dasavatharam. Critics claim that K.H. is present in every frame of the movie and is being a narcissist these days; but that’s how Dasavatharam is supposed to be. 10 different body languages, 10 different looks, 10 different dialects, 10 voice modulations; how else do you expect the movie to be without showing in each frame?
Same time last year, we had a similar over-hyped movie from the ‘Asian’ superstar Rajnikanth. The movie from beginning till end made no sense and the whole movie survived on a wafer thin plot. If that particular movie, which was Sivaji, received so many positive reviews from the critics, then why is K.H.’s Dasavatharam undergoing this dismal fate in the hands of the so-called reviewers? There was nothing new in Sivaji, absolutely no extra effort from the lead actor or from any of the crew for that matter; yet it managed to rake in the moolahs at the box office and also get outstanding reviews.
And why is K.H. the only one targeted everytime for the fate of the movie that he stars? What about the rest of the crew who is involved in a movie? It was the same director, Suresh Krishna, who made K.H.’s Aalavandan(Abhay) and Rajnikanths Baba. Both flopped miserably at the box office; but the ultimate verdict was different. Aalavandan(Abhay) flopped and K.H was held responsible; Baba flopped and this time the director was responsible. Now, is this because K.H himself writes his story and screenplay? If that’s the scenario, most of todays actors refine the original script according to their wish and fancies to get their mass appeal. In a way, the actors are involved to a great extent in the script writing stage but they do not want that fact to come out. (Quite recently, actor Vijay was approached by director Gautham Menon with a script; but the former went to the extent of providing the director some DVDs of his B-grade masala movies and asked him to incorporate similar scenes in the script) and so whats wrong in K.H. writing for himself? And for an actor like K.H., who has tried his hands at everything possible, would it not be difficult for a scriptwriter to come with a compelling script?
Last but not the least, why compare a commercial potboiler like Dasavatharam to the likes of Mahanadi, Nayakan, Guna, Anbe Sivam, Virumandi, etc.? It should ideally be compared with his movies of a similar genre; like Avvai Shanmugi(Chachi 420), Michael Madan Kamarajan, Panchatantiram,Vasool Raja MBBS (Munnabhai MBBS) or Apoorva Sahodarangal (Appu Raja). If movies like Sivaji and Om Shanthi Om can be declared superhits with good reviews, then there is nothing wrong in Dasavatharam reaching that scale. It all falls under the same genre.
When the man comes up with extraordinary movies, the viewers and critics simultaneously show him the backdoor. When he comes with innovative entertainers, the same people compare it with his good works and once again reject it. C’mon, leave the poor man alone. He is atleast trying to do something different each time and not resorting himself to the same genre of movies like many of his comrades. Is this the kind of encouragement we give a person who has been trying to revive the film industry from god-knows-when?
All said and done, Dasavatharam is a complete masala entertainer with doses of elements to ponder. Chaos theory or butterfly effect are not subjects that we come across in our movies and K.H. as a story teller was innovative enough to convey this to the audience. But K.H.’s failure, according to me, has always been to make his messages reach the viewers as the actual intent gets lost among the commercial elements of the movie. I am sure in years to come, people will appreciate Dasavatharam and its content. The same set of ‘judges’ will then compare one of his new release to the story telling and technical brilliance of Dasavatharam; a phenomenon which K.H. experienced with some of his earlier attempts (Virumandi, Anbe Sivam and Hey Ram).