Once upon a time, not so long ago, in the feud of the superstars of the South, one Mr. Rajnikant made a movie called Sivaji. This was an out and out masala movie, received extremely well by audiences the world over. So, our other Mr. Movie star had to make another movie to prove he was better – or wadever! So he walked up to Mr. K S Ravikumar – a director, who is better known to have directed movies like Padayappa and Muthu, all huge BO successes – and using all his might (a lot of which can also be seen on screen, as he splits at his seams – someone tell Mr. Kamal Haasan to go to the gym!) – said, “Dude, I want a movie made for me.”
So the meek director says, “y…y…yessir.. b..b..but…. s..sss…story… ssssir?”
“Oh hell, does it matter? I need to be in every frame. That is it! Give it some nice historic name… Shivaji… oh na na… that is taken… how is Haider Ali? Nah, then I cannot have a string of women around…. So no… umm… mythological…. Adonis? Well… that is too much of a giveaway, (sniggling to himself ). No… Dasaavatharam!! Yes!!! 10 roles! Great….. Get on with it now…”
This is how the magnum FLOPus Dasaavatharam, it appears, was made. (At least that is the only logical explanation to this highly illogical torture.
Now, many people have trashed this movie. No doubt. Everyone has been expecting something out of the world from this movie, because the last time Kamal Haasan made a movie with more than 2 roles, the movie was a runaway laugh riot (remember Michael Madana Kama Rajan?). 4 roles – awesome movie. 10 roles – you do the math. That was the logic.
But unfortunately, this movie has been made with the express interest of being added to the actor’s resume. Why? 20 years down the line, if he is remembered while his statue is being unveiled, the people can count this movie as being one where he has displayed his acting prowess, by starring in a bizarre piece of so-called creative cinema. But hey – why grate on our nerves to add on to your resume? Plus, the only thing true in the above line is ‘bizarre’!
So why is this movie so faaltoo? (sorry for being so blunt, but we never trashed haal-e-dil, because we never knew it had already been released! Has it?? Hell, who’s bothered?!!) Anyway, the plot – basically revolves around the travails of a troubled Indian scientist, a victim of different circumstances, as he desperately chases a vial of the most deadly virus to date– a product of synthetic biochemistry. The movie begins with a scene depicting a 12th century fight between Shivites and Vasihnavites. ‘What on earth is the relation to the plot’, you ask? Hey remember, we need 10 roles? Our friend had been back-role-creating (as in backward integration), and he thought all those who like mythological movies, may come to see that aspect! And, he now has to worry about only 9 more roles – Tadaaaa.
Ok so where does the plot start? Our protagonist is a scientist in USA. He begins by realizing the head honchos of his team have sold their consciences to the terrorists, and as usual, he is the one man army who needs to recover the vial. So, a friend by mistake sends the vial (now if the virus was so deadly, why was it callously tossed into the back seat?), by courier to India. So he somehow sneaks into the hold of a cargo plane and lands mysteriously in Chennai airport.
So 2 roles dikhe.
Now we need 8 more. So what do we do? Hey we need a bad guy. Who should you call??? ‘Kamal haasan’ (To be sung in the Ghost busters tune please. All his faces look like ghosts anyway.) So the villain of the movie Mr. Christian Fletcher, who seems to have landed from Krypton - because just like Superman, he never seems to get hurt, even if hit a billion times, or if he jumps off a tall building - is also……. Yeappp Kamal Haasan.
3 down 7 to go.
Protagonist (lets call him P) lands in India, and he is taken for questioning. Now every chor needs a pulees right? Again….. no prizes for guessing. Pulees is Kamal again, in a dorky getup.
6 more, guys… that’s all.
So how do we create more roles? Ok the recipient of the courier containing the vial is an old granny (highly annoying old woman), who, again is… I am not completing the sentence. Our dumb old granny decides to submit the vial to the Lord, and this she does by deftly walking over half a dozen shoulders (hey grandma could also have been from Krypton!) and kerplunk…. Into the Lord’s Idol goes the vial. And by now, I have lost my patience.
Oh did I mention the fact that Mallika Sherawat is in the movie too? She is just made to play the role of the moll, and nothing else, and she is bumped off pretty early on. So… go figure! A highly irritating, dumb, mad, annoying Asin grates on your nerves as she goes screaming, ranting, bellowing, shrieking – you get it right? So much for the female saviors of the movie.
Oh I forgot, we are just at panchavtar!! What about the rest? So also thought the director. So what did he decide to do? Well, give the scientist a turncoat friend, and make his wife a Japanese. Tadaaa we have a Karate master who wants to avenge his student’s death – role number 6!
Neeext – A huge Muslim guy who apparently is encountered in a freak accident between his vehicle and that of P. Role – nothing or should I say role number 7.
Oh then we have a Sardarji singer, who again has no role, save for being role number 8. He did look a lot like Gulshan Grover though!
Two more roles, two more roles!! Ok pick up an issue in Tamil Nadu - Sale of river sands - and give that issue an activist and you have role number…. 9!!! Relevance to the plot at hand? Oh shut up! Don’t ask stupid questions.
The final role – the icing on the cake – none other than oh yeah – Dubyaman!!! Old man Bush is role number 10! And of course, how can anyone resist taking pot shots at the US Prez? Yeah, so they show him as someone who doesn’t know that NaCl is common salt! NoComments!
I must say – Bush, the Sardarji, the tall Muslim guy, the villain – Fletcher and the Supergranny – all look the same – like ghosts or aliens or whatever you wanna call em!
The weirdest thing is that in all of these 10 roles, no one is the hero, and no one is the villain? Surprised? Dumbstruck? Of course man! The hero and the villain are both ‘circumstances beyond your control’. P just makes an attempt at following the vial wherever ‘circumstance’ (lets call it circy) takes it. So Circy is the villain here. And then finally a Tsunami apparently saves the day. How???? Hey don’t say I am mad. Did you know that the virus could have killed all of Tamil Nadu? Tsunami killed only a few thousands. It’s all relative mate, right Mr. Einstein?? So here Circy is the hero! Get it??? And the real domescrew is where our meek director performs a charged up, enthusiastic dance at the end of the movie praising the protagonist. Why? I don't know... If you figure it out, please lemme know.....
Sometime in the early 60s, the then superstar Sivaji Ganesan acted in a movie called Navaratri. Here he portrayed 9 roles. One of a leper, one of a doctor, one of a thief and so on. The story traces the journey of a woman from the first day of Navaratri to the 9th, as she encounters a different character each day. Compare that with Dasaavatharam. Need I say more? Mr. Kamal Haasan, you can’t be said to portray 10 roles by playing all the roles in a movie. If that were the case, what if Amitabh Bachchan had played all the roles in Satte Pe Satta including his double role, his six brothers, Amjad Khan and Hema Malini? We could also have had Dashavtar!!! But we in Bollywood would have preferred to call it ‘cost-cutting’ instead. Was this the motive? Hmmmm food for thought – what with inflation, food crisis and so on. Highly commendable. One last comparison. MI:2 also dealt with a stolen virus – Chimera. But I must say that movie was more tastefully taken, less over the top, highly interesting (in comparison, highly is an understatement), and Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt was a billion times better. Annnnnd the plot had a clearly defined hero and villain. Not Circy.
All in all, this movie was a waste of time, money, energy. And all you ardent fans, who remember Kamal best as Nayagan, or the quadruplet in Michael Madana Kama Rajan, DON’T SEE THIS, OR THE REMAINING RESPECT FOR HIS ART WILL BE LOST.