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Dasavatharam Review

Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait to rent it
The two oldest rumours in the world are (a) that there is a God, and (b) that He is good. There will perhaps never be conclusive proof either for or against those postulates, and Dasavatharam does exactly what you've done all your life - stop thinking about it when you hit a dead end.

However, where Kamal Hasan's hyped latest that seems to start off aiming to be a theological opus, fails to deliver, is that it spends as little time on this deeper aspect as you do in your own life on it, and the rest of the movie is meaningless tripe. For what is essentially a thriller, at no stage does the film really grip you. Heck, most of the time you're not even clear why the villian is after him.

Then, that whole 10-role thing seems so pointless - as you probably expected it would be even before the film released. What's the point of Kamal Hasan doing a role when he doesn't look like Kamal Hasan at all? It's not like those roles require great emoting. Kamal Hasan's acting is by nature understated, and when understatement comes from behind a thick mask, it's kinda like being served a dish with a different name and a different taste.

Dasavataram starts off with a prologue about a staunch Vaishnavite priest Govinda Rangarajan (Kamal Hasan) being tortured and killed by a Shaivite king for not turning Shaivite. It's not clear what that has to do with the movie eventually, unless the film is saying that God took revenge many centuries later by sending a tsunami on Tamilnadu. That doesn't appear to be the case, and it isn't clear then what it was all about.

The film moves to 2004 where Govindaraju (Kama Hasan) is a top-ranking scientist developing a biological weapon for the US. He discovers that his boss is trying to sell it for his personal benefit, and runs away with the vial containing the formulation, resulting in an ex-CIA man and now professional assassin Fletcher (Kamal Hasan again) coming after him.

Govindaraju flees to India in a series of unexpected circumstances, landing in Chennai and then interior Tamilnadu, and the vial lands in an idol of Vishnu. He tries to get the idol but has to contend with Lakshmi (Asin), a staunch Krishna devotee who, like the Indian state by then, believes he is a terrorist, won't let him get the vial out of the sacred idol.

The couple have to run around the hinterland escaping from Fletcher, and the movie progresses towards a grand finale where the tsunami of December 2004 hits just as the vial is about to explode.

If you are a normal compassionate human - or heck, human - you have certainly wondered about how God would have allowed 1,20,000 people to die in one night and millions rendered homeless, orphans, without a livelihood, scarred for life. Govindaraju asks exactly the same questions, and Lakshmi gives exactly the same replies as a standard-issue preacher at an ISKCON temple would.

At the end, however, the only aspect of the script that would make this movie worthy of its scale is, alas, relegated to some inadequate and diffident dithering, and the rest, like we said, is tripe. The masks on Kamal Hasan look grotesque, and it all looks like an actor indulging himself in some megalomaniacal grandeur than doing something necessary for a story to be narrated well, for a movie to work best. There was once an ANR movie called Navaratrulu where ANR played 9 different roles, and that was something different for those times, something those audiences would enjoy. How much does the thought of a movie where an actor plays 10 characters excite you now?

The 10-character bit also takes the focus away from the film itself, since you start to think that that is what the movie is all about. Kamal Hasan doesn't have much to do in terms of emoting - these are all mostly simple roles, and in any case, any impressive emoting is hidden under the masks. Asin is as expressive as usual, and so is Mallika Sherawat in a brief role.

Several characters - Punyakoti, the grandmom, and even Avtar Singh - seem shoehorned in, without really being needed for the tale or adding anything to it. The film also shows George Bush as a buffoon, and we're not sure it is even legal to showcase Bush as himself in the movie. Or Manmohan Singh or Karunanidhi. The film has only 2-3 songs (thankfully) that pass muster, especially the end-credit Lokanayaka. The visuals are expectedly tacky since this is a South-Indian film that relies on CGI.

Dasavataram is more hype than substance, lost in its main theme, and pretty lacking in focus. It is mostly for staunch Kamal fans - the rest can wait for, oh, whatever's hitting the marquees next.
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Dasavatharam (telugu) reviews
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  • Cast
    Kamal Hasan, Asin, Jayaprada, Mallika Sherawat
    2 users say this is wrong.
  • Music
    Himesh Reshammiya
    2 users say this is wrong.
  • Director
    K S Ravi Kumar
    3 users say this is wrong.
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
    1 user says this is wrong.
sandeepjakkaraju on 24th Jun 2008, 10:38am | Permalink
waste fo time
1 - 14 OF 14 COMMENTS
Can watch again - Unsure
Good for kids - Yes
Good for dates - Unsure
Wait to rent it - Yes
Pradeep on 2nd Jul 2008, 12:16pm | Permalink
Brilliant, versatile..

Pros: everythging
Cons: one charecter out of 10 - one with gigantism
Krishna on 2nd Jul 2008, 9:13am | Permalink
Worth 1 watch. It's not everyday we get to see a plot on biochemical weapons and stuff but the way the entire thing was handled left a lot to be desired for.

Pros: Novel plot
Cons: Music
vijay on 30th Jun 2008, 3:56am | Permalink
if anyone had watched good English movies and indian movies before then they would definitely rate this movie among the best in Indian movies and comparable to avg Hollywood flicks.

Pros: visuals,story,acting
Cons: makeups
srikanth on 30th Jun 2008, 3:50am | Permalink
The reviewer of this movie seems to be amateur or a novice to judge and rate movies.
I should advice the reviewer to set some bench marks and then start comparing them based on them .

1.He did not see the plot of the movie.
2.The screen play that was fast enough to carry over the audience briskly.
3.The Photography and visual shots .
4.The action scenes.
5.The graphics.
6.Acting of Kamal in various roles not carrying a shade of print on each others.

Reviewer Read more about this movie on wikepedia ,it has more details .
Hopefully this site is not popular,otherwise the movie would not had been blockbuster hit both domestic and abroad.
hemanth727 on 29th Jun 2008, 7:49pm | Permalink
The movie as far as I could see was only a platform for Dr.Kamal Hasan to show his talent. Neighter did I see a sensible story nor screenplay. The songs were not as expected. Overall, if I were you, I would not watch the movie after reading this review and I'm sure you would thank me for the same . :)
Srikanth on 27th Jun 2008, 11:31pm | Permalink
Good movie to watch for technical values and crisp scrreen play and some wonderful acting by Kamal.i am from USA and have really appreciated the Flecher(Villain) role accent and bosy language;evn the bush mannerisms were good.
Makeups could have been better.Muslim charecter was like some technical gimmick,could have replaced by othet talented actors.Apart from these few abberations overall a great movie to watch this season.

Pros: visuals,acting,scrrenplay
Cons: makeup of few charecters,
sandeepjakkaraju on 24th Jun 2008, 10:38am | Permalink
waste fo time
ramkrishna on 17th Jun 2008, 7:17pm | Permalink
The movie overall is not so good. We can watch this movie only for kamal hasan as he occupies most of the film. Anyway guys, this movie is watchable for only Kamal's performance. Thats all i can say. Thank you.

Pros: Kamal
Cons: 10 roles
Apple on 15th Jun 2008, 7:15pm | Permalink
Compared to kantri, Buggigadu, donno how they got better rating compared to this, can see the movie just for Kamal and visuals..
Abracadabra on 15th Jun 2008, 12:39pm | Permalink
the movie is bad....

Pros: Asin
Cons: Kamal Hasan
varma2us on 14th Jun 2008, 9:27am | Permalink
@anil_kumam: the reviewer is right, don't bring your jingoistic thinking in here. you shouldn't make an argument by giving exceptions. 95% of telugu films have sad graphics, and that's because CGI costs a lot, and the budget of a Telugu film cannot afford that given that its revenue comes only from one state's audiences. it's not derogatory, it's a fact. and stop being abusive,
Phaneendra Kumar on 14th Jun 2008, 12:42am | Permalink
Seriously, I didn't get what I expected from the movie. It was a waste of money and time watching this film. Very disappointed with the 10 role funda. Kamal is a world class actor but the irony is he himself seems to have forgot this.

Pros: 10 roles by an actor
Cons: 10 roles by an actor
Anil_kumarm on 13th Jun 2008, 10:23pm | Permalink
"The visuals are expectedly tacky since this is a South-Indian film that relies on CGI" may i know what the reviewer want to say by aying this sentence.He seems to forget that the film anji,devi has world class effects. my suggestion or whatever u may think dont expose ur dumb head by uttering whatever words u get in your mind.U r writing a review think before u scratch


Pros: anil
Lucifer on 13th Jun 2008, 10:01pm | Permalink
I have not seen the movie, and neither do I intend to. I am here just to give my two cents on, as the reviewer rightly said, a megalomaniac actor trying to milk his previous successes. There was the apathetic portrayal of an army commando in Abhay that comes to mind. Why don't these 'acclaimed' actors / directors (a case in point being Subhash Ghai) realise that simplicity scores over style? They seem to be caught up in the web of their own grandeur, stuck in a time warp of sorts of an era where any tripe dished out in the name of cinema found an audience somewhere in the hinterland of India.
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