Friday, August 15, 2008

The Holy Crap called "Dasavatharam"

"Ulaga Nayagan" (i.e Actor of the World), Kamal Haasan?

With this movie Kamal Hassan has literally let himself down in the minds of so many of his fans. Hope they don't start calling him "Ulaga Fancy Dress competition artiste" because that is what he has done in this film. I still haven't recovered from the shock of this movie that I watched two days ago. Either it was some silly joke or maybe even some conspiracy to ruin the talented actor's career.

If you are planning to watch this film let me warn you not to waste your precious time unless you wish to change that good image of the veteran actor in your minds. I cannot imagine what Jackie Chan, Amitabh Bachan, Mammooty and the rest of the special invitees had in mind after seeing this blockbuster piece of holy crap at a special showing. I say holy crap because there is a small debate of God vs atheism in this movie. Kamal Haasan being an atheist has tried to offer his views of what happened in TamilNadu on the day the Tsunami struck. He simply asks what God or spirituality did to save TamilNadu from the Tsunami. Spiritually speaking this question cannot be answered in a simple sentence. But that discussion later.

Dasavatharam has even the Chief Minister of TamilNadu, Mr. Karunanidhi, the Indian PM Manmohan Singh and the U.S President George Bush being played out by actors, Bush played by Kamal Haasan himself. The entire movie is being played out as a flash-back but narrated in front of a huge simulated stadium audience (with the three big political heads just mentioned) as guests. It was a stupid way to tell this story and this movie. I like Kama's tamil but even that sucked during these parts of narration.

With "Vettaiyadu Vilayaadu", 2007's no.1 film in TamilNadu still fresh in our minds I cannot believe Kamal's next would be the absurd "Dasavatharam" which had such a huge hype for its launch at a ceremony attended by the Chief Minister, Mr.Karunanidhi.

So why am I so disgusted with this movie?

1. Watching "Indian" I was already sick of the make-up done to Kamal and Sukanya but since it was a novel idea I could somehow accept it though it was beginning to get disgusting after a point. Both Kamal and Sukanya's old-age make-up looked as though they were suffering from sort of skin disease. What you now get in "Dasavatharam" is a super overdose of this make-up. Multiply the "Indian" make-up ten times and that is what you get here in Dasavatharam. A couple of the made-up characters were impressive but the rest of the disgusting characters over-shadowed anything or all the good that was being done by other characters or in the movie itself. The old Paati looks frightening and would easily qualify for a horror movie, another character the tall muslim guy was a perfect Frankenstein look-alike. I still feel Sivaji Ganesan with his 9 roles in "Navarathiri" made decades earlier did a much better job without the make-up and the technology of today.

2. Hero Worship - Sometimes I wonder why there is so much Hero worship that we have in this country. The Heroes of course are benefiting from this. Like Ted Nugent, the self-proclaiming greatest guitarist of the world these heroes either give themselves titles or like being given titles that they proudly self-proclaim or display in their own movies. Many such titles including "Ulaga Nayagan" seem to me that way. I can understand love of fans for their idol but by using titles certainly doesn't make a movie any better. Overuse of these titles in a crap movie only makes the movie more horrible.

3. Superstition - Remember the movie Avvai Shanmugi where in the introductory scenes you are shown a close-up of Kamal's eyes and he winks one of them. You see that in the opening credits of this movie too. I am told that astrologers and numerologists play a huge role in movies particularly when it comes to deciding names (start the name of the title with this syllable etc), names of characters, choosing numbers and dates for the movie, opening and concluding scenes and for several other infinite and infinitesimal things. How can an artiste such as Kamal agree to such things (given that he is atheist, Oh but can atheists be superstitious) and also think such things will go on to make the movie a hit?

4. Kamal either wants to become a white man or he is in complete awe of them. Kamal dons the make-up to resemble an ex-CIA agent and worst of all President Bush. Honestly President Bush looks more like one of those monkey characters from Ramanand Sagar's "Ramayan". In the final credits Mr. Bush is seen dancing to Ravikumar's (yes the director in the song too) eulogy in the song "Ulaga Nayagane" supported by dance and dancers.

Every move made and dialog spoken from the CIA agent made me cringe. Advertisements in "The Hindu" like "Fletcher rivals Hollywood..." (I haven't reproduced the advertisement everything verbatim) make a total mockery of this film. Remember the lines in "Vettayadu Vilayaadu" for Kamal. It was so natural. The English spoken by the CIA guy, Mr.Bush and in his role as the NRI guy is unbearable too. Then there is the Japanese lady trying to speak "fluent Tamil", most of which is hardly understandable.

5. Add to the mess Asin's painful acting. She and her "Perumal". All she does is run after the idol yelling, "En Perumal" and it looked plain silly reminding you of the silly conditions she had in Gajini before she could marry Surya in the movie. I have certainly more of Asin's bore-you-to-the-death acting skills but that will be in another post.

There is enough blood and gore too. There is one torture session in the opening scenes that is difficult to watch too. This scene has no correlation to the movie and I think it was inserted to add an additional character in the movie. Unnecessary Saiva-Vaishnava rivalry shown in these scenes also could have been avoided. The scene where Kamal introduces himself after levitating himself from some underground crevice in the temple sounded so very funny too.

Why rope in K R Vijaya, and Nagesh to do some silly roles when they can be left alone peacefully in their retirement.

Little jokes and funny dialogues are there in good measure but they have become stale.

So isn't there any saving grace? Yes - Mallika Sherawat. She actually proves that she can be more than just a glamour doll.

Just forget this movie and look forward to Kamal's next offering, Marmayogi which is about Kalari Payattu, the ancient martial arts system of Kerala. You will have to put up with Asin's unbearable acting once again unless she does something new (that which I doubt).

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