Friday, June 13, 2008

Dasavatharam - Movie Review

It has been a long wait for Kamal’s fans after Vettaiyaadu Vilayaadu and the legend has not disappointed them. He has established emphatically that the wait is certainly a worthwhile one and has proved time and again that cinema is his lifeline.

The seventy crore magnum opus challenges Hollywood films and has even set up a benchmark for their films. Special kudos to producer Aascar Ravichandran for ably supporting the actor and the director in their pursuit of rendering a world class Tamil cinema - especially in the technical department.

The grandiose scenes spellbind the viewer and the crew has worked hard to sustain this feeling through out the film. The film opens with the camera zooming on Chennai from the ocean and gently stops at Chozha era when Saivites and Vaishnavites locked horns with each other.

Kamal’s performance, Ravi Varman’s cinematography, Devi Sri Prasad’s re-recording and Thanikachalan’s editing teleport the viewer to a different era which would take a long time for them to unravel, particularly the scene where the Saivite King orders the statue of Lord Ranganatha to be thrown into the sea and threatens the ardent Vaishnavite Kamal to utter Om Namashivaya just once. And when Kamal begins OM, the suspense is killing not only for the king but also the audience. Though the film begins with Chozha period, it subsequently moves to modern times, bringing with it adventure, high flying chases. etc

Kamal’s hard work and perseverance is palpable in every frame and in the different getups that he has essayed. An angry Vaishnava young man from Chozha period, US President George Bush, mentally unstable old woman, a Japanese Karate master, Punjabi ghazal singer, a dalit man fighting for justice, an American terrorist out to kill people, an eight feet innocent Muslim, an astute scientist, a Telugu secret service man speaking Tamil in a weird fashion- a variety indeed!.

Out of the ten Kamals, the dalit Boovaraghan stands out with his distinct style in dialogue delivery, eye movements and body language. Grandma Kamal is a reminder of Avvai Shanmugi while the secret service agent tries to tickle the funny bone in us, while in all the other Kamals, makeup alone can be talked about.

Asin as an Agraharam girl is a revelation and is almost on par with Kamal in performance. Mallika Sherawat has understood why she has been hired and accordingly does her part.

In the music department, the Tamil flavor is retained only in the Mukunda number while in the others, Himesh Reshammiah’s difficulty in unwrapping himself from Hindi clutches is discernible. K S Ravikumar’s directorial acumen is revealed in Ulaganayagane number where he has picturized Kamal’s make-up secrets.

Dasavatharam’s main forte is technical expertise, which the technicians have utilized without the viewer being aware of it. Top of the line technical excellence is perceptible in Tsunami scenes, car chasing shots, Chozha period sequences and the scene where all the Kamals come together. On the flipside, if the focus given to technical brilliance had been given to a stronger storyline and character portrayal, the film would have earned a perfect TEN.

All in all a colossal visual opulence at its peak for the first time in Indian cinema.


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