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Review: Dasavatharam fails in its first 20 minutes

Review: Dasavatharam fails in its first 20 minutes

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Saturday 18 April 2009

Movie Title

Review: Dasavatharam fails in its first 20 minutes

Director

K.S. Ravikumar

Star Cast

Kamal Hassan, Mallika Sherawat, Asin, Jaya Prada, Napolean

Perhaps it was intended to be an ode to Kamal Haasan (who has also written the film). Or perhaps it was meant to be a three-hour gimmicky visual effects extravaganza; either ways it falls flat within the first 20 minutes.

We see Kamal Haasan in ten avatars: only two are of any consequence to the story ? the good guy scientist Govind and the baddie Christian Fletcher, with blonde hair looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger gone wrong. Despite the latter being one of the central characters ? the make-up is inexcusably bad.

What?s the story you say? Govind is a hotshot scientist who?s invented a biochemical weapon of sorts and the unscrupulous heads at the lab are ready to make a deal on it. Govind takes the vial of the chemical and runs. He gets branded a terrorist and meets a touch-me-not Brahmin girl (Asin) who talks non-stop through her screen-time. A Bengali bureaucrat (Haasan again, this time somewhat funny) is after Govind, occasionally bungling up things. Naturally all?s swell that ends well. That?s it; that?s the story.

But since Kamal Haasan is to play ten characters? parallel plots are created and characters just added with no connection to the story. So among others, you have a 12th century Vishnu devotee, George Bush, a tall Pathan (resembling Frankenstein), a martial arts master, an old lady, an activist and a Punjabi pop singer who performs in Hindi. It?s sad really because the prosthetic make-up is an arduously conscientious job well done; only the made-up characters are not supported by much characterization.

Throughout the film, you see some nauseatingly gruesome scenes ? a lab monkey dying a bloody death, Mallika Sherawat?s stomach pierced by a pole, a character spluttering red ketchup all over the screen and so on. Clich?s abound like the hero taking a fall to land miraculously on a truck. Then there?s the attempted rape scene on the heroine, where she spouts the maa-bahen dialogue, and is saved by the hero.

Dialogue is repetitive and boring. No wait, it?s occasionally hilarious. In a do-or-die fight scene between the martial arts master and the blonde villain (both played by Haasan) the latter says, ?remember Hiroshima?" To which the master replies, ?Remember Pearl Harbour??

Then you have Mallika Sherawat (a CIA trained vamp if you please) taking off her jacket and asking a group of men, ?How?s my body?? To which one replies, ?Very hot and sexy.? No wonder the audience was laughing most of the times.

To show how much money has been spent on visual effects ? you see the recreation of the 2004 Tsunami, a colourful butterfly fluttering all over the screen etc. Other strange inanities happen: a man afflicted with cancer gets shot and the doctor proclaims (roughly translated), ?the bullet entered your body and took away the cancer.? Heck, you even get to see real-life politicians on screen as part of the gimmicks overload.

The novelty of seeing one actor perform multiple characters can sustain only if each role is intelligently conceived and made to contribute to the story. With characters introduced randomly and with no relevance to the story, all you?re left with is a product showing off Kamal Haasan?s dexterity for varied roles. This would be appealing naturally only to someone who dotes on the actor unquestioningly. If you?re not that person, you?ll be disappointed ten times over.

One and a half stars (mainly for the laudable make-up)

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