Monday, June 16, 2008

The helium surrounding the release of Dasa took me to Sangam theater on a very drab Sunday afternoon. Considering the group reviews it looks like I'll be the only exception. If it has to, so be it - I was much saddened by the movie.

I had the opportunity of working with him on Hey Ram and Anbe Sivam and learnt from him and his crew a few aspects of film making like Continuity, Sets, Lighting, Scripting etc. I defended him after Hey Ram (to my friends) and blamed them for not being able to understand the concept of the great man.

But he's clearly tried to stretch his definition of creativity once more.

The pure novelty of getting to don 10 roles carried him away. The script connecting the 10 characters was very loosely done, bad movie sets, unconvincing background extras, pathetic voice overs of extras, bad make up. But bad make up? Is this not the USP of the movie ??

His makeup was nothing to write home about. He has stretched his novelty with plaster of paris on his face a bit too far. I remember gasping at his do of Indian Thatha and Avai Shanmugi. But the potches on his face in this case seemed very artificial unless you wanted to keep your eyes shut and not question the great man's sense of asthetics of make up.

Thank God for the 12th century priest part of it - he was the Kamal I wanted to see in all the remaining 9 roles.

But why am I looking for sense in a movie?? Ain't I just supposed to see it and forget it?
Well, differentiation has been used by us in every sphere of life... Commercially (WTO Vs Non WTO), Socially (I'll refrain from examples), etc.. and its exactly this that makes us want to set apart a Kamal from the crowd... and chant his name in the same bracket as one would associate a Satyajit Ray or a Akiro Kurosowa. So I guess it was not him, but me, who let myself down.

But yes, if quantity is king then the 10 roles are classic. Period.

Allow me the luxury of a cut and paste job from rediff:
"To tide over the disappointment of watching Dasavatharam, I am going to watch again the DVDs of timeless classics like Nayagan, Moodram Pirai, Sagara Sangamam, Michael Madana Kama Rajan and Pushpak. Let me see the Kamal Haasan I missed in Dasavathaaram."
I would add Anbe Sivam to that list.

The middling Kamal fan,


Siddharth said...
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Siddharth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Siddharth said...

Rediff came up with two totally different reviews, which leaves the reader (and potential movie goer, such as myself) perplexed.

Here is the glowing review:

And here's the review (a part of which I believe you have already mentioned in your blog post):

True, the man is one of the finest artistes in our country, but at times his films--more importantly his performances--are overshadowed by all the hype and hullabaloo surrounding them.

The moment he had announced that Dasavatharam would be his magnum opus wherein he would play ten diverse roles, I wondered: "what made this man, the best in the business, actually come up with such a movie?"

Was it because of the hype it would generate for being the first of its kind or has Kamal (more usually than not) found out a way to weave a great script aided by his even greater acting skills.

Any ardent fan would choose option two. But, sadly--after many reviews (unofficial and official)--I guess it was all about the hype.

To conclude, I know of only one actor other than Kamal, who could portray a plethora of diverse characters in the same film with such ease--Peter Sellers. In an era when technology, camera tricks and make up skills were limited, Sellers' performances stood out in every character's role he portrayed.

Sadly, I feel Dasavatharam is nowhere close to what Kamal is capable of. I would want to buy the Michael Madana Kama Rajan DVD and get entranced by this man's acting.

Very good write-up baidik. Good analysis of the artiste that is Kamal Hassan.

Siddharth said...

Sorry about the multiple deletes. Lots of typos in the earlier ones :)

dharma said...

No doubt kamal is a great actor..but has he learnt from the mistakes of alavandhan???..even hey ram i would say was a good movie but for the sagging mid interval portion

This at the end of it is an effort to pull together a crowning glory that he's the first one to do 10 roles in a movie. An effort to outdo sivaji's 9 roles in navarathri. His aim to be the numero uno of indian cinema is laudable..just that the script has faltered him here!!

BABU said...

Hi baidik,

I have not yet seen this movie, and it seems like there is a mixed response among the audience for dasavatharam.

I fully endorse your views on Anbe sivam - it's such a classic movie with brilliant dialogues especially between maddy and kamal.
But it's sad that it did not go too well commercially. It's kind of hard for people like Kamal to understand the likings of the mass who adore shit movies like pokkiri, tirupachi etc .....