I have never seen Sathyam crowded at 8 in the morning, eager to watch a movie. Moreover, the whole crowd had tickets that were booked in advance, yet they come more than one hour before the screening. I have never seen the whole crowd wait and watch the movie till the last frame ends. All this and more in Dasavathaaram.
Take ten different prime numbers. I claim that the ten roles of kamal in the movie are like these ten prime numbers. Each role of kamal is unique in its own way, much similar to the ten primes. Similar to the primes having one common factor (1), the ten roles have one common feature, the genius of kamal.
The movie is based on a very famous theory called “chaos theory”. The simplest description would be “the butterfly effect”, which states that the fluttering wings of a butterfly in China can cause great changes in weather conditions in New York, which is thousands of miles away. And you can also see a butterfly in the movie when kamal explains the chaos theory in a scene. Basically, an event might seem trivial, but it might cause great effects elsewhere. Life can never be absolutely systematic, life cannot be described by a pattern. But life is not random either. Occurrence of every event has a reason, with nearly impossible predictability.
The clash between saivites and vaishnavites in the 12th century and the sunken statue need not be the direct cause for the tsunami in 21st century. But, that incident might have triggered a series of effects which ultimately led to the tsunami. Dasavathaaram tries to explain the subtle concept of chaos theory using ten delicate strands of sub-stories perfectly handled and woven together to form a perfect masterpiece. We can also notice that Andal in 21st century trips over the same stone on which Kodhai bangs her head in the 12th century. The thaali that Kodhai flings at Kulothunga Chozhan also falls on this stone statue.
The important feature in the movie is that every part of the movie is linked with each other. It was Kulothunga Chozhan in 12th century and it was the sand mafia in the 21st century. And the place is the same.
In the 12th century, Rangaraja Nambi is devoted to God but Kodhai pleads to kamal telling that it is not wrong to chant a different mantra, for the benefit of oneself and one’s family. In the 21st century, it is the opposite. Andal is devoted to God but Govindraj is not.
In the 12th century, Rangaraja Nambi tries to save the idol from being removed. He also is tied to the idol. In the 21st century, Andal tries to save the idol from being taken away or mishandled.
If a film can be called “perfect” in all aspects, the pick would be Dasavathaaram. The perfectionist in Kamal is evident in every scene. One very intricate detail, the microphone held by Avatar Singh while performing, proves this fact. The birds flying away just before tsunami also must be noted.
The technology in Indian cinema might be similar to that of Hollywood cinema ten years before, but Dasavathaaram has proved this notion wrong. The whole first half and most of the second half had some great shots and camera work. Especially the fight scenes, the car chase, with sparks from the flat tyres and so on.
Dialogues in the movie are powerful at places where they ought to be powerful and humorous where they ought to be so. One dialogue really caught my attention: “You are the south side of the north side facing horse…”. Dialogues like “Remember Hiroshima … Remember Pearl Harbor” really sends a message ringing in our minds. Wordplay is used in many places, as evident in “Terrific Scientist or Scientific Terrorist…”.
We find that in the movie, kamal appears as a Hindu, Muslim, Christian and a Sikh. Probably to spread the message that the purpose of all religions is to show the people the path to divinity, which is single. One very touching scene is where Krishnaveni paati considers Vincent as her own son who died years before, and gives vent to all her feelings. Caste or color does not distinguish a person. It is one’s character that does.
More efforts could have been made towards the graphics part, which stood as an odd man out amidst some excellent shots and technology. Especially, the piercing of hooks on Nambi seemed too artificial. Same is the case with certain parts in the tsunami scene. The graphics is too good when compared to the graphics in other tamil movies, but for Dasavathaaram, they were not as expected. And all the science that I have studied never taught me that one can see virus through binoculars.
For those who come to watch this movie expecting commercial elements and not the story, this might look like an unsolved puzzle. The key to understanding this movie and its intricate details, one must understand oneself. Those who cannot understand the movie must not claim that the movie is a stupid one. Those who say that the movie has no story must realize that no other movie made till date has packed so much story and details in three hours. A lot of research and thinking has gone into the movie, apart from the devoted effort for two years. This is a movie to be remembered.
Also read my article on chaos in dasavathaaram