உலக நாயகன் படம் என்பதாலோ என்னவோ, ஆங்கிலத்தில் விமர்சனம் எழுத வேண்டும் என்று தோன்றியது.
இங்கே; எழுத மறந்தது – நல்ல படங்களில் கூட, ‘உலக நாயகனே’ மாதிரியான குமட்டலான தற்பெருமைப் பாடல்கள் தேவையா? கடவுள் பக்தியைக் கிண்டலடிக்கிற கமலை ரசிக்கிற அதே வேளையில், மனித பக்தியை முன்னிலைப் படுத்தும் இத்தகு பாடல்களைக் கண்டிக்கவும் வேண்டும்.
நல்ல வேளையாய், மற்ற விமர்சனங்கள் படிக்கும் முன்னரே, படம் பார்த்து, என் கருத்துகளையும் பதிப்பித்து விட்டேன். பின்னர் பார்க்க, படிக்க நேர்ந்த விமர்சனங்கள் எல்லாமே அதீதமாய் தாக்கியும், தேவையில்லாமல் பாராட்டியும் இருந்தது எதுவும் பிடிக்கவில்லை. பல்வேறு தொலைகாட்சி நிகழ்ச்சிகளில் ரவிக்குமாரின் சுயபுராணத்தைப் பார்த்த பிறகு, இந்தப் படத்திற்குச் சென்றிருந்தேனேயானால், நிச்சயம் எனக்குப் பிடித்திருக்காது. அப்படி நிகழாதது குறித்து இப்போது மகிழ்ச்சிதான்.
Just about everything that can be said about ‘Dasavatharam’ has been said in reviews in the net. Since I am a little late, I will try to add a few of my own observations.
The first thing that struck me when I saw the film was that Kamal must have been influenced in his teens by MGR’s all time hit ‘ulagam suRRum vaaliban’. But then ‘U Su Vaa’ had four heroines, plenty of lilting duets, many villains, Nagesh’s comedy and the breathtaking visuals of Japan (Expo 70) and the Asia Pacific, whereas the ‘non-stop –chase- within- 5 -days’ format of ‘Dasavatharam’ doesn’t permit him to have even one duet with Asin!
The first ten minutes of 12th century Rangaraja Nambi are superb! (though I doubt if Kulothunga Chola really did this cruel act). Napoleon, Asin , Kamal’s acting and dialogues, Hariharan’s voice, the lyrics by Kavignar Vaali and music – just about everything falls into place, making you long for more. Kamalji, when are you going to take up your dream project ‘ Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan’?
After Rangaraja Nambi, the role I liked most was that of Fletcher. Anyone who is not an avid watcher of Tamil films will mistake him for a real American actor. The sheer ruthlessness of this character has to be seen to be believed! Boy! I lost count of the number of people he killed in the film!
As many have mentioned in their reviews, one does not really require all the ten avtars in the story, the most avoidable add-ons being Khalifulla Khan and George Bush. What does Khan do other than just appearing tall on screen like a circus clown on stilts? You’ll be immediately tempted to compare this with the inimitable dwarf of ‘aboorva sagotharargal’ and the disappointment will be huge. Kamal has tried to keep one tall avtar just for correlation with the mythical Trivikrama. In the process, even veterans like Nagesh and KR Vijaya have got wasted. The movie appears disjointed in places. Someone in the movie hall commented “ padam adikkadi maaRudhuppaa! reNdu mooNu vERa vERa padam paarkkaRa maadhiri irukku!”
It is difficult to imagine a Tamil film today without either of the comedians Vadivelu and Vivek. Kamal makes it up with his brilliant comedy as CBI officer Balram Naidu. On occasions, his dialogue delivery reminds you of the late Baliah. All the comic dialogues in the film (after throwing away his cellphone in somebody else’s car to avoid being tracked by the villain , Govind Kamal tells his friend ‘inimEl avanukkup pidichchudhu saniyan’; Balram Naidu comments on Khan’s height, ‘yEmpaa lighthousu! ENi maadhiri irukkiyE un pEr enna Bin Ladderaa?)’ have a solid Crazy Mohan flavour, though Kamal is credited for dialogues in the titles. Naidu’s punchline ‘When a Telugu settled in Chennai like me can speak fluent (!) Tamil, why are you, a Tanjorean , speaking stubbornly in English? This way , how do you expect Tamil to grow?’ slaps many a Tamil straight on his/ her face.
Dalit leader Vincent Bhoovaragan’s Malayalam loaded southern dialect and the revolutionary poems recited by his assistant (courtesy: Kavignar Vairamuthu??) are very authentic. The make ups of Krishnaveni paatti, Khan and to some extent Bhoovaragan are shoddy, reminding you of Ajit’s super duper flop ‘Citizen’. At times I wonder, when Kamal’s original face is totally suppressed in a mask, as in the case of the Japanese Shingen Narahashi ( a clever juggling of the name Narasimha!) where, even the eyes don’t betray Kamal, what charm is there for a diehard Kamal fan to watch the role? It is as good as performed by another artiste. The climax fight sequence between Fletcher and Narahashi is simply mind boggling!
I think most people are being unfair to the music director Himesh Reshammiya. My rating of his song’s are: 1. Kallai mattum 2. ulaga naayaganE 3. Mukundaa, Mukundaa . Stay away from the remix number of ‘Oh! Oh! Sanam!’ sung by Himesh himself (only in the album, not picturised) if you are particular about Tamil pronunciation by singers! Background score by Devi Sri Prasad is racy, enhancing the quality of the chases by leaps and bounds. Kavignar Vaali shines in his forte of Vaishnavism in ‘Kallai mattum’ and ‘Mukundaa, Mukundaa’ while Kavignar Vairamuthu excels in ‘ulaga naayaganE’.
Normally, Sardarjis in Tamil films speak either Hindi or a funny Tamil. In Dasavatharam, for authenticity, Kamal, as the Indipop singer Avtar Singh and Jayaprada have spoken Punjabi. Thank god, he didn’t resort to his oft- repeated Madras Bhaashai this time for any of the roles! And why did Kamal have to choose the long forgotten Jayapradha when any of today’s heroines would have been an ideal match for Avtar? Is it because he wanted to recreate the ‘Salangai Oli’ magic ? Asin has done a pretty decent job as the 12th century Kodhai and the effervescent Iyengar girl Aandaal from Chidambaram.
It is very thoughtful of Kamal (or the director KS Ravikumar) to have named the monkey (cute!) in the genetics laboratory as Hanu.
There is zero glamour in the film, in spite of the much hyped Mallika Sherawat. She was any day more glamorous in her earlier films!
One final sentence: Forget all the hype, forget chaos theory and butterfly effect, forget the debate on whether the film is ‘World Class’ or not- just go, enjoy the film by surrendering yourself to the entertainment that ‘ulaga nayagan’ provides you. You’ll come out appreciating his hard work and courage to experiment!