So lately, I’ve been actually going to movies instead of watching them on the TV. One of the most-hyped and possibly most innovative mass-market Indian film of the year is called Dashavataram. The story is similar to something that Michael Bay would make, or at least as close as you can get in Indian cinema these days and it cost a boatload of money to make.
For the non-Indians/Hindus in the audience, the title Dashavataram literally means ’10 Incarnations’ and is a reference to the mythological 10 incarnations of Vishnu. In the movie, it is Kamal Haasan who is playing 10 different characters including the the hero(an Indian biotech scientist in the USA), villain(an Ex-CIA hitman), a Japanese Sensei, a couple of (fictional)historical characters and even George W Bush. The movie is quite long by Hollywood standards, but about average for an Indian movie.
Let’s start with the low points:
1) 10 characters is too many. If not for the title, there would have been no need for 3 of the characters
2) Casting: Apart from Kamal, most everyone else puts in a disappointing performance
3) CGI/ VFX: Despite a huge budget, it was clearly not enough. Except for the first few minutes and then at the end, there is plenty of laxity in the effects department.
4) The Female lead: would have probably been better played by Kamal Hassan again.
5) The Violence: well, you may say, it’s an action film but I didn’t expect this quantity of violence and to be honest, gore, from the movie. But be warned there’s plenty.
Let’s get to the good stuff:
1) 10 characters, 1 guy: great concept, great execution(with the caveats mentioned above). I suggest you watch the movie solely for this performance.
2) Scripting/Screenwriting: Well done overall. The pacing is superb and the overall plot is well managed. Of course, there are some holes and some parts that require a mountain of salt to be swallowed(that’s a pun you’ll get if you watch the movie)
3) Did I mention Kamal Hassan’s excellent acting performance? It was really good.
4) The parts of the movie which attempt to perform social commentary are put together without going into a preachy mode.
5) Someone had to do it. The effort put into such a huge production(By indian standards) hopefully raises the bar for future action movies. This is a great relief since the other ‘hollywood-esque’ movie this year bombed miserably.
If it’s playing in a theater near you, do go watch it. It’s a great summer movie overall. I wouldn’t recommend taking your kids to it unless they’re at least 15-16 years old.
*DLDS = Day(s) Late, Dollar(s) Short