Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Coming Soon - Dasaavathaaram

I look upon Kamal as one of the few people in Tamil cinema to genuinely strive to take it to the next level. And boy do we need him now! As has been mentioned many times so far, 2008 has been a dismal year for Tamil movies so far and I'm looking to Kamal and his Dasaavathaaram to pull Tamil cinema up from the doldrums. And this time, he has nine more Kamals to help him.

The most basic reason to look forward to Dasaavathaaram ofcourse is that its been awhile since we've seen Kamal on screen. His last film was 2006's Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu and and we've certainly missed him. More importantly, its been a long time since he's given us what could be called a bad film. Whether he did comedies, thrillers or rural movies, they've all met certain standards. Even his commercial failures like Hey Ram! and Aalavandhaan (I like both of them, btw) failed more because of his ambition and penchant for experimentation than anything else. Here he teams up with Asin for the first time. The actress caught our eye in M.Kumaran S/O Mahalakshmi before capturing our hearts in Ghajini. But she's since been stuck in thankless roles in hero-centric movies like Sivakasi and Majaa. She's currently acting with Aamir Khan in the Hindi Ghajini and with no other Tamil movies lined up, it might be a while before we see her again. So I'm hoping that she gets a role that exploits her talent atleast in Dasaavathaaram. With 10 Kamals and 2 Asins, there's not going to be room for many other actors in the film and the only other recognizable face in the trailer was Napolean, who is playing a King.

The film's USP is ofcourse the 10 roles Kamal is playing. Its the first time in world cinema that an actor is playing 10 roles in one film and that is something Tamil cinema can be proud of. Rumors have been flying around about the 10 characters he is portraying and an avid Kamal fan even managed to sift through the trailer painstakingly to spot the 10. Knowing the dedication and research that goes into every role Kamal plays, it should be quite an experience watching the nuances he brings to these 10 very different characters.

Considering the film's canvas and non-comedic tone, K.S.Ravikumar is not the first name one would think of as the director. But he's had a successful record with Kamal with all three of their teamings - Avvai Shanmugi, Panchathanthiram and Tenali - being hits and probably shares a good rapport with him. His success ratio in general also proves that he has a good idea about what works at the box-office and considering the film's huge budget, that was probably an important consideration. But this is definitely his biggest movie so far and I'm hoping he has done his part well.

Kamal brought in Himesh Reshammiyya from Bollywood to compose the film's music but the film's soundtrack has been widely reviled, atleast on the web. I confess to liking it more than the average reviewer though. One of the complaints was that Himesh's tunes and style were reminiscent of his Hindi tunes but maybe because I haven't listened with any concentration to any of his previous works in Hindi, I found the songs to be in a different style from usual Tamil songs and hence enjoyable. Kallai Mattum... is a serious number rendered suitably sombrely by Hariharan. Mukunda Mukunda... is a wonderfully pleasant, soothing number with the old lady's bit adding a humorous touch at the end. Ulaga Naayagane... is catchy and a rare self-praise song in a Kamal film. While the placement of the other songs is pretty clear, this is the one song I'm curious about where it would occur. Oh Oh Sanam... is rather ordinary while Kaa Karuppanukkum... is the weakest number in the album with the 9/11 reference being particularly distasteful.

After the usual delays and postponements associated with any big movie, Dasaavathaaram is finally hitting theaters this Friday. Let's hope it turns out to be worth the wait...


At 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The songs from Himesh are drawback for high profile movie like Dasavatharam... But I think the Kamal factor may still override it easily... I think all fans are getting crazy because they waited to see Kamal after 2 yrs and also the movie release date kept delaying all along... Last year belongs to Sivaji... This year belongs to Dasavatharam...

At 11:46 PM, Blogger Bart said...

Waiting to catch it on big screens this saturday.
Songs are never a highlight in Kamal's recent movies (leaving out Vettayadu Vialayadu which was due to Gautam-Harris combo). Keeping that as a standard, Dasa's songs are certainly better. You forgot Mumbai Express inbetween, which too was a failure.
Makeup, CG work, Art and photography are something to look forward to other than the big reasons.
Anyhow, 10 Kamals is one good reason to catch it on big screen once atleast if not 10 times :)

At 11:50 PM, Blogger D.E.V said...

Dasarvatharam songs easily slipped into me and took instant liking to it. it's kinda strange as all the songs sound very situational. Himesh has made the songs simple and easy to listen except for the disco number which is quite Bad. but still miss the presence of AR Rahman in this kind of high profile movies.

i'm watching Dasarvatharam in just a day to go. it is opening on thursday in malaysia. Got the ticket for the first day first show already...:)so Balaji, when ru watching it?

At 12:02 AM, Blogger Bart said...

Talking of Special effects in Dasa, check this out: http://in.rediff.com/movies/2008/jun/10ssbj.htm
It might be a path-breaker for indian cinema atleast in one way if not more.

At 12:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's been a long time since he gave us a bad film only bc it's been a long time since he gave us a film. vettadu vilaiyadu was one of the worst movies i've ever seen... i should say began watching bc i turned it off after half an hour, it was really a new high or low in posturing. hopefully dasavatharam will be better.

and i dont know about asin capturing "our" hearts? all she captured from me is good wishes for her path through puberty.

i'll agree with you that 2008 has sucked though, i can't think of a movie i enjoyed even to the extent i enjoyed imsai arasan or chandramukhi.

At 1:15 AM, Blogger Rajesh Thiagarajan said...

I am hoping that Dasa will be a good movie.

But, I am not sure if all the hype (media coverage, legal cases, grand audio release function, etc.,) was required. Perhaps these factors help in marketing the film but in the process these also increase the expectations from the film.

I prefer movies that have no expectations but surprises us (like Sethu) than ones that have higher expectations but fails to meet them (like Aalavandhan).

I am hoping that this movie will surprise me beyond my expectations.


At 3:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which is bigger - Kamal's movies or Kamal? The truth is the man is beyond all regular definitions of an actor giving a movie.I recall reading somewhere by the sheer scale of marketing / advertising / promotion / distribution rights etc, the movies has recovered & surpassed its costs - that's the unfathomable magnitude of this movie... at least from the media.

This - unfortunately - have set the stage and standard from here on for all Kamal's movies - which may be go any way: detrimental or monumental.

At 5:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Balaji,

I strongly feel that the Ulaga Nayagan song will be in the climax, I mean after the story ends. Atleast that's what it looked to me when I watch the dasa songs in youtube.

At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"..with the old lady's bit adding a humorous touch at the end." - Isn't that Kamal's voice? One of the avatars is an old lady.


At 6:39 AM, Blogger Balaji Sivaraman said...

BB, I have a lot of expectations for this movie. It is raging in the Advance Bookings, the seats are getting filled up faster than Sivaji. I could only get tickets for Saturday, the 21st at the earliest and even that was after moving through people involved with the fan clubs. I really do hope that it provides the profits that all of Kamal's work truly deserves.

Also, like you, I believe K.S.R was called in for directing to keep the movie from ever becoming another Aalavandhan or Hey Ram fiasco and I have confidence that he will keep it up. Along with Crazy Mohan for dialogues, we have a certified hit combo, which I think means a light tone for the movie overall as compared to Hey Ram or Aalvandhan.

I also despise Himesh Reshamayya (along with his nasal voice) like anything. I cannot stand the guy and I have no idea why he was called in for the music. I heard ARR could not free up his dates (What!, for a movie like this), so they called another well known Bollywood face (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy were substandard in Aalavandan). I cannot understand the logic behind this because we have enough better music directors in tamil itself. Maybe the producers thought his face and music might some grab some well-needed profit from North-India, even then I think it is a big minus. As you rightly say, people who have been exposed to his brand of bollywood music (like me) do not like Dasa songs whereas people who are new seem to enjoy it quite well. Sadly, he has been called and I hope he does a decent job with the re-recording, at least.

Early news coming in from a few insiders, some of whom my friends are familiar with, say that Kamal has slightly disappointed with the story. They say it will be confusing for the lower class audience which is worrying because a large profit can be made from that section. But, overall, the movie is getting positive vibes based on the previews, so I cannot wait for the 13th (or 21st in my case).

At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

glad to see a nice, long post on dasavatharam! i was thinking a cpl of days back, "bb-ku rajni padam naa thaan gushi! dasavatharam-a kandukave ille!"-nu...so, truly glad to see the post...
inge, next tuesday and wednesday screenings...tuesday if i like the film, next day-um paakanum-nu plan!
very very excited abt the film, needless to say...really hope that kamal has delivered an entertainer not an experiment! well, it can be a mix of both (i sound as though kamal truly cares for what I think!)
anyways, reg. the songs, have jsut listened to oh oh sanam...and i LOVED it!

At 7:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a nugget of info- crazy mohan has NOT written the dialogues for dasavatharam. he was just in on the story discussions...
kamal's penned the script himself.

At 8:54 AM, Blogger mitr_bayarea said...


looking forward to your "alasal review" of the movie after tomorrow. We are going on Saturday.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

stranger, and the songs may become more popular because of the picturization too :)

bart, 'virumaandi' had a great soundtrack too but can't remember other great ones :)

skanda, yeah the songs do sound situational and the fact that there's no traditional duet tells us something about the kind of movie too.

Hoping to see it Thursday too but the shows don't seem to be organized as well as they were for 'sivaji' and so am keeping fingers crossed :)

anon, I didn't mean just the last 2 yrs. as i said, I have to think real hard to remember the last kamal movie that I just didn't like . glad we agree on atleast 1 thing though :)

rajesh, thats kinda become the trend though. get the hype up and saturate the release so that u recoup most, if not all, costs in the first few days itself :)

anon, the spending was probably cos of the cost. if he decides to make a small, personal movie, the scale might be substantially smaller too. have to wait and see :)

anon, that was my thot too. during end credits with appearances of all the characters :)

Kumar, yeah I think so :)

balaji, things seem a bit different here in the bay area. tickets for all shows were still available online as of yday night. not that that affects my excitement about the film :)

ram, had plans to do several more posts including an audio release report, audio review and oft-requested review of an older kamal movie. just lack of time even compared to last yr when 'sivaji' released :)

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"all she captured from me is good wishes for her path through puberty."

Puberty???!!!! you must be kidding. I know she has been going around saying that she is 18. but she is 29. i say this cos i have worked on sets where she was the model.


At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, i was kidding -- about her total lack of breasts and hips, i.e. the sort of thing girls develop in puberty.

At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB, the reference to Sept. 11 was "distasteful" huh? I wonder if you expressed the same outrage when many a tamil "kavignar" rhymed "tsunami" with "benami" or "selai thirudum tsunami".

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Friendly Stranger said...

Despite of Being a mumbaite, I'm eagerly waiting for d release of this film. Kamal Hasaan is one of the few great actors and I personally feel that Dasavtharam is going to be the peak of his career....
I Would probably hit theater on sunday 2 watch the movie....

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

mitr, hope i find the time to put atleast a few thots down :)

anon, actually I did. I obviously haven't written about every song that misused tsunami but here is what I thot about its usage in a song in 'kanaa kanden' :)

friendly, read that the hindi version's been postponed. guess u'll be checking out the tamil version too? :)

At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


check it out! esp. the link to the gallery at the bottom of the article...i absolutely loved the pic of kamal and rajni shaking hands...
feel like singing "indhiram vandhadhu sandhiram vandhadhu enga cinema thaan" (aann paavaam title song)

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...

really good to see super star and kamal together :-).

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Raju said...

Ever since you wrote that you were originally a Kamal fan and went to the other side thanks to some bullying cousins of yours, I used to wonder what if one or more of those cousins of yours were Rajni fans.. Somehow I cant digest seeing you as a Rajni fan.. :)

Anyway, needless to say that me too eagerly waiting 4 the movie.. Gonna watch tomorrow... About the music, I saw KSR's interview in which he said "Ella channel-leyum avardhaan therinjaaru.. adhaan avarai book pannittom".. It was, to me, a good example of judging the book by the cover.. Himesh was just OK in Hindi.. and highly repetitive. I have just barely listened to Dasa songs.. Keeping the expectations low on that front..

The other Balaji mentioned about re-recording, which is luckily handled by Devi Sriprasad.. Hope we get to watch an unforgettable film (in a +ve way) tomorrow.. :)

At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


can u paste the link again. it's not working

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

ram, thanx! nice photos. the 1 u mentioned was esp. nice. and seeing jo in 1 of them was a nice bonus :)

raju, lol. i wasn't a kamal fan nor were my cousins bullying me. wasn't really anyone's fan but since my cousin was a hardcore kamal fan, i turned a rajni fan to irritate her :)

that seems to be a rather casual comment by ksr about booking himesh. the truth is probably more what another commentor said - having himesh to attract hindi audiences to the hindi version :)

anon, link is working fine. I was able to see the article and the gallery :)

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Shanthi said...

waiting to watch this saturday!

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Bart said...

Ram, thanks for the link. The unnecessary controversy over Rajni not being invited / turning over for Dasa audio function etc has atleast now got a fullstop.
Idhu over hype aagama irundhaa seri.. Anyhow, cat's out of the bag in 24 hrs...

At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i cant wait for tmr :D
But i also cant wait for your reviews of sarkar raj to be up, mr.balaji :P

At 11:00 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, tmr?
won't be watching 'sarkar raj' until its out on dvd for sure :)

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Ganesh said...

Himesh indeed composed good tunes for the films.The drawback is that they seem to remind me of Himesh's Aashiq Banaya Aapne and Aapka Suroor's hit numbers;but they make the film look stylish I hope.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Daydreamer said...

Guess its a bit late, but here is something about Himesh that nobody seems to know.

Apart from his typical (bollywoodish) peppy music albums, he has composed music for 'Varanasi' and it was acclaimed by the Critics too.And when Dasa was started he was topping the charts in Bollywood. These probably were the reasons for chosing him other than the known ones discussed here.

BTW, I abhor Himesh and his Nasal songs. But he has done a pretty good (or great i would say) for Dasa (though the item no. is a disaster) for a Non-Tamilian music director. ARR would have added a lot more magic (and brand value) to the movie for sure.

At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the "tsunami" comment I made - you proved that you were consistent. Sorry, my previous comment was a bit snarky. :)

At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aside from Kallai Mattum Kandal (which has a lift from a Malayalam song) the songs are nothing too great. Mukunda Mukunda sounds like Konjum Mainakkale from Kandukondain Kandukondain. The rest of the songs are worthy of an average film, not a grand film like this.

I think Kamal's films have admirable qualities but they tend to be overlong and sort of overstay their welcome. Virumaandi would have been great if not for that prison escape sequence, and did Aalavandhaan really need to be 3 hours long?

I bet the first and second acts of Dasavatharam will be fairly interesting, but I have a feeling the ending will descend into a barrage of action and SFX. Even without double roles Kamal is on-screen for 90% of the time. I bet it will be 100% in Dasavatharam :)

I will try to see the film this weekend, though not at the $15 premiere price :)

At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonder how people like Ram can get so vetti and watch the movie twice. It's just a movie by an actor and not a big achievement. NO wonder these actors get publicity for nothing they do, thanks to people like Ram. I am sure this movie is going to be a disaster-Ram enjoy !

At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yES,i agree...Not worth watching a $15 movie twice..

At 5:07 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

ganesh, can't say since i havent heard songs from either of those movies :)

daydreamer, 'varanasi' huh? haven't heard of the film so far. guess he was topping the charts 2 yrs ago but his stock isn't flying so high now :)

anon, one of the few times i was consistent I think :)

ravi, he's definitely self-indulgent but considering the quality I'm usually willing to overlook that. lets see if thats the case here too :)

anon/kalpana, considering i saw 'sivaji' thrice in the theater here, I'm guilty too. but the definition of vetti does differ from person to person :)

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...


Certain movies have minute pearls (or) diamonds which makes you see it again and again.

Like in Nayakan *Naalu perukku nallathu senja ethuvum thappu illa*, and my personal superstar fav is in Baasha where he walks towards Kitty and flashback opening scene. Pretty awesome (worth 15$), what say you :)

At 8:51 PM, Blogger Daydreamer said...

@ BB
AS I said, I hate Himesh.
But FYI, he is no more composing music for films(other than the one he stars). He has turned into a full time actor :)

And the name of that movie was not Varanasi but Banaras .

@Anon: NO wonder these actors get publicity for nothing they do
'Nothing they do'?? We are not talking about a masala movie with 5 heros and 10 heroines here. And its not sane to generalise film makers (and film goers) in a single statement !!

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Friendly Stranger said...

Unfortunately I don't know Tamil....I would try to ...

At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another kamal fan wrote this review. I am shocked and let down.

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