The much awaited magnum opus, ‘Dasavatharam’ is finally appearing before audience with 1000 prints worldwide. This magnanimous film, made with an enormous budget of about Rs 1.5 billion, is the costliest film in Indian Cinema. Venu Ravichandran’s, Oscar Films Pvt Ltd., is releasing this prestigious film in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi simultaneously. It’s also learnt from reliable sources that Ravichandran is planning to dub the film in some of the foreign languages as well.
‘‘Dasavatharam’, features Padmasree Dr Kamal Hassan in 10 avatars for the first time which is unseen in Indian history. The 10 roles played by Kamal are said to be inspired by Lord Vishnu’s 10 avatars. Thus the story of ‘Dasavatharam’ has a thin taint of Hindu Mythology. The 10 avatars portrayed by Kamal are 1) A Brahmin, 2) A Dwarf, 3) A Scientist, 4) A Soldier, 5) An African Tribe, 6) An Emperor, 7) A Thief, 8) An Old Woman, 9) A Young Lady and 10) A Tourist Guide.
Some of the highlights of ‘Dasavatharam’ are
1) One of the characters by name Rangaraja Nambi, played by Kamal, will portray him as a great devotee of Lord Govindaraja Swamy in Chidambaram who lives in 12th century. Huge sets depicting the 12th century Cholamandalam Kingdom were put up and thousands of people dressed in colourful costumes of that era with hundreds of elephants and horses could be seen on screen. Actor Napolean in the role of King Kulothunga Chola of Cholamandalam Kingdom, shares the screen with Kamal for this part of the film.
2) Another character is a scientist working in the USA. An identical research center was built by the art director Prabhakaran inside the original one that is also located in USA, for shooting the scene of destruction of the research center in an accident. One can visualize the impact of this scene. Also to be noted that Kamal will be seen as George Bush in one of the ten get-ups.
3) The tsunami scene shot in Muttukadu is said to be one of the biggest highlights of the film. Gigantic artificial waves were created with the help of giant machines brought from sources overseas. Another scene involving all 10 characters of ‘Dasavatharam’ meeting at one place is also shot in Muttukadu where a massive set was put in place by Sameer Chanda, the art director.
4) Mallika’s pole dance is sure to attract the crowds. Choreographer Brindha won many acclauds for her work in this song. This dance sequence of Kamal and Mallika Sherawat along with some 20 American dancers that was shot in Malaysia is said to be one of the perfect scenes and show of talent, because none of the Indians who came to have a glimpse of their hero Kamal at the shooting spot of ‘Dasavatharam’, were able to recognize his presence. Kamal is indeed a perfectionist.
5) The gorgeous Asin too seems to have been inspired by the talent of Kamal. If not ten, she has brought out confidence to play dual role for the first time in her career. In the first half of the film she is seen as a Brahmin girl and in the second half, she plays the quite contrasting role, that of a modern girl. It seems that Asin had put in lot of efforts to give her best for which she is equally sure to enjoy the fruitful results.
Along with Asin and Mallika Sherawat, yester years’ heroine Jaya Pradha too shares the screen with Kamal. Interestingly Jaya Pradha is pairing up with Kamal after almost two decades of the happening of Sagara Sangamam. Also to be noted is popular director P Vasu and bollywood actress Rekha are the surprise packages to the film.
6) The most and foremost aspect of the film to be talked about, is the make-up of Kamal Hassan. Kamal spending more than 500 hrs on make-up will speak volumes. Make-up man Micheal Westmore, who won many Oscars, has once again repeated his gimmicks on this legendary face. On costumes front, so far it was Kamal’s ex-wife Sarika who was incharge, and now, it appears to be the turn of Goutami as seen in Dasavatharam’s preparations.
7) Himesh Reshammiya’s music is one more added essence to the film. Though the audio does not appear to be as impressive as expected by the public, still one can hope to feel the effect of it on the silver screen, as it goes along with the film that changes the moods of audiences accordingly.
8) The extraordinary feat accomplished by the art directors is worth a mention. The incredible sets at Muttukadu for various scenes by Sameer Chanda, the look alike Research Center built in US by Prabhakaran and Thotta Tarani's extravagant sets for the songs are believed to be offering the viewers the thrill and a feel of touch of professionals.
9) Another important feature of all the above which plays an equal role along with artists is the cinematography. Ravi Verman’s remarkable camera work is sure to engage the audience by keeping them glued to the screen. His striking camera can be witnessed in films like Aparichitudu (Anniyan in Tamil) and Raghavan (Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu in Tamil).
10) K S Ravikumar, one of the most promising film directors in South Indian Cinema, has teamed with Kamal for the fourth consecutive time to exhibit his artistic brain in ‘Dasavatharam’, after his brilliant work show-cased in films like Bhama Kalapam (Avvai Shanmugi in Tamil), Tenali, Panchathanthiram etc. How can one forget his stupendous success through films like Sneham Kosam, Muttu, Narasimha (Padayappa in Tamil) and Saravana.
Beyond all the above avatars, one should not forget the main avatar in V.Ravichndran, the producer with lots of guts and courage. Oscar Ravichandran, as he is fondly addressed, bestowed his entire confidence and wealth on the capabilities of Kamal and Ravikumar to come up with yet another record breaking film.
Before winding up I would like to clarify that, Kamal always wanted to try something different on screen, the result, his films normally are “hit or miss”. He is one actor who completely involves himself from the preparation of script to selection of artists, make-up, screenplay, direction etc. in his films. Such is the dedication of this great artist and ‘Dasavatharam’ also has his share. Besides acting, he is in charge of the story, make-up, computer graphics, screenplay and also part of the direction.
After facing all the hurdles with the twists and turns in Chennai High Court, ‘Dasavatharam’ is finally hitting theatres on 13th June, 2008. So let us watch to see the results of the hard work, the whole team of ‘Dasavatharam’ has put in for a period relatively longer than required.