Once again it was proved that the writers, directors and producers of other language films, are a step ahead in putting innovative ideas on the screen. Instead of going for routine, commercial, faction-related, or love backdrop films, a novel story on bio-war was moulded on the screen in a different way. The gripping screenplay, the ebullient performance of Kamal Haasan in 10 different characters, which is in no way connected with each other and with a vast variation made ‘Dasavatharam’ a fantastic and marvellous piece on the celluloid.
A Telugu NRI scientist Govindu (Kamal Haasan) accidentally prepares a bacteria which has the capability of killing a living being in no time and at the same time, gets doubled immediately causing a vast danger not only to the entire mankind but also to all the living beings. In order to gain an upper hand among all, the US President, George Bush (Kamal Haasan), plans to use them for his wars and at the same time, an international mafia gang leader Fletcher (Kamal Haasan) wants to grab it. In this process, the mafia woos the leader of the scientists with huge money. Learning this, Govindu decides to destroy the vial containing the virus somehow. While taking it away, it accidentally slips and goes through a courier to India. Govindu reaches India in search of the parcel and finally able to get it. However, the packet goes into the hands of Kamakshi (Kamal Haasan), an old woman, who was mentally-retarded. She drops the vial containing the virus in an idol of Lord Vishnu. Fletcher attacks Govindu and both these come under the surveillance of a police officer called Balaram Nadar (Kamal Hassan). Somehow, to escape from Fletcher, Govindu takes away the idol and Lakshmi (Asin) follows him. After traversing several miles, both of them become friends. In the process, the come across a Sikh pop singer Avatar (Kamal Haasan), Punyakoti (Kamal Haasan) and Karimulla (Kamal Haasan). Did Govindu was able to save the mankind from the spread of deadly virus? Did the US President or the mafia leader Fletcher were able to grab it? Whether Balaram Nadar could help Govindu from Fletcher? What is the role of a Japanese martial art fighter in the episode? In the beginning, the NRI scientist reveals the story of a 13th century AD in which there is a fight between the Vaishnavites and Shivites? What is the relation between that story and the present generation story? Answers to all these questions form part of the climax.
Kamal Haasan once again excelled in his performance. Especially, it was a record in the Indian film industry that an artiste playing 10 different roles on the screen. Moreover, all the 10 roles were distinct and have no connection with one another. Kamal Haasan portrayed the roles of a Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Christian, Japanese, an old woman, a Dalit leader, a police officer, a terrorist, and a scientist. He showed fantastic ease in all the roles and the audiences could not identify Kamal Haasan in some of the roles. Hats Off to the make-up by the Hollywood technicians. Asin also played two roles, once a small role as Kamal Haasan’s wife in the flashback dated back to 13th century, and as a girl from a traditional Ayyangar family. The entire film was shot on Kamal Haasan alone and one can watch at least two to three characters played by him on the screen. Mallika Sherawat shook her legs in an item song and later played in a role with negative shades. Jayaprada, KR Vijaya and others did justice to their roles.
Off the screen, there are three highlights and they are absolutely second to none. The first one is the make-up by Michael Westmore. It was a miracle and the normal audiences could not believe that almost all the characters in the film were played by Kamal Haasan. Second comes the cinematography. As the entire film runs with the characters played by Kamal Haasan, the audiences could find two or three characters on the screen and the cinematographer did a commendable job in mixing the scenes in an appropriate manner. Third comes the graphic works. Graphics and technology were used extensively in the film and the tsunami effect in the climax is ultimate. As a whole it is a feast for the eyes of audiences to watch such a technical marvel on the Telugu screen.
Though the film begins with a story on Chola dynasty and the fight between Vaishnavites and Shivites, how it was related to the present generation story could not be immediately identified by the normal audiences. It was the idol which has common in both the stories. The safeguarding of the ‘vial’, the container consists of the virus, was not properly established. The hero and heroine keep running with the vial and at times, the scientist worries about its storage. Dialogues by Vennelakanti are just okay and not so great. The production values of Aaskar films are excellent. But for the minor lapses here and there, the film is worth watching for all classes of audiences.
Cast: Kamal Hassan,Asin,Mallika Sherawat, Jayapradha, Jayaram,
M S Baskar, Napolean
Producer: Oscar V Ravichandran
Cinematography: Ravi Varman
Editing: Ashmith Kunder