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Movie Review: Dashavtar

'Dashavtar’ revolves around,let’s see,a vial of deadly virus stolen from a US lab where Govind Ramasamy works.

Actors: Kamal Haasan,Asin,Mallika Sherawat,Jayaprada

Director : K S Ravikumar

When I saw the Tamil original last year,I was struck by a couple of things. That ten,for Kamal Haasan,is nothing : judging by the way he carries on in ‘Dashavatharam’ ( the ten avatars of Vishnu),which begins in ancient times and ends with the recent tsunami,he could have gone on till eternity. And that no matter what,the diehard Kamal fan will come,buy that ticket,and genuflect.

‘Dashavtar’ ( releasing in Hindi almost a year later) revolves around,let’s see,a vial of deadly virus stolen from a US lab where Govind Ramasamy works,a Japanese ninja who tries saving it from a rogue American spy and his sexy Mata Hari-like accomplice,a self-important airport official hot on the heels of the bad guys,a senile old woman who shoves the vial down an idol,a Dalit leader with great oratorial skills,a Sikh pop singer who goes by the name of Avtar Singh,a 7 feet tall fellow who looms over everyone,and,oh yeah,also George W Bush. Yes,the ex-president of the United States,who was still in the White House when the original released last year.

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The only link between these wildly disparate characters is that they are all played by The One To The Power Of Ten Kamal Haasan.

To talk of plot and logic would serve only to insult the film. Suffice it to say that I found the Hindi version a little more fun,because most of the dialogue is hugely mirth-inducing ( ask anyone who’s torn their hair out doing literal translations of Tamil into Hindi,and they’ll tell you just how hard it is not to sound howlarious ). Kamal Haasan,whose spoken Hindi is excellent if faintly accented as always,leads from the front,and despite the terrible make-up in some of his selves,reminiscent of ‘Hindustani’,his switcheroos are quite amazing.

Asin,who’s just wowed the North with her chatterbox act in ‘Ghajini’,should be thankful that ‘Dashavtar’ released afterward. If we’d first seen her in two oily plaits,clutching an idol,and squealing just like Sridevi did in her bad films,we wouldn’t have given her the time of day. Mallika is only slightly better off : she gets to shoot people,and act bad,before she’s polished off. Jayaprada has a tiny,forgettable role.

Clearly,the ladies are decidedly second and third and fourth fiddle. ‘Dashavtar’ is a Kamal act from start to finish. It goes on and on and on. But it has a few enjoyable set-pieces,and fast-paced action sequences.

First published on: 17-04-2009 at 06:00:41 pm
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