Dasavatharam for Dummies

Warning: If you are one of the few people who hasn’t already seen or read reviews of this movie, be warned that there are spoilers in here.

Dasavatharam was a hugely anticipated movie, and with good reason. Kamal Hassan acts in 10 different roles including that of George Bush and an 8 ft giant. However, the movie was not appreciated as much as it was anticipated. Some of my friends in blogosphere attributed it to Kamal’s inability to age gracefully, or his high ambition and ego. All along I thought the movie was good, something new and unexpected, but even I never quite understood why he had made a movie that seemed like it was a bunch of people thrown in together, until this morning, when I received a rambling comment on a previous post (which I deleted later). That explained the whole concept, and I am now able to appreciate it much better.

Those who are interested in understanding it, go ahead and read this comment by someone who calls himself Kamal.

————————————————————————————-

This is a forwarded message –

FOR THOSE WHO LOVED DASAVATHARAM AND ALSO FOR THOSE WHO CUDNT UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT!!!!!!!!!!

Too many doubts about correlation of the movie, Chaos theory and Butterfly Effect have come into Picture….!!!

The movie clearly states about Chaos Theory and Butterfly Effect [Kamal says it in his Speech in the Movie ]

The concept of “CHAOS THEORY” and “BUTTERFLY EFFECT”, by itself is a complex concept, which mainly highlights the happening of huge unimaginable things because of least probable things…!!!!

Dasa although deals with these concept, but does not necessarily confuse anyone with it,,,, As i said earlier, its mainly “YOU”… that plays a factor in how the movie gets along with “YOU”.

You have got to be Case 1 or Case 2 as i have said earlier in this entry,,, No use being Half Baked…..!!!!

To just brief about these Concepts,

Q: What is Chaotic System ?
A: Basically a chaotic system is one wherein long term predictions are impossible.Like for example,if I push a car, I know that it is going to move and it will continue to do so if I go on pushing it on and on.However,in a chaotic system,this situation cannot be predicted over a long period of time.
Weather for example is a chaotic system.No matter how good your instruments are,you simply cannot predict the weather with 100% accuracy over a long term basis and forecast it.

Q: What is the Butterfly Effect ?
A: It is the most important component of a chaotic system.Basically,small perturbations results in amplifications which completely destroys the original nature of the system and makes prediction impossible.
If a butterfly flaps its wings in Africa,it could result in a cyclone in USA.(Mark the word COULD).A highly dumbed down explanation of the butterfly effect is in the film Anniyan,where Vikram’s sister dies because a liquor shop owner sells liquor on a dry day.

Q: OK, how does Dasa incorporate it ?
A: In essence,Dasa talks about 8 characters who are inconsequential as such,but are integrated in a larger picture.Without Bush,the plane would have been called back.Without Shinghen, Govind would be dead.Without the tsunami,the world would have been destroyed.Even Krishnaveni Patti plays a very important role.If she had not put the vial in the idol,maybe Govind would have recovered it then and there and a powerful weapon would have been unleashed.The very fact that it went into the idol meant that it was being accelerated to its destiny.Without Kaifulla Khan, Govind would have never escaped;the list simply goes on.

Q:OK,so does the film talk about theism or atheism?
A:Neither.It talks about how humans drive the destiny of the world.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–
The movie does Show ” A Butterfly ” flying accross the screen after the Tsunami Attcck, clearly indicating that the Tsunami is an Outcome of ” The Butterfly effect “.

ALSOOOOOOO……..

I said that the butterfly COULD cause a hurricane.That’s a huge probability. Would be a negligible probability. NOT a huge one. if that were true, we would have cyclones on an hourly basis as butterflies keep flitting all over Africa and u don’t have so many cyclones to account for a HUGE probability.
Chaos,relativity and quantum mechanics are so damn weird that you will think I am talking metaphysics and pseudoscience.

Like for example,according to quantum mechanics,there is a finite probability that you will fall right through a solid chair.And it is a PROBABILITY.
Even 10 to the power -26 is finite 🙂 .

But yes, Quantum Mechanics does allow for weird situations.

THE CONNECTION !!!!!

Guys check this link for a clear and complete explanation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect

In the above links u can see that butterfly’s wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado or delay, accelerate or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in a certain location..

So in dasavatharam that idol thrown into sea in 12th century is the cause for tsunami…. so everything is interlinked .The wiki entry also says that chaos could play an important role in plate techtonics. Which means even the 12th century incident is connected.

The 1st scene is perfectly connected to the climax, remember what Kamal says in the 1st scene, that he will not say “Om Nama Shivaya” , but Asin tells him to chant it , but still Kamal refuses , ( in this kamal in his story tries to tell that ) Nambi believes in his god more than anything, but Asin feels “Its ok if we change the god or chant other god’s name, its life thats most important.” Now if u see the climax its JUST OPPOSITE…. Kamal doesn’t believe in god much and values lives of people the most…. but Asin deeply believes in god and that too this dialogue comes when both Asin and Kamal’s hand is on the god which came from the sea , and it also means that they are getting united from the place they departed hundreds of years back ( Kamal and Asin).The connection between the 1st scene and the climax in the movie shows the generation circle combined with supernatural powers of GOD and destiny…..!!!

If you watch it closely u can also find another actor who has done double action other than Asin and Kamal.
Asin’s father Sahasranamam [12th Century], in the beginning he says to Nambi “Panchatchira manthirathai sollitu vaango mappillai” and at the End [After tsunami] he says “Avar enna jathiyo inga vaanga paati “.
Another Eg. of Chaos Theory and circle of life.

JUST IMAGINE THE CHAOS THEORY IN A TAMIL FILM ??
WILL ANYONE HAVE THE GUTS TO HANDLE THIS KIND OF A SUBJECT IN A TAMIL FILM?

ONLY KAMAL HAS THE GUTS…. U ROCK!!

FURTHER————-

Nambi explanation

Okay, this is slightly outside the chaotic system driving the film as a whole.From what I could gather he says that this story is about ideologies like God,the madness surrounding such ideologies and decides to tell the story of the Shaivite-Vaishnavite conflict to show how people go crazy in the name of God as an example.

As a loose end,it gets tied up in the end,when the Ranganathar idol is thrown out of the sea due to the tsunami which highlights the cyclic nature of life.Actually the Nambi character highlights both Chaos and Karma which I explained.That is the brilliance of this film,there is so much to see and understand.

Another explanation(and this is slightly far fetched— as explained earlier) is that Govind is in fact the reincaranation of Nambi. As Nambi he couldn’t protect God and died in the name of God.In order to fulfill his Karma,he is reincarnated as Govind Ramasamy who ultimately saves the world from destruction.The idol in the end somewhat hints to this theory; his story began with the idol and it ends with the idol.
As far as the connection with Nambi character and events in 12th Century goes…
The connection is based on the “Butterfly effect “.

When Govind and Andal goes to the bury the idol in the sands, Andal will stumble on a particular stone couple of times…This is the same stone as the one from 12th Century hen Kothai rips her Thaali and flings it at Kulothunga Chozan…it will end up hanging on the stone. So, the implied message here is Andal is Kothai reborn in the 21s century.
During the encounter with Santhana Bharathi in the sand quarry, it is repeat of the incident from 12th century. Instead of Kulothunga Chozhan, it is the Sand Mafia which tries to inflict damage on the land.
This movie is a brilliant juxtaposition of independent characters whose paths cross, if only briefly, which is stunning example of Chaos Theory.

The idol that is drowned in the sea along with Rangarajan in 12th century by Chozha king results in a fault being developed at the bottom of the ocean and creates tremors more than 800 years later. These tremors result in the Tsunami. This again is a classic case of Butterfly Effect wherein a seemingly inconcsequential event (the drowing of the idol) saves Tamil Nadu from being wiped out off the face of the earth.

But actually kamal has not left anything for our imagination… Explanation struck the right chord, Kamal does tell to Asin in a dialogue that idol which gets sunken back then gets struck between the tectonic plates under the sea and causes tsunami…
Many people missed this dialogue i guess. Kamal’s accent was so very perfect Tamil, that many people missed it…. Being perfect Is a Problem by Itself !!! 🙂

Although the explanation is a least possible theory, that is what “Chaos Theory” And “Butterfly Effect” are all about.
Its not just the statue that caused the tsunami, but it just started a large chain of effects which kept multiplying exponentially and finally lead to it after 800 years….!!
Why just say this concept is perfectly illogical… it is possible… thats what i have been explaining all the while !!!

The story line is that things going wrong are made to be right which involves many people and countries knowingly or unknowingly.

Knowingly:

-Bush, Manmohan Singh, Govindh, Fletcher, Balaram Naidu, Mallika Sherawath.

Unknowingly:

-Nambi’s drowning to death with the heavy statue causes simple changes to the seabed that causes a devastating tsunami 800 years later [Acc. to Chaos theor it is possible…. although it is least probable… It is possible.. so nothing TOTALLY WRONG About it ]
-Poovaragan(actually saved kamal unknowingly—when poovaragan enters kamal and asin were caught by those manal kollayargal.There poovaragan distracts the gang helping kamal to escape),
– Avatar Singh(gave way to Fletcher to escape in the airport unknowingly),
– Japanese(saved govind from fletcher,he knows he is saving but he doesnt know about the play and was there only for revenge),
– Kallifulla and family(saved govind unknowingly)……..
-Vincent is a dalit leader of a lower caste( the so called ) but saved an Iyengar Girl ……and at the end becomes the son of the Iyengar Paati !!
– If Shingen Narahashi’s sister was not killed, Fletcher could have killed govind and used the virus for wrong purpose..

This is based on Chaos Theory..!!!!!

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20 thoughts on “Dasavatharam for Dummies

  1. Laksh

    Wow! That is some explanation. I haven’t seen the movie but will be this Saturday. Will come back and read it again to see if it makes sense.

    Rekha: Yeah. I saw the movie and saw all the things this person has written about, yet I did not notice them, because I was only looking at the movie being a commercial thriller of some kind.

  2. I am assuming only the first paragraph was written by you. coz the remm just sounds like a desperate fan tryin to evince interest and thereby fill seats..

    Not writing too much here, for I am composing a gargantuan post on the same topic.

    Rekha: Right about the first paragraph. I feel convinced by the explanation though. Will wait for your take on the movie.

  3. Even I got this as a forward. I don’t care, I liked the movie even before getting these forwards. It had it’s flaws but definitely this much hype is worth for a Kamal movie more than movies like Sivaji, in my opinion.

    Rekha: Aama Aama. Kandippa!

  4. Matsya-Nambi obvious fish in water
    Koorma-Bush the turtle was beneath the huge churning that emitted poison leading Asuras and Devas into battle
    Varaha-Khalifullah, the tall God dwarfed by minority community status
    Parasurama hatchet man/Fletcher-the hitman
    Balram-Balram Naidu
    Rama-Avtar Singh in love for his wife
    Narasimha-Shingen Narahasi, the man who takes on the disbeliever on the shore, at dusk in bare combact (remember hiroshima?>>>)
    Krishna -Vincent, saves the girl from molestation when she calls Narayana, loses out the political negotiations as his community is bought over by drink. Krishna tries for a Yadava -Kaurava negotiation hat fails as Yadavas succumb to booze and Krishna and Vincent die by the seashore, their feet wounded.
    Buddha-paati and today Buddhism is the religion of the Dalits in India, Vincent seems like her son as she attains enlightenment
    Kalki-Govind, harbinger of doomsday through virus

    It’s interesting because the film throws up such ideas and thoughts. This is a great idea succumbed to a pantomime tradition past its sell date.

    Rekha: Gosh! Obviously Kamal Hassan is not the only creative person around.

  5. Someone posted this explanation on an online bb at my hubby’s sompany.. very interesting take.. I wrote about the mass hysteria against Kamal in my blog too.. I think it is just that the audience just has very high expectation from Kamal !! First time here and good read!!

    Rekha: Welcome here. For Kamal’s movies we certainly build up a lot of expectation. Most often he lives up to them. Sometimes he fails them, and sometimes like this he just goes way above our heads, I guess.

  6. Although that was indeed from a desperate fan (have seen it in many blogs now – maybe now it will come on mine too!)

    > Explanation struck the right chord, Kamal does tell to Asin in a
    > dialogue that idol which gets sunken back then gets struck
    > between the tectonic plates under the sea and causes
    > tsunami…
    Well isn’t the earthquake’s epi-center actually a few thousand miles away from the place where the previous “idol” (btw, it was much more than an idol – it was a *huge* piece of stone) was sunk? Unless of course, that really heavy stone shifted (floated!) thousands of miles and sunk precisely between the plates near Indonesia – I guess that is still probable 🙂

    In any case, the dialog in the movie refers (cynically of course) to God having created those tectonic plates “improperly” when the earth was created (rather than the 12th century events) – in such a way as to cause tsunami at the approp time.

    The story sort of is entertaining – tenuous in places. No need to over-compensate – because – who cares – It was an entertainer.

    Rekha: Yes, overall it was an enterainer. Try to look beyond that and there are a hundred explanations all based on chaos theory. Quite intersting actually.

  7. prem

    now you scare me!

    you know how our likes go….(u like it i dont. i like it you wont.even now i wont understand how you cant like many movies that i like that you hated.) .it frightens me if i have wasted 38 bucks to go see the movie today evening!

    yeah…i generally like kamals movies. but somehow i kind of keep feeling that his 10 characters are a distraction from the concept. but, i reserve my judgement till i see the movie.

    and i dont think its too fair to compare this with sivaji. (and maami, people who downloaded it using their precious comcast connection cant comment on it! makes a huge diff to see it in a theater and on a computer). sivaji was a well made comic book fantasy which made good use of the aura built around rajini. wouldve been crap with any other actor. comparing kamal and rajini is truly oxymoronish.

    anyway let me not ramble on. and let me decide if i should curse you or praise you for your good taste tomorrow!

    Rekha: Prem, I will be unavailable for comment all weekend! Na joot!

  8. Bala, Chennai

    Your explanation by far more comprehensive than perhaps the one that could be offered by Kamal or KSR. The problem with an average viewer is that he or she does not like such complex linkages. For many, they do not have the patience or mental speed on the hand to process the sequences and link them. Basically if you have watched lots of Western Movies, you would be able to draw such linkages, because that is how most western movies are made and interpreted. However, sophisticated the Tamil Movie audiences are, when they want Tamil flicks, they just want them to be straight. I would like to quote in one of the Movies that Baggiaraj directed. When he plots to kill his wife using cooking gas in her kitchen by deliberately keeping the value open and flooding the kitchen. To help audience understand the explosive nature of cooking gas leak, he would literally take a cylinder to a hut in a remote place, and demonstrate the next scene. And that is the level of simplcity people expect. Here in Dasavatharam, Kamal has attempted to explain a complex theory by simple events. They have tried their best. The movie is racy and interesting. He has done some of the roles with exemplary performance.

    I remember, when I was a school, I used to watch English movies in Salem. For every movie, the now defunct Imperial Theatre, there would be a local translation of the story in Tamil helping people watch the movie. I bet you more 99% did not understand English. May Kamal must handout literature to help people relate the movie. Thanks
    – Bala, Chennai

    Rekha: With the exception that this is my explanation, I agree with pretty much everything you say.

  9. Srikanth

    As Kamal says in another movie “Ithelaam anubavikanum, aaraayakoodaathu! ” ( You need to enjoy it and not analyze it )

    Rekha: Vaanga.. Vaanga.. 😀

  10. neelima

    thanks for putting up the fwd..it does help a lot becoz for once i understood y kamal made such a movie…definitely kamal needs to be commended for this..i realize now y the audience came out so silent after the movie..having read ur explanation..i just need some more understanding on this…

    i have tried to understand a bit of the chaos theory n butterfly effect..but my question is why should we keep finding logical / illogical / imaginary / realistic theories/answers for things that happen – be it good or bad…for example – y do we need to connect the 1st incident n last incident or y shld we connect the chain-reactions????

    i believe that things that happen everyday – be it good/ bad/ normal, can never be explained…its a mystery tat can never be sorted…n tat mystery has really caught our lives too…infact i feel it has strangled our lives with religion/traditions n its after-effects…

    my point is if kamal hassan is an atheist,,,y shld he believe in such theories.. because i believe this chaos theory or butterful effect has paved way to religion n crap…choas theory n butterful effect is full of probabilites..n so is our religion – full of probabilites….these are theories which will never end n make no sense…n y shld we keep finding answers for something which can never be explained…rather we shld spend our energy doing better things like protecting humanity, environment etc….

    nwayz i just felt like this chaos theory or butterfly effect reinforces such religious ideologies like – everything happens for our own good or bad or karma…all i want to know is – why should we keep convincing ourselves with such stuff…i understand that it is diffcult to digest hard facts (like someone’s death etc.) but such explanations dont justify anything…we r just cheating ourselves..i mean we are just fooling our brain that something happened because of blaaaa n tat we shld keep doing it…i know tat kamal does not insist or enforce on us but i feel that the movie just conveys such a message..

    so i feel as per the movie – we should keep consoling/convincing ourselves everytime something bad/good happens…but my QUESTION IS – why should be give such explanations or convince ourselves…IS it necessary to give such explanations??…shouldn’t we accept whatever happens and move ahead with our life…why should we keep convincing our brain…

    isn’t it all a social structure of thinking?…tat we shld convince our brain when something good/bad happens…

    i understand life is mystery n tat is what the movie has been explaining…well all i can say is that, such conclusions can be inferred from any movie – if wanted, even though they are not directed from such angle (well i am not comparing any movies here, but such inference can be drawn from any angle and anywhere)…

    all i want kamal or anyone to answer is – what if the society does not believe in this concept of inferences? – what kind of a society would that be?

    WELL i dont want u to think this as an irony to my question – all of us in chennai n other affected parts had a very bitter feeling about the tsunami – like it took away many lives, livelihood, questions like y the hell did this happen to chennaities etc…but now the movie has given it a different picture – the movie makes us think that the tsunami happened for a good cause n nothing bad about it…For Ex: if the earthquake wld have happened anywhere near chennai then, whole of chennai would have collapsed, but since it took place some 1000s of kilo meters away, it just killed few 1000s instead of lakhs…………..THE NEXT QUESTION IS – can we draw n shld we ever draw such conclusions for all the corruption, bribery, criminal-acts etc. tat happen across the world…so shld we just keep quiet n believe tat such criminals will be punished one day some way somewhere…WELL INSTEAD OF FIGHTING FOR THE EVIL – WE ARE FOOLING OUR BRAINS n waiting for stupid things to happen?? the movie emphasises that we should wait…n tats what people have been practicing since ages…

    well its a cycle of inferences n assumptions, which are again a social construction…y shld be construct such theories – may be this cannot be called religion because there is no culture to be attached, but it cannot be science either…

    thing i disliked in the movie:
    – getting karunanidhi – all of us know he is an atheist…but its stupid to get someone support ur thinking..y cldnt kamal have another artist…

  11. hmm any reasons for avatar singhs removal of cancer…. may be atleast pacha poochi effect. Why logical kamal movie should have such a worst scene ..lol.

    1) Kathai illainnu sollala, irundha nalla irukkum than sollarom.

    2) Antha korangum, Big Govindaraja perumal statue 2ndum Kamal thanam 🙂

    3) This movie cant dream of oscar.. they should be happy with AASCAR :). Before that movie the company was called Oscar. Oh no name change.

  12. I was very much impressed by this movie. And much more after reading this article. surely i need to see this movie couple more times.
    what about that ten avathars. i heard each characters is one avathar.
    example
    which asin sarrie is tried to be removed she will shout narayana and tat black kamal will appear this shows he is krishana avathar.
    and tat japan kamal is narashima avaathaar.
    anyone knows much about this.

  13. neelima

    gosh the movie is not abt avatara’s…its questioning ur actions…who wins the race..is it religion or science..or are they both the same…

  14. padmajav

    Good explanation. But frankly, if a movie needs such a long post script to understand it, it defeats its purpose!! 😉

    Rekha: Got to agree with you on that.

  15. prem

    well…the movie was entertaining…and lets just end it there! for a change, i agree with srikanth.

    decent idea…badly executed….theres no butterfly effect or dragonfly effect or whatever. no chaos theory but just chaos!

    despite the chaos and despite the disgusting makeup and bad effects, the movie kept me entertained….so it wasnt really too bad.

    guys! lets stop reviewing this movie and move on to something that is really worth commenting on! want something to think about? watch memento or eternal sunshine of the spotless mind…any other suggestions?

    anything but more of dasavatharam!!!! hurts the mind!

  16. Govindarajan

    Govind atheist incarbation of theist nambi with gap of 800 years. remember nadigar thilagam playing double roles, theist elder brother who believes the temple kalasam will turn automatically to prove his belief in God. the younger brother again nadigar thilagam, an atheist, who never beleives in god, but has tremendous love for his elder brother and his faith in God that the temple kalasam will churn automatically.in order to sustain brother’s faith in God, the younger atheist brother climbs the temple gopuram with difficulty and churns the kalasam to sustain his elder brother;s faith in God. what a marvellous portrayal by nadigar thilagam.

  17. chokkathangam

    gappa… i can’t stand all these kamal fans who try so hard to come up with an explanation to salvage what was really a mediocre movie.. i’m sure kamal himself would not have thought of half the things you all claim.. (from my own review:-)
    Update: My views on the plot

    I find I did not mention what I thought about the plot of the movie and its basic premise. I did not think much about the plot and since it was a commercial movie, I thought my opinion on the plot would be irrelevant, but subsequently had to revise my opinion based on the comments from readers (ok, ok, I am just coming up with excuses for my own stupidity and negligence). For me the plot was FLAWED from its inception. It made very little sense to me. The chaos theory, which I first read about admittedly only after I saw The Butterfly Effect (lest you mistake me for some Peter-uttufying payal), I find has no relation at all with Dasavatharam’s plot. The chaos theory is only applicable to events where even the slightest perturbation in the initial conditions has a exponential multiplier effect and affects the final result profoundly. Events that do not depend on the initial events significantly aren’t really affected by this theory. In other words, the event under discussion must be deterministically random (eg. instantaneous noise parameters). The very idea of a bio-virus being released into the atmosphere does not come anywhere close to being deterministically random. So chaos theory as an explanation has absolutely no meaning at all. If Kamal is right, then we could well explain other things including Simbu’s latest hairstyle, the birth of Sam Anderson (check him on youtube) etc.. to chaos theory. I personally will not stand for this kind of chaos theory abuse. So the best way to watch this movie would be to leave your brains back and also bring a high frequency filter for your ears (this is for drowning out Asin’s voice). Happy watching, if you already haven’t done it that is.
    for more:-
    http://chokkathangam.wordpress.com/2008/06/21/bring-on-the-dasavatharam-i-say/

  18. Vishwa

    I personally loved the movie though everyone of my friend rejected it as a pathetic attempt to satisfy his own ego. And I read that explanation for the movie too previously…check out my blog at viswajithandharry.blogspot.com. I have written my own review of the movie!

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