Kamal's forthcoming magnum opus Dasaavataram, in which he plays 10 different roles, is not yet released & so how can one say now itself who or, rather, which film is its competitor?
Yes. For a movie to have competitor in the market, it has to first release & then find who its competitor is. But, what I am talking about here is not the market competitor but a "sentimental competitor". And, that competitor is also another Kamal movie.
Who is that sentimental competitor to Dasaavataram & how or in what respect does it compete with Dasa?
Even before it gets released, Dasaavataram is competing against another Kamal movie, which released at the beginning of this millenium and bombed big time at the box office. And that movie is none other than Aalavandhaan. To know how does Dasa compete with Aalavandhaan, please read further.
At least infour major areas Dasa is competing with Aalavandhaan. They are listed & compared below one by one:
1. Distributor-turned-Producers: Both Dasa & Aalavandhaan have got similar back-ground of producers. If it was Kalaipuli Dhanu, who has risen from the ranks in the film industry by starting off as a small time second release distributor to grow into a big film distributor & to finally become a big budget producer & produce the ultimate big-budget film (then) starring a top actor Kamal in Aalavandhaan, Dasa has almost exactly a similar background of its producer. Dasa's producers, Oscar Films, have also started off as small time distributors and slowly become distributors of big budget movies and grown to become producers themselves. After producing several movies with second rung actors & technicians they have grown to become big bidget producers & ultimately theyare now producing Dasa, one of the magnum opus production in Tamil cinema, with a top actor Kamal in ten roles and with a whopping Rs. 60 crore cost.
2. Hype & high-cost defines the Producers: Both Dhanu and Ravi have lived their professional life by marketing their movies through high-cost promotion & hype. If it was Dhanu who promoted his movies with mega-size posters & by giving catchy titles to actors (Superstar title to Rajinikant is Dhanu's creativity), Ravi is not far behind in this respect. In fact, Oscar films, of late, has been credited with making movies to run, which were otherwise non-starters, purely by their promotions & marketing campaign. Dhanu created a huge hype for Aalavandhaan from its launch date itself by splashing Chennai with sevral posters as also during its making. Finally he managed to create a phenomenal pre-release hype for Aalavandhaan which was released with enormous amount of expectations during a Diwali. Now, Ravi is trying to do an encore with Dasa. If Kamal donning 10 roles for the first time in Cinema has been the talking point throughtout the making of Dasa, Ravi went overboard for Dasa's audio launch by inviting the Hollywood Actor Jackie Chan to be the Chief Guest. He didn't stop with that. Just for the audio launch he filled the stage with the who's who of Indian Cinema by also inviting Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini and Jaya Pradha from Bollywood and Mammooty from Mollywood. Of course, the ever willing CM of TN, M. Karunanidhi was there to preside over the audio launch. Rumours have it that Ravi would have spent around Rs. 10 crore just for the travel & comfortable stay of Jackie Chan & his entourage alone for a day. He is expected to throw in an equivalent amount for Dasa's pre-release promotion as the release date nears. Ravi, thus, has proved yet again that he is second to none when it comes to creating hype for a movie.
3. Huge cost of production: Both Aalavandhaan then & Dasa now, are the costlist or one of the costlist movies to have been produced, respectively. In fact, the cost of both have identically shot thru their original budget due to huge time & cost over-runs. In fact, the differences between Kamal & his producer Dhanu that came out into the open subsequent to the bombing of Aalavandhaan in the box office, centred mainly on the unnecessary expenditure incurred for its CG portions which was insisted upon by Kamal, which ultimately came only for a few minutes in the final cut, but which gobbled up several crores & lots of time. Those scenes were also criticised by viewers & critics alike as none could relate to them. Dasa is also competing with Aalavandhaan in cost & time overrun aspects. It is in production for more than two and a half years now & its post-production work has taken more than 6 months already. Dasa also is having a huge amount of CG works necessasitated by the 10 roles of Kamal as also some special scenes like tsunami, etc. which is being hyped-up now as its USP. One thing to note is even in Aalavandhaan, before its release, its CG scenes were hyped up enormously & touted as its USP but subsequently proved a damp squib.
4. Successful commercial Directors: Both Aalavandhan then & Dasa now, have at their helm, persons, who are reputed as successful commercial dirctors - at least till such time the movies were in the making & getting released. If Suresh Krissna has given several smashing commercial hits before he embarked upon Aalavandhaan like Annamalai & Baadsha with Rajini & Sathya & Indran Chandran with Kamal, K.S.Ravikumar, the direcotr of Dasaavataram, has to his credit Muthu & Padayappa with Rajini & Tenali, Avvai Shanmughi & Panchatantram with Kamal apart from some other commercially successful movies with other actors too. Like Suresh Krissna met his Waterloo in Aalavandhan and subsequently could not give any commercially successful movies, will KSR face a similar fate in Dasa? The point to note here is that both these directors are known to be pliable to allow ghost-directing in their movies and Kamal is well known to be a ghost-director in the industry. Could you then find the common line linking the two movies here?
5. Bollywood music directors: Another important & sentimental similarity between the two movies is its music directors. As if there is no worthwhile MD in Tamil, Kamal wanted to bring Shankar-Ehson-Loy (SEL) from Mumbai for Aalavandhan but their work proved to be well below expectations. Similarly, for Dasa too, Kamal has brought in Himesh Reshamiya (HR) from Bollywood when ARR couldn't be roped in for the project. Similar to SEL, HR's songs in Dasa too have not made the music charts hot & the songs are just about ok types. Interestingly, Dasa team couldn't get the dates from HR for BGM work & hence forced to rope in another MD - this time from Tollywood - Devi Sri Prasad (DSP) to do the job. In fact, DSP as MD for both songs & BGM would have worked better, going by DSP's work in Santosh Subramaniam where his songs are topping the charts.
So, if one looks at the above points, it looks as though Dasa, first, has to fight against its sentimental competitor Aalavandhan, before even attempting to compete in the market for BO stakes. I think, Kamal as an actor, may do more than enough justice to his 10 roles in Dasa. But, Kamal, as an egoist, ghost-director & script-writer, could become a millstone in the neck of the producer of Dasa & that could ultimately turnout to be the difference between Dasa's BO success and failure.