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Dasavatharam turns 13: Kamal Haasan shares unknown details about the making

Monday, June 14, 2021 • Tamil Comments


Dasavatharam, words cannot describe the grandeur of this master piece. Ulaga Nayagan Kamal Haasan was seen in ten different avatar in this movie which was released a decade ago when film making wasn't developed enough to visualize the actual potential. On its 13th anniversary Kamal Haasan posted some thoughts and process from the archives.

This was a script declined by many directors and unexpectedly K. S Ravikumar jumped at it, he reveals. He also took some advice from Mukta Srinivasan a brilliant short story writer for enhancement. He goes on to share some fascinating details about the development of this project.

It is a known fact that Dasavatharam was Kamal's dream project and when ne narrated the story to Mukta he had said "kamal you must watch over the film closely as its your idea and goes further and says foster it like your child. They will kill the child otherwise if you only decide to walk in and out of shoot". I took his advise and spent all my time on it.Once I finished the logline with Mr Mukta Srinivasan, the director was still skeptical about the way the script was written".

Now a days actors do a lot of home work even for double action roles, Kamal who had to do ten different roles definately must have had a clear blue print in his mind he reveals that the director and him went to US for 21 days to do make up test, "Everyday for 21 days was hard work and one time Mr Michael also pushed himself in helping me with wiring me for a photo shoot held me too as I wanted to try a kick a certain way. Sometimes I did two different looks / make ups as we were building the makeup in layers and it was done in a lab. During the process Mr Ravikumar realised the full scope of the looks and immediately engaged a photographer for $250 a day to record each look Our producer was enthusiastic to immediately release all of the 10 looks in the media."

Towards the end of filming it is learnt that Kamal has to bring down his imagination as the budget seemd to be nigher . "Mr  Ravikumar had fully understood the script and fought tooth and nail to get the climax done as scripted originally and we spent the additional 1 crore. I gave Mr Ravichandran some of my rights to the film as I ALWAYS invest in my movies and we were partners in the film and he had seen my vision to fruition and we pulled off what was near impossible then. That's how Dasavatharam was made and saw completion."

A huge film like this would be impossible without technicians, talking about them Kamal said "The entire concept of the film was new and challenging, like just the first 10 minutes sequence in re creating a period cost 2.5 crores which was new to everyone.All of my technicians helped me complete the project through all the insults, quarrels, stressful environment etc and I am grateful to them and on the other hand, I would never forget or forgive those technicians who gave up and ran away like rats ditching the project."

Kamal Haasan's contribution to the Indian cinema is overwhelming and in this film he had chiseled every short amd sequence to make it a masterpiece. Talking on which he said " We wanted to make a masterpiece and we didn't look at money or fame, just our contribution to the art of cinema. We had various Stunt directors supporting us which can be seen in various styles portrayed through the film as Fletcher's stunts had to be different from the Samurai and tat from the first and all this within a shoe string budget."

Music plays an important part in any movie and in such cult classic things cannot go wrong, he opens up about the music in his film and said, "Lots of music directors found the script uninteresting and I was confused by their reactions. Worried by this, the producer said he will suggest names and suggest Mr Himesh Reshammiya and added on Ms Mallika Sherawat too as his suggestion.Mr Himesh did a wonderful job with the music when it was a time the press wasn't very supportive of him. He delivered surprises like Mukunda Mukunda and Kallai matum kandal which were big hits and wasn't like anything he did before. He allowed me to render the palandu palandu bit and added it as a overlap to his music. I was very embarrassed as I was conducting a group of singers here to record it and send it to him. We never worked together again, but he proved a point with his good work then. The BGM was by Mr DSP who was a bundle of energy and fun to work with. Exemplary points were when Naidu realizes Srinivasulu is Telugu where it isn't subtlety but on the top humor."

Making a massive project like this needs dedication, even a small details makes much difference, Kamal revealed one such detail to the world, "Balram Naidu wigs took 2 redos and finally ended up taking 2months making us nervously teeter on the edge of breaking a schedule but it landed on time. My personal trainer who's been with me for years did not recognise me as he stood beside Balram while the shot was being prepped.I wore the least prosthetic pcs for Naidu. Applause to the wig maker and Michael westmore once again," he said.

And towards the ends he concluded by thanking the team who made this fream project come true, he said "The project would not have been possible with just me, or just Mr Ravikumar or Mr Ravichandran or just Mr Westmore. It is all of us together that made it happen."

It is notable that the movie was written by Kamal Haasan himself and produced by Ascar film. The film's budget was around 60 crores and management to hit the box-office and made 200 crores and won more than 10 state award.

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