Thursday, April 24, 2008

More Dasavatharam

Yes! The hype for Dasavatharam has reached Aalavandhan proportions. However, there is some pleasure in expecting something regardless of the payload. Since it is hard to expect and greatly anticipate something after you know how it really is. So I'll savor the moment while it lasts... that is before the movie releases and spoils my expectations.

Crew Interview:

Kamal Rambling Incoherently

Ranganatha Nambi:

The art director mentioned that the 'nambi' character was a real person from Thamizh Nadu. There is no character of religious significance called Ranganatha Nambi that I am aware of. Uttama Nambi, Vaduga Nambi, Kurugoor Nambi are familiar names. This is obviously a fictional character loosely based on some religious character. Who could that be? Seeing the trailer and the Samaasrayanam symbol, shown as a deliberate close-up, in Kamal's upper arms reminded me of another legend in the books that I read about Ramanuja. I love to tell stories. So here is a sad and violent legend. It involved the Saivite vs Vaishnavite feuds in the olden days. Cine actor Vivek couldn't have described it better in Saamy. Kirumi Kanda Chozhan (the name possibly possibly refers to a Chozha king who died of some infection/disease) that I referred to here demanded that everybody regard Siva as the supreme god. When this Chozhan was informed that a saint lived in Srirangam who did not acquiesce with that opinion, the Chozha king ordered that Ramanuja be brought before him. An army was sent to break into the temple and bring back Ramanuja.

Apparently some tense moments followed and finally Kooratalvan (Ramanuja's sishya) persuaded Ramanuja to abandon his sanyasi robe and escape the clutches of the army by wearing non-sanyasi dress. Koorattalvan then assumed Ramanuja's identity and surrendered to the king's army. When brought before the Chozha Raja, he was asked to say and sign that Siva was the supreme and nothing existed in the world that was greater than Siva. Koorattalvan (under the guise of Ramanuja) gave a flippant reply by deliberately interpreting the word 'Siva' to mean the measurement metric of rice and contradicted the Chozhan by claiming that there were higher metrics. The Chozha Raja punished Koorattalvan for his impudence by blinding him. Legend has it that when the hot iron rod to blind Koorattalvan was brought near him, Koorattalvan grabbed the rod plucked his own eyes out - willingly. Koorattalvan is very popular and especially well-known for his tremendous grasp and memory. That if you read out 3 paragraphs to him once he will remember and reproduce it when required.

Kirumi Kanda Chozhan is said to have soon died and his son, who apparently was a more Vaishnavite-friendlier king called back Ramanuja to Srirangam. However, there is no historical record of there ever being a Chozhan called Kirumi Kanda Chozhan. Either he could have be real Chozha Raja whose name was made anonymous or a local Chieftain who was in reality a lackey to a real Chozha king. The promos could lead one to conclude that Napolean plays Kirumi Kanda Chozhan's fictional equivalent. But who knows. That Dasavatharam is a movie that spans different eras which share a common linking theme is the only thing that can be said with some certainty. Here in the movie Ranganatha Nambi is shown to have done something that results in him being persecuted and thrown into the water with the idol. Kamal Haasan can be expected to focus on the evils of religion, jingoism and his religion-leads-to-death theory to show how people lose the plot by 'kallai kandaal kadavul theriyaathu' (if one looks only at the stone one can't see god). However, in the interim one can spend time making silly predictions. It is fun to say these stories or make predictions.

Update: So from the comments section, I have been told that Dasavatharam has to do with events in Chidambaram Temple. I can't believe I missed the oldest story in the book. A long time ago some one showed me a book by this author called Jegansri called ThiruChidambaram (I forget the names now), which had some bayangara stuff. Chidambaram, literally the mothership of the Saivites, does have its share of Saivite-Vaishnavite feud and bloodshed. However, there is no character that I can find called Rangaraja Nambi, who has had any association with the Chidamabaram temple. The timing is also awry as Ramanuja lived between 1017-1137 and the events here are said to have happened in 12th century. So, I don't know where Kamal gets his history from. Anywho - Govindaraja Perumal sits in this temple in the kidanthaan thirukolam (The reclining posture of Vishnu). 32 Paasurams of Thirumangai Azhwar present in the Divya Prabhandam are dedicated to this place called Thiru Chitrakootam. 10 of those paasurams, my good book here says, are composed in the raagam Sankarabaranam, the favorite raagam of Siva. Anapaya Chozhan (Kulothunga Chozhan II - suspected to be the Kriumi Kanda Chozhan), a normally just king, was brain-washed to dispose off the Govindaraja idol. In a weak moment of jingoism he ordered for that idol to be thrown into the Picchavaram sea (This movie apparently has Rangaraja Nambi drown with the idol). Uttai Koothar, Chozhan's poet later composed a poem on how he served a king who threw an idol of Vishnu into the sea.

History has it that Ramanuja successfully managed to restore the idol back to its place many years later. This was so controversial that some Deekshithars jumped from the hill and high walls to their death - in protest(and to make the change inauspicious). The timing of this incident and whether Ramanuja was the one who replaced it is still under severe debate. Chidamabaram has a violent Vaishnavite-Saivite history. The extreme Vaishnavite opinions say that Chidambaram, Kanchi Kamakshi and Ekambareswar temples (all three are still part of 108 Vaishnava Divya Desams) were converted by Chozhas into Saivite temples, whereas the moderate opinion claims that the co-Siva/Vishnu temples were altered to make them primarily Saivite temples. So until the 16th century the services in Gonvindaraja temple were done by Deekshithars (saivite priests) and in the 16th century King Aachudharayar (Krishnadevaraya's brother) employed Bhattacharyas for Govindaraja temple services. This sparked off yet another bloodshed and war.


Anonymous said...

Enough of all this hype and build up.. when are they going to release the real thing...?? any one know? i hope it's not another

- Ganesh

Hawkeye said...

dei ganesaa - u seeing this in internet or are you buying Rs. 2.50 ticket like u did on 'bombay' FDFS ?

Anonymous said...

Ada pavi, i believe we paid 100rs, which was high stakes at that time bro.. lol

i think i will see this in theater only... already u cant understand half the shit what this guy is trying to say... if u see it online... avalavuthan...onnum puriyathu..

apparam i will become manidhan padhi mirugam pathi...heheh

u didnt answer my question yet... eppo release panranunga....?


I said...

The smartha armed forces will kattify a mudivu for this.

Hawkeye said...


smartha != saivite

Hawkeye said...


no idea. audio release tomorrow.

Ram Prasadh said...

Two small corrections to your blog. It is not Ranganatha Nambi but Rangaraja Nambi. It is Kulothunga Chozhan not Kirumi Kanda Chozhan. I assume that you referred him as Ranganatha Nambi since the video shows him tied to Ranganatha Perumal. That is actually wrong.

It is not the Ranganatha perumal but Govindaraja perumal in Chidambaram.

So here is how it goes. Rangaraja Nambi(Kamal) is an ardent Vaishnavite of 12th century. As you know, there was a great animosity between Saivite and Vaishnavite during that period. Chidambaram is famous for Nataraja perumal kovil and Govindaraja perumal is located in the same Natarajar perumal temple complex at Tiruchitrakootam. The Vaishnavites scoffed at temples being built for Shiva who roamed burial grounds. The Saivites scoffed at temples being built for Vishnu who lay reclining on his bed on the sea. Kulothunga Chozha, a Saivite, hurled the idol of the reclining Govindaraja Perumal idol into the sea and Rangaraja Nambi embraced the idol and sank along with it in the sea.

'Kallai mattum kandaal kadavul theriyaadhu Kadavul mattum kandaal kalladi theriyaadhu. Saivam enru paarthaal deivam kidaiyaadhu Deivam enru paarthaal samayam kidayaadhu...'

One thing is clear. Although Kamal is an athiest and known to criticize religious beliefs, he is the one who thinks about perumaal more often than a average perumaal bhakthan does :))

Anonymous said...

hawkeye, please check the last comment on gajini review

Hawkeye said...


che.. how could i have missed the anapaya chozhan (kulothunga II) -> chidambaram link? i yam saari. that was a really popular throw-into-the-sea story.

jingili said...

Movie gona b released mid may for sure

matrix said...

I don't see anything awry with the time period.
12th century is the period from 1100 to 1200

Hawkeye said...


yes. but when did this nambi live and die? when did kulothunga 2 die? and when did ramanuja come and restore it? All must have happened in a tight schedule.

Sarang said...

If this is in response to my comment on your earlier dasAvathAram post, thank you. If not, a bigger thank you for sharing this story. ALso, can I ask which 'good book' are you referrring to. Also, more info on what should I be reading for information

Mikka nandri...

sundar said...

your speculations are intelligent.
// naatil undu aayiram rajarajar dhaan //
// rajanuku rajan indha rangarajan dhaan //
// saivam endru paarthal theivam theriyaadhu //
// theivam endru paarthal samayam theriyaadhu //

suggesting a strong undertone of kamal's opinions against religious jingoism.

Vetty Max said...

There is a line in the song "Kallai mattum kandal" which goes "Thollai thandhapOdhum engaL thillai mArAdhu"

Chidambaram it is.

Also about the link with Ramanuja, I think the Govindaraja Perumal Kovil at Tirupati was consecrated by Ramanuja to house the Chidambaram Govindarajar. Probably later (meaning after Ramanuja's time), the idol was shifted back to Chidambaram.

sundar said...

sry abt the typo. its // samayam kidayadhu // (sense of time is lost => tempus fugit it is.)

Maha said...

பெனாத்தல் is the word that comes to my mind on hearing Kamal talk. pure and un-adulterated பெனாத்தல்!!!

santhosh said...

hi hawky,
the latest sms telling the story line of dasavatharam is doing its rounds...not sure if u have heard abt it ...any way this is what the sms says "the story starts frm 14 th century and goes on till 21 century rangaraja iyengar is a gr8 disciple of vishnu who worships it against the wishes of the king is sentenced with the statue of vishnu into the seas. then the story opens up in the 21 century where raghavan a scientist finds a statue after a tsunami ..he after oing some research finds out the power of the statue ..and as usual the bad guys come up and try to steal the statue"...another version quotes as "raghavan trigers a sort of a bio hazard bcos of the statue which affects the other kamals in the world and empowrs them with extra powers....some of these kamals do not want to use this force but some of them want to use it for their well being and their struggles against each other is the story"...looks like a commercial entertainer to me with this kind of a story line and with ks ravi kumar at the helm. these might still be just rumours .

and regarding the songs..
"the kallai mattum kandal" song seems to be a copy of the song frm a malayalam vikram movie ..the link is provided

if u had already heard abt this thing ..sorry for wasting u r space..:-)

Anonymous said...

Dont worry boss, This will be BIG failure.. Big loss not everybody can become a big BOSS

Anonymous said...

Kamal - a confused atheist..finally he proves that one who talks against god is the highest believer of god...we see god in small things..but he had to cook up one big funny logic to prove the existence of god..and it is all unnecesaary hype of comparing gods repeating history forgotton long back...movies that repeat history should show the positive side of history and not the negativity...Shiva or Vishnu or any God..God is just one...

Valli Doll said...

To add on to what Vetty Max has said, here is a link to say that Govindaraja Perumal of Chidambaram was installed in Tirupati: