The forgotten hero!
K.S. Ravikumar  

This is not something that happens often. Directors are always considered the people behind movies. They are the ones who reap the maximum accolades or bear the brunt of criticism depending on the quality of their product, unless of course the star of the movie is huge enough to eclipse the director’s contribution. Even in such cases the director does get his fair share of attention. The overpowering presence of Rajnikanth did not prevent Shankar’s directorial abilities from being talked about and rightly so. But Dasavatharam has been a completely different case. You might disagree with this, but there has been widespread opinion that K.S. Ravikumar is the director of Dasavatharam in nothing but name. There have been comments on the internet saying that ‘Ravikumar did a very good job of staying beside and supporting Kamal in the making of Dasavatharam’.

Now, no one can be sure whether the person who posted this comment really meant what he typed or whether it is a case of an opinion being unintelligently put forward. But,

looking beyond that one person who posted the comment there is a realization that too little or nothing has been said about Ravikumar’s contribution to Dasavatharam. True, the film is entirely Kamal’s labor of love, his baby, but Ravikumar had a prominent role in nurturing it. Sadly, his contribution seems to have gone largely unnoticed. The media on the whole has been divided in its opinion on Dasavatharam. Some have seen it as a pioneering attempt by a genius while others have felt that the movie is a technical fest that did not hold much water in its script. Well, those are things that have been debated upon to death, the point here is that almost every kind of critic- exalting, positive, negative and confounding- have chosen to make no mention of K.S. Ravikumar. All the aspects of the movie, good or bad, have been attributed to Kamal. What more, even the work of Brian Jennings (stunts) and Michael Westmore (make up) has been acknowledged, KSR has been overlooked.

Now, if the director had been a lesser known name with a fewer number of hits behind him, the tendency to overlook him would have been acceptable. But KSR isn’t a nobody in Tamil cinema; it wouldn’t be inappropriate to call him one of the most commercially successful directors. No one has a better judgment of the audiences’ pulse as this man does and that is exactly why he was part of the Dasavatharam team. Dasavatharam did not tell a regular commercial story. It is a nearly 3 hour long road chase which tries to explain chaos theory and put across several messages. It is a complex narrative that requires expert handling. Yes, Kamal did write the script, but writing a script is one thing and executing it is another. It is fluent execution of a script at rapid speed that is KSR’s forte and he was bang on for Dasavatharam too. To show concepts such as the chaos theory, randomness, the butterfly effect and biological warfare at levels that even a layman can grasp and enjoy was the biggest challenge of Dasavatharam and KSR was the man who faced it. He made things look simple.

KSR is not a director who is known for his technical finesse or grand picturisation. He is known for his abilities to make the masses happy and he brought that to Dasavatharam. Yes, Dasavatharam is entirely Kamal’s movie but it would be unfair if the contribution of Tamil cinema’s commercial king is overlooked. K.S. Ravikumar directed Dasavatharam and richly deserves recognition from anyone who loves cinema, even if it is belated. We got carried away with Kamal’s genius and forgot to appreciate the director’s skill, let’s do it now. Let’s hear it for KSR who has since moved on to Jaggubhai.

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