The plot of Dasavathaaram revolves around the lives of several individuals during the week prior to the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. it deals with a research scientist who has lost a biological weapon of mass destruction in the United States of America. The fatal weapon is also sought by an ex-CIA officer for his own ends. Thus the chase begins in Dasavathaaram as both of them try to find out the weapon. This chase is interrupted by several characters and situations that prevent the ex-CIA officer from laying his hand on it.
The film opens with its lead actor, Kamal Hassan, explaining the chaos theory and its effects on the world to prominent personalities. He begins with Chidambaram in the 12th century. Kulothunga Chola II was a Shaivite. Hence the king wanted to destroy all the temples of Lord Vishnu and his followers. Rangaraja Nambi, a Vaishnavite strongly opposes him. As a result both he and his wife are tied to the huge idol and thrown in the Bay of Bengal. The film then quickly switches to the present day where Govindarajan Ramaswamy or Govind is shown as biotechnologist working at a lab in California, USA.
What follows is a string of incidents to locate and destroy the bio weapon. Govind's lab monkey breaches the security protecting the bio-weapon and swallows it, killing it and producing a devastating effect. Govind now wants to destroy it. While his boss, Dr. Sethu wants to sell it off to a terrorist organization; Christian Fletcher (ex-CIA officer) is also after Govind for the weapon.
The vial accidentally reaches India. In the meantime Govind's friend is killed and so his is Japanese wife. He flees for India but the Fletcher follows him. The vial finally reaches Chidambaram. Fletcher keeps on following Govind through all these. The vial ultimately ends up at the house of a Brahmin family in Chidambaram. It is delivered in a parcel and is received by a mentally retarded woman, Krishnaveni. The old lady thinks it is a parcel is from her son. Although Govind pleads with her for the parcel but she relents. Then he explains the danger to Andaal (Asin Thottumkal). Krishnaveni puts the vial inside the deity of Perumal believing that the God would destroy it. Fletcher and Jasmine arrive in Chidambaram and finds the whereabouts of Govind.
A long chase ensues and after several incidents tsunami strikes. Fletcher is killed. As the film nears its end the scene changes back to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai where Govind is present with important personalities. Major portions of Dasavathaaram were shot in America, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.
Dasavathaaram presents Kamal Haasan in ten roles: Rangaraja Nambi, Govindarajan Ramaswamy, George Bush, Avtaar Singh, Christian Fletcher, Shinghen Narahasi, Krishnaveni, Vincent Poovaraagan, Kalifullah Mukhtaar and Balram Naidu.
The other casts include Asin Thottumkal Mallika Sherawat as Jasmine, Jayaprada as Ranjitha Singh, Napolean as Kulothunga Chola II, Nagesh, P. Vasu, K. R. Vijaya and M. S. Baskar.
The music composer of Dasavathaaram is Himesh Reshammiya while Devi Sri Prasad looked after the background score. Michael Westmore was the chief make-up artiste for the film, Ashmith Kunder and Ravi Varman were the editor and cinematographer and Venu Ravichandran is the producer.
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