Chaos Theory in Dasavatharam

Last week, I went for the ‘First Day First Show’, as any tamil film fan, to the release show of ‘Dasavatharam’ in Albert Theatre at 8. The film unveiled with Kamal speaking something on ‘Butterfly effect’ and ‘Chaos Theory’. From then, I wanted to know what are those terms and what significance they play in that film. In this post, I try to figure it out. I may not come out with the actual answer, but still a try.

Dasavatharam Title

What has Chaos Theory to do in the magnum opus Kamal starer ‘Dasavatharam’?

Before going into details of its implications, just for the sake of completeness, lets see what Chaos theory is? Wikipedia quotes it as

In mathematics, chaos theory describes the behavior of certain dynamical systems – that is, systems whose state evolves with time – that may exhibit dynamics that are highly sensitive to initial conditions (popularly referred to as the butterfly effect). As a result of this sensitivity, which manifests itself as an exponential growth of perturbations in the initial conditions, the behavior of chaotic systems appears to be random. This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future dynamics are fully defined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved. This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos.

This is best explained as ‘Butterfly effect’. Imagine a butterfly flipping its wings. If a butterfly flipping its wings is a part of a system where a tornado is forming, and it happens that this butterfly flipping is an initial condition in the tornado formation, then according to chaos theory, this butterfly flipping its wings could have far reaching implications, such as to change the course of the tornado, say the direction. Though this may seem too odd, this is what the chaos theory says.

Coming to the discussion on how this fits in the movie, The film starts in the 12th century where a vaishnavite is tied to Lord Vishnu statue and drowned into the sea. In the world (system) and this event of drowning (butterfly flipping its wings) occurs well before the Tsunami hit India (tornado). According to the chaos theory, Kamal getting drowned occurred in the initial condition so that it created implications much latter so as to move the plates deep in the sea, causing a Tsunami on Dec 26, 2004. If the initial condition was something else than Kamal getting drowned, then the effect would have been different and a tsunami would not have occurred.

In the film, they show a buttefly fluttering after Govind (Kamal) delivers his speech, to explain the inspiration was drawn from the butterfly effect in the making of the film.

Hope I got it explained at least to some extent. I leave it open for discussion.


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