I am writing a research paper on Kamal’s Dasavatharam (2008) titled Kamal Hasan’s Dasavatharam, Chaos theory and Divine providence of God – A theological reflection

The Tsunami (on 26, Dec 2004) that devastated coastal Tamil Nadu and beyond forced us (theists) to ask the question: “Where was God during Tsunami?” It is difficult to make sense of the death toll and destruction of property, besides the enormous social costs involved in the subsequent rehabilitation process. You wonder if such calamities events are ordered (if not governed) by God? But…how could a Good – Loving – all powerful God allow these tragedies to occur?  Did God know beforehand whether Tsunami would occur?

If “yes”, why didn’t He seek to stop it? If “no”, why do we need such a God? Either way, the seeming apathy and/or inability render the idea of God (that he is all-knowing, all-powerful etc) morally if not logically untenable. The atheists have asked the same question the theists ask: “ Where was God during Tsunami?” (albeit with sarcasm) to argue their philosophical stance.

Is God-debate inescapable? Is it not possible to seek a ‘natural’ explanation without any appeal to the Supernatural (person, force or otherwise)? Is it not possible to see these tragedies as ‘normal’ events or merely as ‘chance’ events. But, how do we make sense of the death and devastation? Tamil actor/director Kamal Hasan in his new venture Dasavatharam (Ten Avatars) addresses this question.

He turns to the Chaos theory – and the butterfly effect – to find answers. In Dasavatharam, a religio-philosophical discourse – on Chaos Theory and the butterfly effect - unfolds as the story is told to us, all the while casting doubts about the existence of God, if not the relevance of God’s agency to the everydayness of life.

This paper is an attempt by a person of faith to analyze (and critique) the central thesis of the film Dasavatharam: Does God control our everyday (inconsequential) ‘events’ and ‘actions’ or do they just happen “randomly”? The paper attempts to listen to arguments against divine agency and ‘theologically’ reflect on issues such as divine Providence, agency, theological determinism, Free Will, Grace, and Prayer etc central to the Christian faith.

Samuel Thambusamy