|Endhiran, the Robot|
Cast: Superstar Rajnikanth, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Danny Denzongpa, Santhanam, Karunas
Director: S. Shankar
This is the Tamil version of the film I am writing about here.
The Story: Vaseegaran (Rajnikanth) is a robotics scientist who has been conducting an experiment for ten years before he completes his latest project – an android. His girlfriend Sana, (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) is quite bugged with him for his lack of attention but is quite happy when she meets ‘the robot’ (also Rajnikanth). Vaseegaran has two guys (Santhanam, Karunas) assisting him in the project. Vaseegaran updates his robot with a keen knowledge of just about everything – music, dance, a variety of fighting techniques and more. The robot is able to scan books by the hundreds and absorb their information. Vaseegaran gives it the name of Chitti.
Everyone is enamoured with Chitti and its antics. Chitti is good at anything it does. It can cook, it can draw and paint, it can fight when necessary, drive a car and whatever. Vaseegaran is keen to use Chitti for the military and protect the country. But every time he tries to get his project approved, there is one person who stops it from happening. And that is the bad guy (Danny Denzongpa) scientist who used to be Vaseegaran’s mentor. Jealous of his disciple’s success and worried of losing out on all the income, the villain does his best to sabotage Vaseegaran’s chances.
The film goes on to show how the villain manages to convert the helpful Chitti into a maniacal and destructive robot. Whether Vaseegaran is able to realise his dreams forms the rest of the story.
My Perception: The film was simply superb with fantastic animation and a lot of research has gone into robotics to give an authentic presentation. Kudos to S. Shankar for the idea, story and its execution! A fantastic dream that spans about a decade has come true for the director from what I hear. It is totally worth all his efforts. My son is a staunch Hollywood fan and insisted on watching the film. He went through it with an eagle eye to find faults and was amazed that he could not find any. I go by his word that the film has been perfectly made.
The music by Rahman, sound by Resul Pookutty and cinematography by R. Rathnavelu were nothing short of amazing.
Danny Denzongpa had a good role that seemed to have suddenly been cut short. While he has done his part well, I did expect a bit more from the character and not the abrupt end that it had.
Rajinikanth as Vaseegaran had a very ordinary role – nothing that you would expect from the Superstar. But words cannot describe him play Chitti the Robot. It was fantabulous, to put it mildly. One has to see the film to understand the magnitude of the role and the 61-year-old who is playing it. Amazing!
Aishwarya Rai – don’t quite know what to say. A woman was required in the role. And of course it helps to have a Bollywood star if the film is being sold to both the south and north of India. And then, Miss. World definitely adds more glam. But all these will help sell the film. Will it make the film improve in quality is for the viewer to decide. I did not find anything fascinating or special about Aishwarya’s role as Sana. It was too ordinary and could have been way shorter so that the film had a tighter fit.
With Santhanam and Karunas on board, I definitely expected some more comedy. That was quite disappointing, especially considering the earlier Rajini and Shankar flicks that had way more comedy timing.
To this end, I would have given the film four and a half stars.
But I have a bone to pick at this point. The film is 2 hrs 45 min long. Filmmakers in India, especially those in the South have to mature way more in the sense, they should get out of the myth that quantity is more important than quality. To give that extra 45 minutes, the director has compromised on the quality of the film.
The film is awesome – the story, the music, the cinematography, the direction and whatnot – they all were just perfect. But every time the story took off in a promising direction, Rajni and Aishwarya would jump into a song and dance sequence. By God, that was simply horrendous and totally irritating. It kept interrupting the flow of the film and made one want to scream.
A tight script with the focus on robotics is what we went for and what we would have loved. The film will definitely run extremely well as we kind of excuse the S&D and see the movie anyway. But I hope the director understands that these have made his “stupendous and extraordinary film” into “just a very good one”.
Verdict: You definitely have to watch this one. Tamil Sci-fi has gone global. Superb one by Shankar & the Superstar!
Rating: *** ½ (you know why :( )