Movie - Endhiran - The Robot (Tamil)
Director - Shankar
Producer - Kalanithi Maran
Cast - Superstar Rajnikanth, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Danny Denzongpa
Music - AR Rahman
Cinematography - Rathnavelu
Production Design - Sabu Cyril
Editing - Anthony
Sound Design - Resul Pookutty
Action - Peter Hein
SFX - Stan Winston Studios
Story, Screenplay - Shankar
Dialogues - Sujatha, Shankar, Karky
Release Date - 1st October 2010
A Rajnikanth movie without his spectacular entry, without a self-celebratory introduction song, without punch dialogues and without any of the usual trappings of Rajnikanth movie. Such an instance has never happened for more than 25 years now. This is just one of the impossible things that Shankar achieves through his magnum opus called Endhiran – The Robot. Conceived by him around 10 years back, Shankar went through a lot of hurdles to get this man v/s machine dream project on floors. After the tremendous success of Sivaji – The Boss, Shankar decided to team up with Rajnikanth once again for his most ambitious project and soon he had Kalanithi Maran and Sun Pictures backing him up with a budget of over Rs.160 crores. And after being in production for around 3 years, Endhiran has finally released sending the millions of fans of Rajnikanth into a frenzy.
Dr.Vaseegaran (Rajnikanth), after 10 years of hard work, creates an android Chitti (Rajnikanth again - Speed 1 Terabyte, Memory 1 Zeta byte) whom he wishes to use as a replacement to soldiers in the Indian Army. But the committee headed by Dr.Bohra (Danny Denzongpa), Vasi's mentor denies approval to the robot stating that it does not have human emotions and feelings and thus it can be misused by anyone quite easily. Vasi feels dejected by this and sets upon an extremely difficult task of instilling human emotions in Chitti. But when he finally succeeds in that enormous task, things go out of control. Chitti falls in love with Sana (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), Vasi's long-time girlfriend, thus creating a love triangle between the three. Sana rejects Chitti's proposal and this develops into a grand man versus machine spectacle.
It requires a man of amazing vision and imagination to even think that such a script can be pulled off in our country. There are ample moments in Endhiran which makes you want to say hats off to the vision of its director Shankar and his amazing technical crew. And unlike any other sci-fi/superhero film made in India (particularly in Hindi), this film actually has a plot, a wonderful one at that. Even though the film is about advanced robotics and science, Shankar narrates it in such a way that each and every one watching the film would understand every bit of what is going on in the movie. The late writer Sujatha's contribution to the screenplay is very evident in the way such complex themes are brought out with utmost simplicity. Dialogues by Shankar, Sujatha and Karky are simple, yet powerful. It's a movie for the masses, the classes and for all age groups from 6 to 60 and above. Perhaps one of the most entertaining movies ever made in the country, Endhiran is sure to break all collection records (if it hasn't already) in the weeks to come.
Superstar Rajnikanth is deadlier than ever, playing three different roles with equal flourish. He plays the non-violent Dr.Vasi with a certain sophisticated dignity, Chitti with an irresistibly lovable charm and Chitti- Upgraded Version 2.0 as the devil incarnate. Rajnikanth looks 20 years younger and it is hard to imagine any other actor playing any of the three roles in this movie. He plays hero, comedian, dancer, fighter, savior and evil, all in the same movie and is nothing short of a treat to watch. Devoid of any of his usual gimmicks and style statements, he still manages to mesmerize his fans. And the final 30 minutes of the movie reminds us of the Rajni of the early 80s, and these portions have to be seen to be believed. The acting caliber of Rajnikanth has been utilized after a long long time. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan looks stunning for most portions of the film. Even though she plays arm-candy for all the Rajnis, she has a striking presence throughout the movie. She looks absolutely gorgeous in the songs and gives a decent performance as well. Danny Denzongpa gives an elegant performance as the evil Dr.Bohra and is a welcome relief from the usual Tamil villains. (The only issue is the out-of-sync dubbing done for him). Santhanam and Karunas are merely there and are not able to match up to Rajnikanth's impeccable comic timing. Malayalam actors Kalabhavan Mani and the late Cochin Haneefa come in one-scene cameos.
Each and every technical aspect of this film is top-notch. Be it the cinematography, production design, make-up, costumes, action, editing or special effects - each department is handled by the bests of the Indian and International film industries. Rathnavelu captures the movie in all its magnanimity and his work really comes into its own during the song sequences like 'Kaadhal Anukkal' and 'Kilimanjaro'. Sabu Cyril deserves nothing short of a National Award for his highly imaginative and futuristic production design and art works. Anthony could have used his scissors a little more in the second half, but still has done a tremendous job. Resul Pookkutty's sound design proves that he is capable of winning more Academy Awards. Action by Yuen Voo Ping and Peter Hein is unbelievably good. The sequence in the local train and the whole climax portions were fantastic. Special effects by Stan Winston Studios (who have worked on Terminator, Iron Man and Avatar) are the best that Indian Cinema has ever seen. The SFX team and the action team have done some extraordinary work in the final 30 minutes of the film making it a visual spectacle, which you can watch only with bated breath.
AR Rahman's music was declared a chartbuster on its release day itself. Shot in true Shankar style, the songs alone are worth the money you spend on your ticket. 'Kaadhal Anukkal' and 'Kilimanjaro' shows never-before-seen stunning locations like Macchu Picchu, shot in all their glory. Whereas 'Arima Arima' and 'Irumbile' has been shot on futuristic sets with imaginative costumes. The mandatory SP Balasubramaniam title song comes in a toned down, yet appealing version and 'Boom Boom Robo Da' and 'Chitti Dance Showcase' are excuses for Chitti to entertain us shamelessly. Choreography by Prabhu Deva, Raju Sundaram and others is excellent and suits the style of Rajnikanth. Vairamuthu and his son Madhan Karky write lyrics that complement the theme of the movie very well. The background score did not come up to usual Rahman-Shankar standards, but was still very good. The 2.0 theme track was killer.
You can be sure of one thing while watching Endhiran. Such a movie has never come before on the Indian screen and it will take a long time for another such movie to come out as well. It is a spectacle which you can miss only at your own risk. If Sivaji was a Rajni film directed by Shankar, Endhiran is a Shankar film, utilizing both Rajni - the actor and Rajni - the superstar. Shankar with his amazing vision has shown us that nothing is impossible if you dare to dream. Ably supported by the best producers this movie could have ever got, Sun Pictures, this movie is sure to be a milestone in Indian Cinema. Move over Superman, Batman and Spiderman, we have Chitti - The Robot!! Shankar, Rajnikanth, Kalanithi Maran and the entire team can be proud. DOT!!
Rating - 4.5/5
(Previously published on nowrunning.com - http://www.nowrunning.com/movie/5775/tamil/endhiran-the-robot/2750/review.htm)