Robot. Just close your eyes – how did you imagine it? Something like this –
Well, you are not far off. So, that didn’t require any extraordinary imagination, did it? Bah, you thought End(t)hiran will be just that. Huh. It has more layers.
A patriotic, workaholic ‘genius’ scientist (aka Rajnikant) creates an android robot Chitti that goes bang bang later (Rajni again) to serve the army. Events occur that force him to realise artificial intelligence is just that – artificial (profound) – he then adds feelings to his andriod. Don’t ask me how because I don’t know the question is not that if robots can have feelings. Endhiran is much ‘evolved’ and foresighted than that; instead it makes you wonder the inevitable ‘what if’. Super advanced stuff.
Wait, where does Aishwarya figure in it– she’s THE enticing cake both man and the machine fight for.
For the first half, you can sit back and perhaps even enjoy, if I can claim that, since the script is working – in the sense things are happening. Come to think of it India’s highest paid and most charismatic star makes perhaps the most lacklustre entry as a shabby-haired, bearded workaholic genius scientist – yet the audience hoots. (At least to begin with.) But by the time, we hit the interval – reactions are subdued. (Yeah, I spent lot of time watching the people.) The second half is tedious, mindlessness ensues not always in good way. (Audience is resigned, no hoots.) Script plods on a predictably unreasonable trajectory. Dialogues are as cliché as Chuck Norris Rajnikanth jokes on Twitter and some sequences cringe-worthy.
And then there is music. Totally uninspiring while you watch it in the movie (I refused to believe it was A. R. Rahman’s even tho my companion kept insisting.), weird lyrics, some of choreography was that should have been restricted to bathroom dances and worse thing was that songs popped into the movie when you least expected or wanted needed. (I swear I heard collective audience groans and sigh each time a song appeared.) Some costumes worked beautifully and went a long way in presenting Aishwarya as a delectable candy an alluring woman (tell me again, why we rile against Mallika for her revealing costumes when Aishwarya isn’t beneath wearing the same) who can even tempt a robot, bold colours as fuschia, violet and red popped a lot, and some costumes reminded of the failed cloth experiments Moms have during a fancy dress competitions for their children.
One of songs (Sana Sana) is shot in a beautiful location that I refused to believe existed on earth – it seemed like an only desert in this world to be blessed with a beautiful blue lake. (The location is real by the way. I need to google.) And a beach. Only Aishwarya was dancing there in a lime green sari and Rajni was at guitars – something about that image didn’t work. That brings me to my biggest grouse – Lead pair chemistry or lack of it. Call me iconoclast – but it was hard to swallow Rajni serenading Aishwarya. (Oh, no, I am no Aishwarya fan). Butter on a charred toast, to put it mildly. Thank God they never kissed.
That said, Rajni acts – not once, not twice but many times over as the robots. More than his role as the scientist, it was his performance as Robo Chitti who stole the show. Charismatic. Stylish. Lives up to the hype. Almost. Other than Hum (which now I don’t remember) and Bulandi (a Hindi movie with Anil Kapoor as lead), this is probably the first time in my adult life I am watching a Rajnikanth movie. I haven’t seen any of his Tamil movies, but decided to watch Robot out of curiosity – what maketh Rajni. All I know of Rajni is through those youtube videos of him performing those mindboggling, science-defying acts. This movie was quite different in that aspect as acts were more of ‘robotics’, aided by fantastic CGI imagery. Stan Winston studios – an Academy award winners who have worked on Predator, Jurassic Park, Aliens and more recently Avatar- were roped in to create CGs. And why not, the director Shankar could afford it with a whopping budget of 180 crores.
Movie has action scenes galore – but two stand out clearly in my mind. One, in a running train and mostly it made sense since it had a purpose. Second, during the climax, mind-bending, neat formations of a mammoth robotic army – spheres, jaws, serpents, wall and what not – pure delight. (My cynic self refuses to believe this was an original imagination but my friend insists that he has seen nothing like it before. If you know a movie, where this can be ‘inspired’ from, please let me know.)
Again, I forgot Aishwarya. She is perfectly cast as an eye candy robotic in this movie that revolves around robots. (For some of you northies who worried :p, Relax she is as petite as ever, no weight put on like other South Indian actresses.)
Rating: 2/5 (That is generous. All for Chitti.)
Notes, possible spoilers:
Is it just me who finds something wrong with the term ‘Toy Friend’ Aishwarya uses for Chitti, the Robot.
Chitti’s antics and misses in the first part are delightful – perhaps one of the few redeeming things of the movie.
Robot and mosquitoes talk – how silly.
The first person to misuse the robot in the movie is none other than the leading lady Aishwarya – she cheats in her exam. Lame and cliché at the same time.
Why Machu Picchu and Incas in the song – there some costumes worked and some arrgh. Aishwarya looked like a vain peacock strutting about. No, I mean the dress and the choreography.
All that action in second half seemed senseless, bereft of reasonable purpose, a robot fighting for his love for a woman.
Robo sapiens – child borne of robot and human if that is even possible – left such a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe idea was just that.
Interesting that a robot thought that all the things that a woman needs is jewellery, clothes and perfumes. Wait, he forgot to steal the diamonds for her. And shoes. Oh, nitpicking, aren’t we. What else may a woman want.
Glitches, too many glitches in the story that claims to be a ‘sci fi’ flick. Oh, well, did I hear you say, who goes to Rajni movies for that. So, I won’t bother. Find out yourself. Or, maybe get yourself a copy of Blaft anthology of Tamil pulp fiction – you will get the feel of the story.
Danny was the handsomest man in the movie. There, it has been said. Let the trolls come.