Enthiran – Uncharted territory…by Venkat

The customary slow and steady build-up climaxing into the entry of the Superstar is consciously absent. The foot tapping number, at the beginning or end of which a punch line setting the tone for the movie is uttered, to an explosion of whistles and lighting of camphor’s, is curiously missing. The throng of devotees, who have been patiently waiting for hours on end, do not get to witness the inimitable twirling of the sun-glasses throughout the movie. Well their God does not even give them a single trademark salute which has been mimicked a billion times all over the world.

Instead, Rajini is introduced in a most inconspicuous manner. Arguably this introduction would well qualify to be the most ever low key entry made by the legend since he attained literal stardom. He appears on the screen with a sudden and almost undesirable abruptness! He is immersed in a laboratory working on a seemingly important project. It is at this point in time that the confused and unsuspecting viewer realises that there are two dimensions to the movie, Rajini the human being and Rajini the Robot.

Rajini the human being

The movie marks a bold departure from the traditional, a course that veers away from the conventional. Bereft of a rags-to-riches story that was the hall mark of either a Padayappa or an Annamalai, completely devoid of a typical Rajini punch line that took Baasha to such soaring heights as never scaled by a Tamil Cinema, Endhiran comes across during the initial few minutes as a seemingly un-Rajini like movie. That is till such time the robots take the stage. Yes! You read it right – robots and not just “a” robot as the title would seem to indicate. The human Rajini, Dr. Vasikaran, turns to be just that – human after all. The Rajini that enthralled his undying and adoring fans time after time is in this new Avatar of his a bundle of emotions. He displays all the frailties that are the hallmark of every ordinary individual, but hitherto considered to be an anathema to his immortal image. His nerves are frayed, he has an inappropriate temper, and he does not even flex a single muscle let alone produce a miniature cyclone with a twirl of his leg a la Chandramukhi! He reluctantly shakes his leg to a beat or two with Aishwarya Rai, his fiancé and a medical student. He portrays a character intense on completing his dream research in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics with a view to inducting into the Indian army a robot that is capable of not only exterminating the enemy but also minimising the loss of life of its own country-men. During the course of this endeavour, Dr. Vasi faces many an obstacle, both mechanical as well as manmade which combine together to exasperate him to such an extent that he is simply rendered powerless and incapable. This is a side of Rajini that his hard core fans have never seen before and would never ever have expected to see even in their wildest dreams.

Enter the Robot – Version 1.0

Whatever the human being fails to deliver, the robots compensate and by God how!!! Chitti the creation of Dr. Vasi is a state-of-the-art wonder, which or rather who is fire resistant, water proof, non corrosive and a complete self contained work of sophistry. He has the ability to understand and converse in 32 languages, read and scan through medical books and telephone directories within a matter of seconds and also has the uncanny ability to sing, dance and jive. He is also an expert in every possible martial art form that has been invented. The only thing that renders him incomplete is the utter lack of human emotions. He can perceive neither pleasure, not pain and understands neither shame nor sorrow. Rajini essays this role with wonderful ease and phenomenal fluidity. Whether it be bashing up the baddies inside the confines of a train or performing a complicated operation inside the labour ward in a hospital, he exudes confidence and courage. The role requires the genius to be a mechanical wonder and he delivers to the hilt! He is all grace personified but at the same time, emotionless. He is hero incarnate but oblivious to adulation or appreciation. He is loyal to his master, the scientist and unwavering in his commitment to him. He is humorous without going overboard and he is witty whilst being spontaneous. He portrays an innocence which makes even a machine look endearing. But the robot also has its own mechanical waterloo which is, mixing up the commands or directing him to do a task in a wayward or haphazard manner. This is precisely what happens during the course of his evaluation when the evil Danny Denzongpa muddles his motor powered neurons and he is refused an induction into the Indian army. It is time for the machine to be transformed into a man. Dr. Vasikaran after a Herculean effort finally succeeds in implanting emotions into Chitti!! And ladies and gentlemen, please welcome what debatably must be the most appreciated Desi version of the “FRANKENSTEIN”

Enter the Robot – Version 2.0

This is undoubtedly the highlight of the movie. Without sharing any details, suffice it to say that Rajini, the master, the craftsman, the artist takes this role to unbelievable heights. Not since Moonru Mudichu has the God of Tamil Cinema manifested such evil. As the shades of grey resonate, reverberate and finally radiate within Chitti in proportions that are phenomenally monstrous, it is vintage Rajini all the way!! The hideous laughter and the sarcastic taunts delivered in a style that is singularly “Rajinisque” takes the viewer on to a different auditory and visual plane altogether. Every evil act of his is cheered and the fans egg him on his monstrous mission. As Dr.Vasi’s creation metamorphoses into a force of destruction, the law and order can only bear to watch and take in casualties. The deadly robot slithers, leaps, roars, fires, and also dances to the title track with two enormous robotic dogs for company!!!

As a docile and scintillating human brain comes face to face with a majestic force of evil, it has to be a fight to the finish!!! Rajini Vs Rajini is a colossal and epic moment in the history of the Indian silver screen. The climax of the movie is certainly the best ace that Sankar has had till now up his sleeve (at least till such time he comes up with another Rajini release!). Technology impresses while at the same time not looking visually appalling.

Others

While Aishwarya Rai as Sana, the medical student is her natural gorgeous self, her camaraderie with Chitti is one of the highlights of the movie. There is a good and natural Chemistry between Dr. Vasi and Sana and the pair seems to be at home contrary to the apprehensions of many doubting Thomases, given the age difference between them.

Danny as Dr. Bohra is a refined thug making deals with shady terror outfits, whilst at the same time being envious of his student Dr. Vasi’s success with developing Chitti. As the head of the Artificial Intelligence Research Unit, he tries his level best to act as a spoke in the wheel of Dr. Vasi’s endeavours. He could have been given a more meatier role.

Santhanam and Karunas as cronies of Dr. Vasi are completely wasted. Their humour is ill timed and amateurish, and their supposedly comic acts, a complete eye-sore.

A.R.Rahman flatters to deceive. While he has pulled a rabbit out of a hat with the brilliant “Endhiran” title track and the catchy “Kilimanjaro”, the rest of the songs are a bit jarring. Maybe he thought the music also ought to be robotic and “Chitti-like”

Verdict

To reiterate, this is a completely different Rajini movie. If one goes expecting a Muthu kind of a melodrama or an Arunachalam kind of good taking on a collective set of evil, then one needs to be warned. Endhiran is a trend-setter, or even a welcome aberration in the long list of staple Rajinikanth movies.

Endhiran is a war between imperfect contradictions:

  • A fragile collection of human emotions Vs A cold, calculating and remorseless ambition;
  • Undying love for the man of one’s dreams Vs A unique and unfeeling friendship for a mechanical wonder;
  • A need to empower the society and a nation Vs Ending up creating an apparatus of destruction unwittingly

Finally Endhiran is all about the actor with the greatest fan following in the world. It is the new story of Rajinikanth. The movie is directed in such a manner that even in spite of devoting fair screen space to all the actors involved in the making of the movie, the one that is noticed and one whose imagery lasts and lingers long after the lights have been turned on is that of the Superstar. He is fearless and yet scared, he is funny, yet chillingly evil. He is lovable and yet frightening. He is confident yet apprehensive. He is the scientist yet the very force of destruction. He is the Creator, the Protector and the Destroyer. He is Endhiran.

To describe the movie in one word would be say – “Endhiran – RAJINI”

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8 Responses to “Enthiran – Uncharted territory…by Venkat”

  1. Venkat – Thanks for this sensational review. Enthiran seems to be the movie of the decade and the real hero appears to be Shankar. I wait to catch it and I wait rather impatiently.

  2. I was totally surprised in this movie.
    I am so happy that this movie finally landed in hands of Rajni. No one else could have done this movie.
    Hats off to the evergreen star.

    Last but not the least – Loved reading the review. 🙂
    Hope the author reads my comments 🙂

  3. Thanks Ameen. Venkat should read it I am sure. I think this movie was first meant for Kamal, but he dropped out of it. Tough call now that this movie is over and done with, but I think Kamal may have been stunning too.

  4. why_so_serious Says:

    There are only two actors who could have done this film: Kamal and Rajini. Saarugh khan-lam nadichu irundha kandravi-ya irukkum..

  5. @Venkat Thnaks for your review.
    I watch Robot on Sunday. “Robot” Truly Amazing film.
    Thanks @Sharmila for sharing the post.

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