Where do I begin with this film? The amount of hype it has created must surely have never been seen before. From the casting changes to the accusation of plagiarism, director Shankar has been through a lot to start and finish his dream project. After 7 years of development, 2 years of production, touted as the biggest film released in Asia on a whopping 180cr budget, Endhiran/Robot is finally here. And How!
Let’s begin with the story. What if a man-made android, a robot that has the knowledge of all arts, sciences and technologies, was given the capacity to feel human emotion? To feel love, happiness, anguish, jealousy and betrayal? How would this affect his existence and that of those around him? Harbouring the desire to reduce loss of human life on the battlefield, Dr. Vaseegaran (Rajnikanth) spends every moment for 10 years to build a super-intelligent android robot, christened as Chitti (Rajnikanth again). Giving him his own face and the strength and knowledge of 1000 men, Dr. Vaseegaran neglects all around him, including his ladylove Sana (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), to make it his aim a reality. That is the aim of getting an A.I.R.D (Associates for International Resources and Development) certified approval to send Chitti into the Indian Armed Forces. But to get this he needs to go through Dr. Bohra (Danny Denzongpa), his guru whom holds grudge against Vaseegaran for surpassing him and a crucial member of the committee. For Bohra, the android is his ticket to the millions a terrorist organisation has promised that he is not able to replicate it himself. Stuck between a rock (rejection from the A.I.R.D. committee, thanks to Bohra) and a hard place (Chitti’s inefficiency to understand the value of life) Vaseegaran gives Chitti a heart, so to speak, to feel and understand emotions. But this heart falls for Sana. What begins follows is a battle fuelled by love, jealousy and betrayal.
This movie was and is all about Rajnikanth. The actor has shown that at 60+, he has the capability and charisma that puts him above the competition. Without the usual punch dialogue or title track with advise with 20 dancers, he is sophisticated and intelligent yet flawed as Dr. Vaseegaran, innocent and lovable as Chitti, both before and after his emotional upgrade, and menacing as Chitti v.2. Having proven several times before his flair for comedy, Shankar has flaunted it in abundance. A complete delight to watch, Rajnikanth puts on an amazing performance. As Sana, Aishwarya plays a good natured medical student that is caught between a Man vs. Machine battle for her love. She looks ravishing but acting? Well, she laughs, she pouts, gets angry, and dances beautifully but does come across as OTT on more than one occasion. As one of the few films that overshadow her star value, one can’t help but feel she is relegated to third fiddle after the two Superstars even though she is a central character. Unfortunately for Danny, even with his good track record, his character is not detailed enough to require him to do much. He is just about sufficient as the jealous mentor. This also applies to the rest supporting cast.
It would be wrong not to mention the CG work (Stan Winston Studio who did animatronics technology for Avatar and Terminator) on this film. This will surely blow your mind. Many will agree that previous attempts have seemed like cheap rip-off from Hollywood flicks but this one is truly a milestone. The penultimate 25 minute sequence depicted briefly in the trailers is a true testament to it. Visually captivating, the effort and money behind each scene is evident.
Where does such an enormous film falter? Its length and music. Even while the proceedings have you sucked in, it is evident the writing (Shankar, Sujatha Rangarajan and Karky Vairamuthu) falters when trying to create chemistry between Vaseegaran and Sana. The same situation occurs again when Chitti v.2 comes back on the scene. A good 15-minute snip would have worked to keep the audience engaged. Having said this, the proceedings does retain in tune with each characters’ state of mind. A.R.Rahman has somehow missed the mark on this one. The songs individually work well but with the screenplay, act more like speed breakers.
The verdict? Forget logic, even Newton’s law doesn’t exist here. But that doesn’t matter as it still entertain, and for all the Rajnikanth fans, it’s a chance to see the actor in his classic villain act that he was once famous for.