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by : Behindwoods review board
Aishwarya Rai, Karunas, Santhanam.
a bevy of machine guns in hand; all triggers
locked, Superstar delivers a resounding
‘Happy Diwali folks’. Yes, it was Diwali,
minutes before the start of the first show here in
Chennai with crackers going off in thousands, flowers
flying around and people going delirious with excitement.
This is Diwali; no matter even if the
real one is still a month away, Superstar has arrived!
Well, let us get down to the task. There is nothing
much to reveal about the plot of Endhiran; one supposes.
Thousands of speculations, predictions and of course,
a mad frenzy about the trailer has given a rough idea
about the plot. Endhiran is about Dr. Vaseegaran and
Chitty, his creation- the robot with a 1 Zettabyte
memory and a speed of 1 Terrabyte. From then on it
is a ‘Chitty showcase’, of action, dance,
emotions, fun and frolic. Watch Endhiran for the experience.
The foremost thing about any Superstar film is Superstar
himself. He is the air the film breathes, right from
the first frame. The biggest entertainer that India
has produced, weaves magic on screen; even a nonchalant
saunter on screen makes theatres erupt in celebration.
Watching Endhiran one feels no doubt whatsoever that
no one other than Rajnikanth could have pulled off
this character. It is destiny that brought Endhiran
to Superstar after travelling all through Kollywood
and Bollywood. He delivers a tour de force performance
– he owns the film. Be it as the workaholic
scientist, the obedient Chitty or the destructive
Chitty (‘upgraded version – Chitty 2.0’),
he scores; exuding brilliance and charisma in every
frame. Yes, there are the trademark styles and mannerisms,
but Rajnikanth transcends style and goes one better
with Endhiran. His restraint while playing the scientist,
the frustration that he shows while his scientific
endeavours go wrong, underscore the fact that he is
a brilliant actor who has been bogged down by commercial
demands and compulsions. But, the focal point of the
performance is definitely the robot. Chitty, the innocent
child like robot is cute and loveable and dashing
once romance starts flowing through his veins –
wires. And, it is when the destroyer arrives that
we see the Rajni in all his splendour. There seems
to be absolutely no one who can come even close when
playing a devilish destroyer. The outrageous and maniacal
laugh as he proclaims his invincibility is a masterpiece
– a throwback to the heydays of Rajnikanth the
villain. The decades have not dimmed his brilliance
and charisma one bit. And, the effort he has put into
Endhiran shows in all frames; be it the fights or
dance sequences; the desire to excel still burns bright.
Aishwarya Rai looks ethereal as always. Though it
is a bit difficult to still accept her as a college
student, she delivers when it matters. Not the usual
Shankar heroine (songs and dance only stuff) here,
she is almost the fulcrum of the story.
Scripting wise, Endhiran does have its flaws, which
is a bit disappointing. The first half is a smooth
and jolly ride as the cute Chitty takes centre stage.
A couple of fights set the tone for the fans to go
overboard with excitement, a few lighter moment most
of which are enjoyable and two songs make it a relatively
light hearted affair. Shankar’s ability to write
commercial Tamil cinema elements (hero rescuing damsel
in distress, witty one liners etc.) into a sci-fi
script is commendable. That stops Endhiran from being
a pure sci-fi flick, making it apt for all class audiences.
Beginning of the second half is however not an apt
extrapolation of the expectations raised in the first
half. Though too much does not go wrong, there are
portions which one feels could have been tighter.
Some sequences, especially the ‘Ranguski’
part, are dragged along for more than a reasonable
length. A couple of songs follow each other in quick
succession which dampens things a bit. But, if you
are willing to be patient through these minor glitches,
the rest of the second half is racy, action packed
as all might now, has been the talking point of Endhiran
with world famous visual effects supervisors doing
the job. The sequences have been conceived by Shankar
(as shown in the titles) and do not lack in awe and
magnificence. Be it on the train, on the truck or
the highway – action is taken to a new plane
in Endhiran. As expected, logic does fly out of the
window now and then, but then, what is a Superstar
film if there is no suspension of belief.
expected, technical aspects of Endhiran are top notch.
Special effects are world class (except a few occasions
here and there) as they have been done by the best
in the business, Stan Winston Studios and Industrial
Light and Magic. The sheer effort that has gone into
the CGI work is humungous, be it Rajni running along
the side of a train or doing a Michael Jackson jive;
everything looks as original as it can get. Camera
by Ratnavelu captures what Shankar has envisioned,
and translates it effectively on screen. Make up,
by Banu, is exceptional and has made Superstar look
even more stylish than he usually does. Re-recording
does not look like the work done by an Oscar winner,
especially in the final portions, but still manages
to impress. Rahman’s songs which are already
a rage sit well on the film, adding to the entertainment
quotient. Dialogues by Shankar, Sujatha and Karki
are sharp, using proper technical terminology well
balanced with Tamil lines. Sabu Cyril shows his class
once again, be it with the sophisticated labs or grand
songs. His work stands out in particular in the ‘Irumbile
Oru Idhayam and ‘Arima Arima’ songs. Anthony
is as deft as ever with the scissors, adding to the
tempo of the film.
off to Shankar for the vision and the effort! He has
taken Tamil cinema to a new plane on technical terms,
showing that nothing is impossible. The sets, effects,
sound, style are all amazing and good enough to rub
shoulders with Hollywood counterparts, give or take
a few points. But, the basic story is still a desi
love triangle! That is where Shankar has shown his
skills; making state of the art film merge with our
regional cinema tastes. His genuine desire to take
Indian cinema to greater heights reflects throughout
the movie. But, it is not just Shankar who has this
vision, Superstar too shares it with him. The man
whom we have known for total style and charisma has
shown that he is game for something new that does
not fit in to the conventional Superstar mould. Even
after years of stardom he genuinely wants to bring
in and be part of change that will take Indian cinema
to higher levels.
Endhiran is a ‘robotic, hypnotic, supersonic,
Superstar’ experience, the first of its kind
in Tamil cinema and the only one of its kind for a
long time to come. It is going to take a Herculean
effort to equal or better Endhiran within the confines
of Tamil cinema. Let’s hope the day comes soon.
For now, an ovation to the Endhiran team, Sun Pictures
and Kalanithi Maran for showing faith in Shankar’s
vision and to Hansraj Saxena for masterful execution
of the project. If not for the faith, confidence and
vision of these men, Shankar’s ten year dream
would still have been just a dream.
Indian cinema a favour, watch Endhiran; let a 100
other Shankars feel bold enough to dream.
Verdict: Indian cinema’s pinnacle of
evolution – ‘Robot sapiens’
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