Thursday, September 30, 2010

Endhiran: Movie Review!

As a kid I was mad about Rajini. God knows what I liked about him, but I used to be a die-hard fan.
20 years later, after DAV, PSG and IIMB, I am still the same. If only more in awe of the man for his reach across A, B and C centres.
Literally couldn’t focus on work at office the whole day! All my thoughts were about this movie that I had booked tickets for. With the added excitement that I had no feelers about how good the movie was (except that lone indiaglitz article that I did not really trust). And the additional excitement that I would be helping to form public opinion on something for the first ever time in the history of my blog :P Ulaga laptop-galil mudhal muraiyaaga....
As I type this, am just settling down after all the euphoria.
The movie was brilliant stuff.
Of the kind never seen before in Tamil film history.
It sure takes production standards to a totally different plane!!
Frankly, after Sivaji, I was quite ‘worried’ about Endhiran. I did like watching Sivaji, but somehow I felt it lacked a certain something that defines any Rajini/Shankar movie. Was quite disappointed. And I couldn’t bring myself to believe that this was going to be better. I knew this would be entertaining; but would it be a movie that I would like to watch in 2025? Or would I still have to stick to Baasha to up the spirits? THAT was my concern.
Now, having watched Endhiran, I should agree am a trifle disappointed. No typical Thalaivar stuff. No entry song. No ‘mass’ signature tune. No punch dialogs. And an extremely simple opening scene (I had a more gethu opening scene in my marriage video)!! In fact, the audience was largely silent through out the movie. None of the euphoria one would expect from Tamil-movie-hungry audiences getting to watch a thalaivar padam FDFS in faraway land. In fact, the whole mass of people moved out in silence after the movie.
But I just loved the movie.
This was a great Shankar film; not so much a Rajini one. After the movie spoof that was Sivaji, this was like the good ol’ days – a usual Shankar movie with all the right ingredients. (Maybe lot lesser comedy than is conventional, but it still makes the cut). Welcome back, Shankar!
Any review is supposed to have spoilers in the form of a story brief. Here goes:
Dr Vaseegaran (Chandran Rajini) creates Chitti robot (Indiran Rajini) – the most human adro humanoid ever made. His aim is to get the army to use the robot to avoid human losses in war. In an attempt to make Chitti understand the importance of human life, Vaseegaran injects peelings into the robot, who then promptly falls for Vaseegaran’s daavu (Aish). Soon comes by evil Doctor who injects powers of destruction into Chitti and refurbishes him into Chitti v2.0. Then comes the standoff between Vaseegaran and the immensely powerful robot he himself unleashed on the world. Who wins in the end and how, forms the rest of the story.
End of Spoiler.
I generally am not a big fan of Aishwarya Rai. I never find her gelling with the character she dons. She ALWAYS appears like Aishwarya Rai the beauty queen who endorses numerous products like Pepsi, Nakshatra and Abhishek Bachchan. She always seems to carry around a halo that says “Ok, am supposed to be stuck with ruffians in the middle of nowhere, up some mountain that has a geographical identity crisis, but I have none; I know am THE Aishwarya Rai. You may go.” In this context, I always felt hurt and couldn’t understand why Thalaivar was hell bent on casting her in his movies. Especially when she has always spurned his offers.
(My theory is that this is Thalaivar’s way of putting an end to the age old ‘Amitabh Vs Rajini’ argument.
Amitabh: Mere paas North hai. East hai. West hai. Central hai. IIFA hai. Blog hai. Tere paas kya hai?
Rajini: Aishwarya Rai ke saath movie hai. Hey hey he he he. You can never hope for that now)
Anyway, I digress. The fact of the matter is, I hate Aish.
But I have to admit, she was just perfect for this role. Had any other heroine been cast in a character that is supposed to make a robot fall in love, it would have been hard to believe. For once, I give her some credit. Also, she looks sizzling hot in some songs.
Don’t have much to say about the music – didn’t really notice it in the movie, but the songs were all great and picturized well. ‘Kilimanjaro’ was top-class for the location, music and costumes. Would like to watch it on the big screen again!
As the scenes unravelled one after the other and one realized that this was a full-blooded sci-fi in Tamil, one realizes how Sujatha must have added strength with his presence in the team. We do not know how much he has exactly contributed to the movie, but I feel this is a great farewell movie for him. Typical Sujatha stuff.
And I just adored the stunts! Especially the ones in the first half with Chitti v1.0. Am sure the stunts were performed by Peter Hein and Rajini’s face was morphed in. But I care a damn. It sure looked good. And credible too, as it was Chitti and not Vaseegaran who was performing them. Good stuff!
These days it’s become fashionable to hail movies for the production cost. Every now and then some movie comes up, that’s supposed to be the most expensive movie made in this side of the planet. When Endhiran was credited to be that, I didn’t really give it a thought initially. But now I agree. The money and effort showed on the screen. And for once it didn’t seem like superfluous spending.
Graphics itself would have cost fortunes. Am sure the quality of CG in the movie was comparable to any recent Hollywood fare. Of course there were a couple of ‘Aayirathil Oruvan’ style comedy cartoons too. But they were just that – a couple. The rest were all incredibly credible and life like. Hats off for the effort!
Mattha ellaattha patthiyum paesiten. Now moving to the point.
Pinnittaaru. Pattaya kelappittaaru.
The thing with Rajini is, he may never give a Kamal-like performance where his histrionics set the screen on fire. But he is an amazzzzzzing actor all the same. All the hype about his style makes one overlook his acting skills.
But everyone will take note, in this movie.
He more than adequately differentiates between Vaseegaran and Chitti v1.0.
And Chitti v2.0 was terrifyingly terrific!!!! Seemed like an encore of Vettaya Raja. Ennaaaa oru villaththanam! My most favourite role in the movie is Chitti v2.0 for the pure ‘Rajini’ness. Awesome stuff. Sometimes I feel Rajini’s Superstar image has taken away an excellent villain from the industry.
Chitti v1.0 was likeable. When I saw the promos, I thought he looked like a uricha kozhi (much like I do now). But as the movie unfurled, one starts liking the way Chitti looks. Young and refreshing. And he does ‘feel’ different too – an evidence of Rajini’s subtle but excellent acting skills. And it was good to watch him do all those stunts and perform those dances. The graphics was wonderful - didn't feel artificial at all (largely).
Vaseegaran was fine as well. But nothing much to say about the character. Usual stuff.
But the icing on the cake was the pleasure of watching 100s of Rajinis fill the screen in the second half, led by Chitti v2.0. 7 pounds worth for sure!
In all, Rajini bears a movie on his shoulders, yet again.
Bottom line: Superb Shankar movie. Interesting story line. International class Indian movie. Chandramukhi kinda character for Rajini – less of style and more of content initially, and a negative shade towards the end.

----- UPDATE -----
Watched the movie a second time on day 2 :) Some notes:
- There are a couple of signature tunes in the movie.. for the two chitti versions..
- There is a wee bit of mass entry for both the chittis.. Not usual thalaivar level.. but something at least..
- Chitti v2.0 was all the more exciting in the second run, cos I knew what was coming.. So right from his entry, it was andrenalin-pumping..
- Most favo scene from the movie: the black sheep scene!!! Terrorrrr!!
- Chitti v2.0's laugh has to be seen to be believed. Nakkalaana oru kodoora kaara sirippu..
- Arima Arima rocked on the screen.. Wasnt a big fan of the song before watchin the movie.. But on screen Rajini adds so much power to the song.. And ARR's music fits the situation like a glove!
- Didnt realize Arima Arima was sung by Hariharan!! Superb effort..
- For the first time in decades, the 'SUPER STAR RAJNI' graphics had poor background music :( :( Feeling let down by ARR!!
- Dialogs sparkle in many places.. "Unakku unarvugal oru arivaa than kodukka patturukku".. Whattay!