The Superstar is back! Endhiran is 2hrs and 35 minutes of pure entertainment – exactly the way a Rajnikanth film should be. It’s not flawless, nor is it a production of cinematic brilliance, but neither of these are things you should expect from a Rajinikanth film. His films are designed to entertain the audience using whatever means possible, and director Shankar has succeeded in doing this.
I have to admit I was a little disappointed that Superstar Rajni’s introduction was nowhere near as dramatic and exciting as we’ve come to expect, but I soon got over it – watching Chitti come to life and begin to socialise was really enjoyable! The dialogues from Santhanam and Karunas are weak; it is the choppy dialogues from Chitti that provides the real comedy in “Endhiran” (for example, "Enna, nakkal-a?"/"Illa, nickel"). The main focus of the plot is about what would happen if a robot was programmed to understand and feel emotions (“I, Robot” anyone?), and the concept was handled well, despite some rather far-fetched circumstances – such as hunting down a mosquito to extract an apology. But then again, what is a Rajni film without a few illogical and surreal scenes?
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan looks positively radiant on screen – she seems far more comfortable in this role when compared to Raavanan. Rajnikanth’s acting is as usual, sharp and sophisticated, and he looks and acts a good three decades younger than he actually is (he’s 61!). His delivery of dialogues is a joy to watch, especially when you see the contrast between Dr. Vaseegaran (Rajni’s human role) and Chitti; he aptly sounds monotonic and emotionless as a robot, even when the robot is "experiencing" feelings. It’s been a while since he has played a negative role, but in his brief stint as “Bad Chitti” in this film, he does a good job (albeit a little strange, especially when he bleats like a sheep while describing a black sheep in their midst…). While the plot does drag in places, it is important to keep in mind at all times that this is purely a film to showcase the Superstar from as many angles as possible; hero/villain, lover/scientist, human/robot, and Shankar’s direction has ensured the nobody steals the limelight from Rajnikanth.
The background music is disappointing in places. In one action scene, we are subjected to listening to counting from 1 till 2 in 0.1 gradations. Repeatedly. That being said however, it’s hard to pay much attention to the music when the screen is constantly filled with vivid colours, amazing stunts and of course, Rajnikanth himself! The main songs have been filmed extremely well. I particularly liked Kilimanjaro, which has been shot in Peru, atop Machu Picchu. The costumes seem a little bizarre, but they effectively incorporate the futuristic with the glamorous, ensuring that it is all in keeping with the sci-fi theme.
The second half is far better than the first, as the plot picks up pace and we are treated to a wealth of amazing digital animation and incredible special effects. The graphics are really impressive, particularly in the climax scene – almost on par with Hollywood standards. Though, with an international team consisting of some of the top visual effects specialists and stunt co-ordinators, and a budget that exceeds all other Indian films by a long shot, nothing less can be expected. Now it’ll be interesting to see how other films fare in comparison, as Enthiran has raised the bar high in terms of visual effects.
All in all, “Enthiran” is a through-and-through entertainer, which has set a new (and very high) standard for Tamil films, especially in terms of stunts, digital effects and conception. Go in expecting a storyline that flows impeccably and makes perfect sense, and you will be disappointed. But it is filled with all the ingredients required for any Superstar film; masala, melodrama and madness, just the way we like it! 3.5/5.
Kavya Rajagopalan (c) thamarai.com