Dedicated to the memory of the late Sujatha Rangarajan whose contribution to Enthiran is immense.
Director Shankar’s much in the news Enthiran finally hit the theatres this weekend and I was one among the curious onlookers on the first day. Curious for various reasons- 1. Shankar’s last film- Sivaji- The Boss had created a mass hysteria in the box office, proving that Shankar + Rajinikanthwas a very lethal combination.2. Also Enthiran was Shankar’s dream project, something which he had conceived nearly a decade ago and so was all the hype justified? 3. How was Shankar going to present the 2 different Rajinikanth’s in the film? 4. With the film receiving such a widespread release (even in the Hindi belt with the dubbed Hindi version) would the strategy work?
The movie begins with Dr.Vaseegaran ( Rajinikanth ), a robotics expert working day & night and finally completing his dream project- Chitti, the android-humanoid robot. Vaseegaran makes Chitti look just like himself as he passes on his way of speech & mannerisms too. The aim is to make Chitti an effective agent of use for the Indian Army. So immersed is Vaseegaran in his work that he even ignores all the calls , messages & even visits of his girlfriend, Sana ( Aishwarya Rai ), a Medical student.Vaseegaran unveils Chitti at an International Robotics Conference and that’s where Dr.Bohra (Danny Denzongpa ), Vaseegaran’s mentor and the head of AIRD ( Artificial Intelligence Research & Development ) also sets his eyes on Chitti. While the whole world goes gaga over Chitti, Dr.Bohra feels extremely jealous that his protégé Vaseegaran has made such a wonderful robot, as his own attempts at creating a similar robot hasn’t yet yielded the same result. We then see Chitti going through a lot of experiences (some of them humorous) as Vaseegaran wants him to get a slice of living with the humans before sending him for trial with the AIRD.
Later during the trial for approval at AIRD Chitti is rejected by Dr.Bohra as he feels that Chitti can be a danger since it has no emotions and can thus be misused. Not wanting to give up on his labour of love, Vaseegaran strives hard to instil the required emotions in Chitti. And as Dr.Bohra says at the interval point- “inimey than kadhaye aarambam” ( the story begins only now ). The rest of the movie shows Chitti discovering a whole host of emotions and in the process moving away from his creator, Vaseegaran.
For those expecting standard Rajinikanth prop’s like an opening song, punch dialogues, the hero doing superhuman stunts etc- there could be some disappointment as Enthiran has none of all this. But Shankar ensures that you still feel entertained nevertheless. It is Chitti the robot who takes the cake as there are two separate dimensions to him that are shown with a lot of contrast interestingly. The SFX work is top notch and the last 20 odd minutes in particular is the highlight of the film as Rajinikanth takes on so many larger than life avatars which need to be seen to be believed.
The camera work of Rathnavelu is top notch be it in the song sequences like ‘Kadhal Anukkal’ or ‘Kilimanjaro’ (which are shot in exotic never before seen locales) or even in the interior shots. Sabu Cyril’s art design is brilliant be it the scientist laboratories of Vaseegaran and Bohra or the AIRD campus. SFX work is even seen wonderfully in the songs like ‘ Irumbile Oru Irudhayam’ and ‘ Arima Arima’ ( the song though comes as a speed breaker in the film ).
Talking of performances, Santhanam and Karunas do not really add any value and their attempts at comedy fall flat. Danny Denzongpa is very effective as Dr.Bohra, but one really wishes there was more for the character in the movie. Aishwarya looks pretty and nothing more to say about her, though she does have a presence throughout the movie. Which brings me to Rajnikanth, the life of the movie. Well Enthiran is another example of the charisma of the superstar being brought into the forefront. As Chitti in particular Rajinikanth carries off the dual shades very well indeed. It’s been ages since we’ve seen Rajinikanth in a role with negative shades and when Chitti walks in front of the mirror & strikes a pose, before giving aloud an evil laugh, you are transported back to an earlier era. In some ways you get to see vintage Rajinikanth (like Alex Pandian in Moonru Mugam) and also the actor in him whom we rarely see these days ( especially after Baasha ). A.R.Rahman’s music is very good (especially the songs mentioned already ) but in all it is certainly Shankar’s victory as he has almost clearly achieved what looked pretty difficult.
Trying to keep Rajini restrained at times and yet giving him scope to explode at the right time, requires a very delicate balance in terms of the screenplay and direction. That’s why it is as much Shankar’s victory as it is Rajnikanth’s. So all said and done Enthiran is a special effects extravaganza that works along with the charisma of the man called Rajinikanth.
Note- Originally written after the release of Enthiran,this is a re-edited post on the occasion of Rajinikanth’s birthday 🙂