Making a Sci-Fi movie in India is difficult. It is not something for which we have references from the past from our own industry. When director Shankar conceptualized Endhiran (Robot) in 2000 with Kamal Hassan in mind, he had to drop the plans due to lack of funds for a movie of such scale. The reason behind not many movies of this genre gracing Indian screens. The scenario in the recent times has changed a lot. Hindi movies aka Bollywood has always enjoyed more money than the other industries in India owing to their popularity and reach. So when Ra.one was announced my expectation was automatically raised.
When Endhiran came in 2010 (a year before Ra.One) people had nothing to compare it with in the Indian film history. Obviously it is a beaten to death genre in Hollywood where countless such movies are made and are way ahead from what Shankar and Anubhav Sinha could offer. Endhiran had its flaws but was entertaining. The movie had an experienced director at its helm and one of the greatest entertainers in Indian cinema playing the lead. The movie was a super hit and was loved by all (Well mostly). Endhiran had an advantage which Ra.One did not, it was the first movie of its type to grace the Indian screens and did not have too many Indian movies to be compared with (Even though in 2002 Upendra had already made a movie in similar theme).
Ra.One had a lot to live up to. It had to be better than Endhiran in every department. It was being made at a larger scale; it was being made in 3D and had one of the biggest superstars in Indian cinema starring in it. The movie released with lots of hype and Shahrukh went out of the way in promoting Ra.One. When I watched the movie I had lots of expectation. The concept of the move was interesting but the execution was amateurish. The special effect was obviously great but the story and screen play lacked substance. Shahrukh’s act as a Tamilian also was also in bad taste, I am not sure how many years Bollywood is going to stick with Mahmood’ s version of Tamilian from the 70’s. It’s boring and it is kind of irritating to say the least.
When Shahrukh went to Chennai to promote the movie I actually thought that his Shekhar Subramaniam might be different than the normal Tamil caricature Bollywood movies have but it was not to be. That was only a part of the issue with the movie as thankfully Shekhar dies within 30 minutes into the movie. The Game (Ra.One) used as the premise to move the movie forward made no sense. I will be surprised if anyone in their right mind would buy such a game. Starting from the presentation at the start of the movie in a UK gaming company which was surprisingly in Hindi with a host of English people in the crowd, the movie had gaping holes which was hard to look past.
The Ra.One game was the most mysterious one as if either of the characters can only be killed in the third level why have the first two levels at all? Why was there a Ra.One suit at all when no one can play as him? If the either of the characters can only be killed with their HART’s on, then why Ra.One (The bad one) went searching for it in India when it could be killed having it? There are lots of questions which arose while watching the movie. The only silver lining was obviously the “Chammak Challo” song, but again not sure which kids birthday party will have skimpily clad women dancing. Shahrukh obviously put his heart and soul in to this movie and was sure one of the positives to come out of the movie.
But overall the movie was a great disappointment. With such a grand budget at hand the director/writer could have spent some time in writing a better script. I would like to laud Shahrukh for attempting such a movie but for sure could have chosen a better script and probably a better director to execute it on the screen. The movie might have run on the hype but for sure was way below par on content. Shahrukh has Don 2 coming this weekend and I sincerely hope that it is better than Ra.One. This time at the helm is Farhan Akthar who is for sure a director of better pedigree than Anubhav Sinha and I am sure that this will turn out to be a better outing for the superstar.
Super Star Rajinikanth gives one of the most compelling performances in the recent times in Endhiran/Robot
I was able to catch Super Stars Endhiran over the weekend and it was a mind blowing experience. It was fantastic that the movie release in the city I reside as not many Tamil movies make their way to the theatres here. We were anyways prepared to drive couple of hours to watch the movie in Chicago if need be. We reached the theatre about 30 minutes prior to the screening and once we entered the movie hall realized that we were about 20 minutes too late as all the seats were already taken.
We were left with only the front row but fortunately just before the movie began we were able to grab couple of seats in the second row. Thank god for that as the first row seats would have left me and my wife with terrible neck pain. So after that was sorted out, the movie began to a full house with the fans screaming when Thalaivar’s name appeared on the screen. The movie was surrounded with great hype as it was touted as the most expensive movie in India and also brought together Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai for the first time on Silver Screen.
The movie totally lived up to its billing and we had a blast watching the same. Our Thalaivar’s performance as the scientist and the “Robot” Chitti was fantastic and the visual effects were stunning to say the least. After a long time Rajini was able to play a character with negative shades in a movie and his performance was simply amazing at that. Aishwarya Rai did her part well and so did the rest of the cast but this movie was all about Rajini and Shankar. Even the Oscar winner A R Rahman had to take a back seat.
First of all Shankar has to be appreciated for attempting something of such a magnitude and for making it work big time. It’s all good to have lots of money to play with but to make it work is completely a different thing. Shankar has achieved the same with flying colors. The last 20-25 minutes of the movie left us all speechless with the special effects. Shankar has definitely pushed the bar as far as Indian movies go. I am not sure if anyone can ever surpass the extravaganza that is Endhiran/Robot.
Well this piece will not be complete without a word on the brilliant performance by Rajinikanth. It takes a huge courage for a super star like Rajini to act in a movie which has the script and the director at the helm. At no point in the movie did you feel that this was a Rajini movie. After a long time we saw Rajini the actor take over Rajini the super star. Rajini for sure has earned himself more fans through this movie. His performance as the Robot was special and his subdued performance as the scientist suited the character brilliantly. All in all brilliant movie and will be a milestone in Super Star’s already glittering career. As the Super Star himself said at the audio launch, “Endhiran is not a movie but a cinematic experience”.
I am not sure how Shankar or Rajinikanth are ever going to surpass this in the future. People are going to expect a huge deal from the director in his future projects and I am not sure how he is going to beat this success. Sivaji was big but Endhiran is bigger and for sure is going to smash all box office records across India. Leaving all the minor negatives aside, this is one Indian movie to be proud of. The criticism that the movie is tad long and is inspired from many Hollywood flicks is something I don’t agree with. Every director while making movies in such a magnitude goes overboard sometimes which is acceptable.
Every ambitious movie made around the world can be accused of being a tad long and there are always few scenes which could have been done without. As far as the claims about the movie lacking logic, it does not hold water in a Sci-Fi fantasy flicks. What can be logical about a movie which begins as an imagination in the first place? What was logical about a matrix or an Avatar for that matter? When you start a movie as a fantasy the directors imagination takes over and his creative instinct drive the movie, so the sudden requirement of logic in a Sci-Fi movie is laughable to say the least.
The there are the claims that we have seen it all in the Hollywood movies already is something again should not be held against the director. Hollywood has been making Sci-Fi genre for over 40 years now, so any movie made in that genre is for sure going to resemble one of them. That should not take away anything from Shankar for making one of the best movies technically from India. Just compare this with other Indian movies and tell me how many directors have ever thought of attempting anything even remotely close? The movie is a brilliant attempt and needs to be encouraged for the excellent vision of the director and for the compelling performance from our own superstar.
Finally the long awaited Endhiran audio release took place in a grand manner in Malaysia yesterday. Lots of prominent Kollywood stars graced the occasion and the most important part of the evening was that the official Endhiran trailer was screened at the function. The trailer was breathtaking and the visuals in the trailers were amazing. Aishwarya Rai Bachan and Rajini combo was looking cool on screen. Aishwarya was looking much better than in Ravana/Ravanan.
It seems like a movie which will be different to the other Rajini movies and I am very much looking forward to its release. Our Super Star as the scientist was rocking and looks very young. Good news for us fans is that the movie will grace the theaters in September. I am sure that this movie will be a major hit and will be another feather in the cap of Rajini/Shankar/Rahman combination.