Enthiran proves two things – there is no filmmaker quite like Shankar and no actor like Rajinikanth! The film is as good an amalgamation of science fiction and the Tamil Masala film as can be. Big, simplistic, inane, jaw dropping, idiotic, spectacular, tacky, funny, corny, thrilling, rousing, gob-smacking – it is all of these put together making for quite a fun ride.
That said, the film is more about executing Shankar’s wild and enormous set pieces and of course, Rajinikanth and little else. The story is a simple, predictable and none too imaginative skeleton to go totally wild on. And once he has the basic blueprint in place, Shankar dares to execute each item as ostentatiously and audaciously as only he can – be it the standard saving the damsel in distress from rape (by having the robot run on the side of the train and enter her compartment!) or leaping about in the fire rescue sequence or even picturising a song amongst the Machu Picchu ruins in Peru.
For what it’s worth, the plot of the film looks at scientist Dr Vaseegaran (Rajinikanth), who creates a robot with artificial intelligence and names it as Chitti (Rajinikanth again). The robot falls in love with Sana (Aishwarya Rai), his creator’s girlfriend, and starts writing romantic poems and behaves like a human being. This causes a conflict between the scientist and his machine. Meanwhile, being aware of the extraordinary artificial intelligence of the robot, the villains get hold of the robot to use it to their advantage and they turn Chitti against Dr Vaseegaran…
And then there is Rajini and Rajini. No actor, not even Kamal Haasan or SRK could have carried this film so well. While he is actually restrained and low key as the scientist (with no entry scene even!), he is in his element and absolutely brilliant as Chitti, the robot. His reactions to the first feeling of love as Sana kisses him are incomparable. And when he turns bad against his creator, he is the invincible superstar at the top of his form. His maniacal laughter is priceless as is his wooing of Sana! None of the other actors match up to Rajini in the film, nor are they expected to, one supposes. Santhanam and Karunas are just about so-so in the comedy department while Danny hardly registers. Ash has enough screen time but nothing to do and while she is photographed well, one can hardly say anything about her sad ‘acting’. The masterstroke for Shankar was to kill off Danny early enough and make the robot the main adversary for his creator thus giving the film its biggest strength as the two Rajinis have to play off each other. Only Rajini can beat Rajini!
Technically, the film is efficient enough but still, the special effects and action sequences (some high octane thrilling!) are a mixed lot. While some of the effects are great, grains are visible in many of the shots with special effects and even the much touted climactic fight with hundreds of Rajinis, while admittedly eye-popping, does show its rough edges in places. Ratnavelu’s camerawork is eye-catching but like typical Tamil commercial cinema over dependent on the wide angle lens and its distortions to create obviously loud, dramatic, attention-grabbing frames. The biggest disappointment for me was ARR’s musical score. While there are enough techno beats to go with the ‘futuristic’ theme of the film, none of the songs stay in mind with not a single memorable melody. Among the songs, the Machu Picchu song in Peru is spectacular and the best picturised song in the film. The choreography though is strange in some of the songs and Ash particularly looks inadvertantly funny in some of the steps as she prances about. The background score is overblown as usual but effective enough. Anthony keeps the film moving along crisply though there are portions in the second half which tend to drag. Incidentally, the dubbing for Danny and Ash is awful and nowhere matching their lip movement. One suspects Danny wasn’t even mouthing Tamil in the first place!
All in all, ultimately watchable totally for superstar Rajini. When Rajini good he good but when he bad, he better!
Tamil, Action, Drama, Fantasy, Color