Tamil film director S. Shankar is well known for creating some innovative (Jeans), some intelligent (Anniyan) and some hard-hitting (Mudhalavan, later remade by himself as the equally impressive Nayak) dramas in his illustrious career in Chennai, and I’ve been following his work for the simple fact that he is one of the only filmmakers that can combine entertainment with films having a socially relevant underlay. Apart from the terribly written and over the top executed Sivaji: The Boss, Shankar has given each project a certain commendable freshness with his hatke scripts. So does his latest project, Robot (the Hindi dubbed version of Enthiran) work?
Dr. Vaseegharan (Rajnikanth) creates a humanoid robot Chitti (Rajnikanth) in hope of sending him to the army. Chitti becomes Vaseegharan’s girfriend Sana’s (Aishwayra Rai Bachchan) apple of the eye. Depressed after being rejected by the examiners on the basis of having no sense of right or wrong, he suddenly tries to insert feelings into Chitti, and all hell breaks loose.
First up, the execution doesn’t help if the script itself has intermittent loose ends, and this was noticed in Sivaji: The Boss with every scene created just for gloating on Rajnikanth’s star power – a phenomenon that made the movie a blockbuster but didn’t do more than make money. This movie, on the other hand, is so well written and visualized by the film-maker himself, that one tends to become glued to the seat till the very end of the film. For the first time, Rajnikanth’s character(s) have been so strongly written that you tend to wonder if this really is a Rajni film. Also, Rajnikanth didn’t have any flashy introductory scene and post the titles, the movie started almost immediately, which surprised me and is bound to surprise those yet to watch it. This film reaffirms that Shankar still has the capability to write fresh scripts and that his imagination never ceases. In fact most of the scenes hold a very Shankar trademark, which further proves that he is the only film-maker in Tamil cinema that the world should be proud of because he has the ability to combine unapologetic, unadulterated entertainment with something hatke (and without showing a trace of unpretentiousness in the process).
Science fiction extravaganzas are usually the kind that cater for the big screen audience by having a certain flawlessness in technicality, and most Hollywood and Hindi movies tend to forget the storyline and focus on just the technical aspects. But as previously stated, this movie has a strong script and is only upped by a technically outstanding finish. Terrific camerawork and cinematography, jaw-dropping visual effects and action sequences, and commendable editing give this movie an international finish. Music by A. R. Rahman is the kind that is situational and will earn a lot of detestation from the listeners before they watch the film but would like once they’ve seen the film. I would still like to state that the quality of Rahman’s music isn’t up to the mark here.
As far as the performances are concerned, Rajnikanth has star power, and Shankar has intelligently woven together such a script that Rajni ends up being the larger part of each frame, right from the start to end. Aishwarya looks stunning like never before, and plays her part, despite it being rather small and insignificant. Danny Denzongpa is convincing as Rajnikanth’s nemesis. Others are good.
Not that the movie doesn’t have hiccups – and there’s quite a few here. Firstly, the movie is close to three hours long, and the editor should have helped snip quite a few unnecessary portions off the film. Though the songs have stunning visuals, they abruptly make their entry, thereby acting as speed-breakers in an otherwise fast paced movie. Also inevitably, dubbed films take off the charm exuded by the film in its original language. Nevertheless, this is one of the most tolerable Hindi films dubbed from Tamil of late.
Overall, just like Wanted and Dabangg were ego-trips of Salman Khan for his fans, Robot shares a similar relationship with Rajnikanth towering the film, only this time backed with a solid story and screenplay, minus the overrated “entry” scene, much to everyone’s relief. Sure, there are quite a few hiccups, but those can easily be ignored for the amazing visual effects and the jaw dropping action, making this the biggest Indian film ever to be made (160 crores budget). Hollywood usually combines the elements of this film to create a summer blockbuster. Summer’s about to end, but Robot proves the heat hasn’t gone yet! Highly recommended for the big-screen experience!