Movie Review - Endhiran

Have you seen the movie Millennium Man in which Robin William plays a robot that wishes to become a man? Well, add a lot of garam masala to it and add some tadka at the end and you get Endhiran, the latest Rajni-Shankar blockbuster. We went to a small-town theatre to watch it in the third weekend after release (which we deemed to be safe from crowds), only to see people bring in extra chairs to sit down in the aisles. I haven't seen a movie hall that filled since - well...I don't know when!

The story is simple enough - Vazigaran (ordinary Rajni) the scientist creates a humanoid robot Chitti (extraordinary Rajni) after 10 years of research. He intends to use it for military applications, mostly in situations dangerous for humans (eg, mine field clearing), so why he uploads all the art and culture data into it is a bit odd. But then, who doesn't like a robot who can do Bharatanatyam and the tango with equal flare? Would be a great hit at the officers' parties. The robot is taken out for some real-world testing and is a great hit with Sanaa (Aishwarya), Vazi's girlfriend. He is deemed incomplete by Vazi's former mentor and current competitor Dr. Bora (Danny Dengzongpa). The trouble (and what magnificent trouble) starts when, in an attempt to teach Chitti the finer points of judgement, Vazi gets Chiiti to absorb all human emotions. The second half is a veritable CAG wonder - simply splendid with a believable climax for sci-fi movie. My 6-year-old loved the jokes and I too chortled once or twice in the first half. The song sequences are actually a little nuisance when they keep intruding at inopportune moments - but the picturisation in remote locations and Aishwarya made up for the intrusion.

Let me say here that I am not a Rajni fan. The first movie of him that I saw was way back when I was a kid and he was the villain of the piece. His acting was so good that I was totally scared and never wanted to see him again. (I had the same problem adjusting to Mohanlal after watching Manjil Virinja Pookkal and only constant exposure to movies in which he's the good guy made up for it.) But then, being in India, one can scarcely escape from Rajni. He simply pops up everywhere! If that's not enough, you get all those Rajni jokes by email which enlist his superhuman qualities as well as discussions of how he survives totally on gimmicks rather than actual histrionic talent. Criticisms aside, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he can give a restrained performance if he is allowed to.

All in all, I do recommend the movie if you are interested in this type of movie. Take your kids along - their giggles will help you enjoy it more.

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