Sci-Fi movies have been rare in Tamizh movies. The genre is a difficult one - especially given the fact that the exposure of people, to enable them to think akin to the Matrix or the Bicentennial Man, is going to be difficult outside of the major cities in TN. Shankar, thanks to Sujatha's collaboration (my suspicion), has been able to deal with the concept/question of 'what if machines could feel emotions?' in a way that is very layman friendly.
Instead of trying to do a structured review, I think let me collate things that made me clap my hands (nod to where I'm writing this!)
Rajni Kanth - he is there in every scene of the movie and has stood up and delivered in a way that only he can. Thankfully, the movie had zilch heroism/image boosting scenes. Having said that, Rajni shows us a sneak peek into his power-packed performance days of 70s and 80s by playing the character of the Robot quite well. His robot character pretty much dominates the second half of the movie and if done badly would have caused a nasty stink. His comic timing, dialog delivery timing are almost impeccable and make us wish that he can turn the clock backwards and start growing younger. Of course, there were scenes where you were able to see through the make up of the scientist Rajni Kanth; But it is only a sad attestation to the fact even when he is 60 years old, there is no other lead actor who can take over the mantle from him. In terms of style and charisma, Rajni beats Vijay, Ajith, Surya, Vikram and all later actors put together black and blue. If any other actors claims to aspire to be the replacement to the Superstar title, they should be made to watch Endhiran and that will cure them of their conceit and vanity.
Graphics/Props - for Tamizh Cinema standards, the special effects, props and graphics were fantastic. Special mention has to go the sequences with multiple robots and the scenes where the skeletal robot makes its appearances. Lots of times money is spent in tamizh cinema on song sets and costumes (Shankar himself being the guilty one lots of times) - but here Shankar (and of course Sun Pictures) have put the gargantuan budget to good use. The detailing in some scenes and real life dynamics that have been incorporated into some scenes were quite good, again, considering we are talking about a tamizh movie.
Story/Screenplay - After some patchy work like Boys and Sivaji in terms of story and screenplay, Shankar makes a refreshing switch back to his halycon days of Mudhalvan, Indian with a solid story with a screenplay that kept me from looking at my watch for the entire running duration - a feat that only few tamizh movies have lived upto recently. Though not entirely flawless, I would say that Shankar's admission that this script was thought of a decade ago is true, given that is very well thought out and laid out like a crisp dosai!
Background Music/Songs - ARR - enough said!
Try as I might, it is difficult to pick a negative (fanatics of arthouse cinema, indie film junkies and perfection pattabhiramans, will not be seeing this movie and would not be reading this review as well!); But if I had to, the only thing would have been that though Rajni Kanth pulled off the role of the robot, it would have been amazing to see him in his youth doing the same role.
After a really really long time, I have seen a tamizh movie in the theaters which has made me feel that it was worth every cent!! Not often do you see a costly and hyped movie living up to its expectations, but Endhiran does; and I think Shankar owed me a big one after ditching me and robbing me of my money in Sivaji!!
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