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Watching a Rajinikanth movie is not a cinematic
experience that falls strictly within the dictates of a
good story, a racy screenplay, great music or whatever
else that conventionally makes movies click. The iconic
Superstar contributes a certain magic that is hard to
explain. It’s more like a mother’s touch to home cooking
that simply makes you want more.
With Enthiran, this magic is unabashed and unrelenting
from the first frame to the last. Director Shankar not
only deviates a great deal from the tried and tested
‘Superstar’ formula by putting the story firmly in the
centre, but also presents Rajinikanth in an avatar not
seen in a long while.
It’s no secret that he developed his highly-stylised
mannerisms to play the antagonist. He excelled in
negative roles early on in his career — in classics like
Avargal, Moondru Mudichu, Netrikann, and 16 Vayathiniley,
but his transition into a mass hero meant toning down
all those shenanigans on screen. The audience did get a
glimpse of it in Chandramukhi’s ’Vettaiyan Raja’.
But now, in the second half of Enthiran, Shankar
unleashes a villain of such megalomaniac proportions
that only Rajinikanth could pull off. It ends up being a
master-class in theatrical over-expressive villainy that
is almost a throwback to the days of M.N.Nambiar and
Shankar has managed to successfully walk the tightrope
of making the story accessible to the masses and yet not
dumbing it down. The narrative of Dr.Vaseegaran, a
dedicated robotics scientist, and his humanoid robot
Chitti (short for Chittibabu), both vying for the
attention of the medical college student Sana (played by
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), is brought out with some soul.
In between all the song and dance sequences over the
love triangle, Shankar manages to capture the inner
turmoil of a robot coming to terms with the rather
complicated human emotions of love, hate and betrayal.
There is a parallel storyline of Dr.Vaseegaran’s running
feud with his mentor Dr.Bohra (played by Danny Denzongpa),
who is clandestinely interested in getting the technical
know-how of Chitti to sell his commando bots to an
illegal foreign arms dealer. He keeps sabotaging
Vaseegaran’s plans of getting Chitti approved for mass
production for use by the Indian Army.
The movie does take time to warm up a bit in the first
half in introducing the concepts to the audience. But
the struggle between a ‘re-programmed’ Chitti and
Vaseegaran gets the pulse racing right through the
second half, all culminating in a rambunctious climax
that is beyond all expectations. There is also a
Nearly every technician involved in the movie has
brought in his A-game and seems to have set new
benchmarks for Indian cinema in general -
cinematographer R. Rathnavelu, editor Anthony, art
director Sabu Cyril, stunt choreographer Peter Hein,
music director A.R.Rahman, lyricists Vairamuthu,
Pa.Vijay and Karky, sound engineer Resul Pookutty and
costume designer Manish Malhotra. The association of the
world-renowned Stan Winston studio (rechristened two
years back as Legacy Effects) for special effects has
had a profound impact on the visuals. The effects are on
a par with the best in the industry.
Actors tend to get lost in special effects movies. But
not so in Enthiran. Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai
Bachchan carry the movie on their shoulders, and
considering the fact that much of the acting must have
been in front of green screens, one has to say that
nothing looks artificial right through. Actors Karunas
and Santhanam try to evoke a few guffaws in a comedy
track that sadly fails. But that is hardly an issue
The song sequences are the centrepiece of the movie.
Irumbile oru Idhayam poothatho and the climax song Arima
Arima stand out for their execution.
Billed as India’s costliest film ever, Enthiran is also
Sun Pictures’ first home production. It hits the
bulls-eye as an entertainer.
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