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‘Endhiran’; a sacrifice of coherence for ambition

Happy New Year, yadda yadda.
I thought I’d start 2011 with a film review. Enjoy!

Endhiran –
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

So, back in December-ish, ‘Endhiran‘, India’s priciest film and the most expensive film in Asia ever made, officially budgeted at 162 crores, was released.
Needless to say, Kollywood was given a shake-up as Tamil actor ‘Superstar’ Rajnikanth and Bollywood queen Aishwarya Rai paired up in this science-fiction thriller, directed by S. Shankar.

The film’s plot revolves around  a s cientist, Dr. Vasigaran (Rajni), who creates a super-intelligent android robot with the purpose for it to help human beings and to contribute towards the development of India as a country. However, as circumstances would have it, the creator decided to upgrade the humanoid’s processor to enable it to comprehend and generate human emotions. Somewhat predictably,  the robot consequently falls in love with Sana (Aishwarya), the scientist’s own love interest, which inevitably creates conflict between creator and creation thus playing out the rest of the film’s story-line.

Now,  I’ve watched Tamil and Hindi films since I was a little girl but never have I come across something as flamboyant and overly-hyped as this particular gem. ‘Endhiran’ manages to break all the rules with its daring special effects, over-the-top costume design and opulent sets; and trust me, this ain’t exactly a good thing.
Whilst the film’s protagonists, Rajnikanth and Aishwarya Rai, both renowned and almost worshipped performers in India,  have indeed made the world stand up and take notice of Tamil cinema (once again), the film itself shouldn’t be considered anything of a masterpiece in the genre of science-fiction.
By no means does it explore an original concept nor does it contain any innovative script-writing; in short, it really is nothing special. The sheer abuse of computer graphics, which dominates almost every scene of the movie, meant the plot became lost and nonsensical and managed to diminish all acting talents; I mean, animated talking mosquitoes? Really,  S. Shankar?
Even so, there’s no doubt the whole of India will fall in love with ‘Endhiran’. It’s a jewel in Kollywood’s crown simply because no other previous film has ever used so many special effects or costume changes. And on the upside, Aishwarya looked as stunning as ever; it’s just too bad that her role was ‘forgettable in an unforgettable movie’. As one critic put it: ‘her acting was shrill, wide-eyed and over the top’. Sorry, Aish.

Sure enough, the soundtrack is composed by the critically acclaimed A.R. Rahman. As if to maintain its sci-fi themes, it contains a modern mix of techno beats, robotic voices and phaser sounds, coupled with ‘fresh’ and ‘poetical’ lyrics* as described by some music critics; thus, it provides something new and exciting for the ears of the Indian  masses, who are after all Rajinikanth’s primary target audience.
Ultimately, ‘Endhiran’ is a sci-fi Indian masala musical (a very odd combination indeed), which was sadly overshadowed by its use of visual effects and animations throughout the entire 2 hours and 54 minutes. ‘Endhiran’ is not comparable to Hollywood in the least; perhaps because Indian cinema has just tasted what could happen if there is too much of a good thing.

As a true Rajni fan, I refer anyone back to his 2005 hit, ‘Chandramukhi’.
Now, THAT was a hell of a film.

*One of the lines in the lyrics of a song was: ‘You are hot wasabi in my honey!’.
Pretty self-explanatory, I think.

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