Yes, it was Diwali, minutes before the start of the first show here in Chennai with crackers going off in thousands, flowers flying around and people going delirious with excitement. This is Diwali; no matter even if the real one is still a month away, Superstar has arrived! Well, let us get down to the task. There is nothing much to reveal about the plot of Endhiran; one supposes. Thousands of speculations, predictions and of course, a mad frenzy about the trailer has given a rough idea about the plot. Endhiran is about Dr. Vaseegaran and Chitty, his creation- the robot with a 1 Zettabyte memory and a speed of 1 Terrabyte.
Watch Endhiran for the experience. The foremost thing about any Superstar film is Superstar himself. He is the air the film breathes, right from the first frame. The biggest entertainer that India has produced, weaves magic on screen; even a nonchalant saunter on screen makes theatres erupt in celebration.
Watching Endhiran one feels no doubt whatsoever that no one other than Rajnikanth could have pulled off this character.
It is destiny that brought Endhiran to Superstar after travelling all through Kollywood and Bollywood. He delivers a tour de force performance — he owns the film. Yes, there are the trademark styles and mannerisms, but Rajnikanth transcends style and goes one better with Endhiran. His restraint while playing the scientist, the frustration that he shows while his scientific endeavours go wrong, underscore the fact that he is a brilliant actor who has been bogged down by commercial demands and compulsions.
But, the focal point of the performance is definitely the robot. Chitty, the innocent child like robot is cute and loveable and dashing once romance starts flowing through his veins — wires. And, it is when the destroyer arrives that we see the Rajni in all his splendour.
There seems to be absolutely no one who can come even close when playing a devilish destroyer. The outrageous and maniacal laugh as he proclaims his invincibility is a masterpiece — a throwback to the heydays of Rajnikanth the villain. The decades have not dimmed his brilliance and charisma one bit. And, the effort he has put into Endhiran shows in all frames; be it the fights or dance sequences; the desire to excel still burns bright.
Aishwarya Rai looks ethereal as always. Though it is a bit difficult to still accept her as a college student, she delivers when it matters. Not the usual Shankar heroine songs and dance only stuff here, she is almost the fulcrum of the story. Scripting wise, Endhiran does have its flaws, which is a bit disappointing. The first half is a smooth and jolly ride as the cute Chitty takes centre stage. A couple of fights set the tone for the fans to go overboard with excitement, a few lighter moment most of which are enjoyable and two songs make it a relatively light hearted affair.
That stops Endhiran from being a pure sci-fi flick, making it apt for all class audiences. Beginning of the second half is however not an apt extrapolation of the expectations raised in the first half.
Though too much does not go wrong, there are portions which one feels could have been tighter. A couple of songs follow each other in quick succession which dampens things a bit. But, if you are willing to be patient through these minor glitches, the rest of the second half is racy, action packed and intelligent. Action, as all might now, has been the talking point of Endhiran with world famous visual effects supervisors doing the job. The sequences have been conceived by Shankar as shown in the titles and do not lack in awe and magnificence.
Be it on the train, on the truck or the highway — action is taken to a new plane in Endhiran. As expected, logic does fly out of the window now and then, but then, what is a Superstar film if there is no suspension of belief. As expected, technical aspects of Endhiran are top notch.
Special effects are world class except a few occasions here and there as they have been done by the best in the business, Stan Winston Studios and Industrial Light and Magic. The sheer effort that has gone into the CGI work is humungous, be it Rajni running along the side of a train or doing a Michael Jackson jive; everything looks as original as it can get. Camera by Ratnavelu captures what Shankar has envisioned, and translates it effectively on screen. Make up, by Banu, is exceptional and has made Superstar look even more stylish than he usually does.
Re-recording does not look like the work done by an Oscar winner, especially in the final portions, but still manages to impress. Dialogues by Shankar, Sujatha and Karki are sharp, using proper technical terminology well balanced with Tamil lines. Sabu Cyril shows his class once again, be it with the sophisticated labs or grand songs.
Anthony is as deft as ever with the scissors, adding to the tempo of the film. Hats off to Shankar for the vision and the effort! He has taken Tamil cinema to a new plane on technical terms, showing that nothing is impossible. The sets, effects, sound, style are all amazing and good enough to rub shoulders with Hollywood counterparts, give or take a few points.
But, the basic story is still a desi love triangle! That is where Shankar has shown his skills; making state of the art film merge with our regional cinema tastes.
His genuine desire to take Indian cinema to greater heights reflects throughout the movie. But, it is not just Shankar who has this vision, Superstar too shares it with him. The man whom we have known for total style and charisma has shown that he is game for something new that does not fit in to the conventional Superstar mould.
Even after years of stardom he genuinely wants to bring in and be part of change that will take Indian cinema to higher levels. It is going to take a Herculean effort to equal or better Endhiran within the confines of Tamil cinema. Do Indian cinema a favour, watch Endhiran; let a other Shankars feel bold enough to dream. Review by : Behindwoods review board.