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By Behindwoods Visitor Shoaib Mohamed
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The following is my personal analysis / experience of Endhiran.

When watching a Rajni film we are usually used to watching a high flying entry of the Superstar followed by a colourful introduction song. However, to his credit and in a bid to remain faithful to his script Shankar eliminates all of that in Endhiran as the very first frame of the movie leads us to Rajni’s introduction in a very sober but captivating fashion nonetheless, working tirelessly and being fully engrossed in realizing his lifelong dream of creating an android humanoid Robot. One of Rajni’s roles in the movie is that of a Scientist and Rajni was quoted in the press as saying that he found the role of scientist Dr. Vaseegaran far more challenging than Chitti the robot. At first I did not quite understand it but having watched the move I now understand what Rajni meant. Dr. Vaseegaran’s character is very different from other
characters played by Rajni in his illustrious and box office dominating career but Rajni pulls it off brilliantly proving that he is not just the undisputed king of entertainment but also a brilliant actor. The insecurities that we see of Dr. Vaseegaran when his fiancée Sana (Played by Aishwarya Rai) takes a liking towards Chitti the Robot (also played by Rajni) and the manner in which he runs away from fighting Kalabavan Mani in another scene were fresh and wonderfully depicted and very different from the usual Rajni that we see on screen. To alayman a Scientist is geeky, shows little emotion, and often forgets the world around him as a result of being engrossed in his line of work and Rajni brings out these emotions quite brilliantly via his character of Dr. Vaseegaran.
As for Rajni’s portrayal of Chitti the Robot, well, what can I say that has already not been said? I run out of superlatives when talking about Rajni as Chitti the Robot. Watching his body language and characterization of Chitti, it is clear that Rajni had done an enormous amount of home work to present himself as an andro humanoid Robot and all his efforts paid rich dividends as he has come out with a breath taking performance as Chitti the Robot. His transformation from Chitti the innocent Robot to the menacing Chitti 2.0 was scintillating to watch and left the audience spell bound. After a hiatus of many, many years we were taken down memory lane and had the honour of watching Rajni in a negative role as he brought the house down with an electrifying acting performance for the ages. We all are fully aware of the fact that Superstar Rajnikanth is Indian Cinema’s number 1 entertainer and king of commercial cinema. While most directors tend to take full advantage of Rajni’s larger than life persona when depicting his character in their movies, one has to applaud director Shankar for utilising the full repertoire of Rajni’s tremendous talent both as a brilliant actor and the undisputed king of entertainment, in this movie.

The coming together of the first time paring of Rajnikanth and Aishwarya Rai was much anticipated and looked forward to by all and sundry. From my point of view this paring signified the coming together of Indian Cinema’s two biggest Superstars (actor and actress) and even before the movie’s release I was confident that the dream-team paring of Rajni and Aishwarya Rai will bring Endhiran unparalleled box office success and as a result I was not the least bit surprised when I heard that Endhiran has gone on to beat every established box office record for an Indian film both in India as well as the UK and US and more than recovered it’s mammoth budget of 175 Cr in just its first week.

Through Endhiran, Superstar Rajnikanth once again proved that age is just a number and that he is still the undisputed king of entertainment and the box office in Indian Cinema. Similarly Aishwarya Rai who is nearing 37 years of age proved that she is still without a shadow of doubt the most beautiful woman in the world who is equally talented to effortlessly essay a character driven role or a girl next door role. None can match the grace with which she makes her presence felt on screen even for the most simplistic of scenes. To say that Endhiran’s lead pair of Rajni and Aishwarya basically presented to the audience the actor and actress with unmatched screen presence in Indian cinema would be an understatement. It is already a massive task for a heroine to hold her own when facing one Rajni on screen but to expect that of her when there so are many Rajnis on screen would be a massive to impossible task for any heroine but not Aishwarya Rai. I have no doubt in my mind that if there is one heroine in Indian Cinema who can stand toe to toe with a colossus like Rajni that has to be the woman who is the single most popular Indian move star in the world, Aishwarya Rai. Hold her own in Endhiran is exactly what she did opposite Rajni and she did it efficiently, gracefully and beautifully as Sana.

Most Indian heroes would give an arm and a leg to be the most bankable box office Superstar like Rajnikanth when they are 40 let alone 61. Similarly most Indian heroines would give an arm and a leg to be the top directors’ number 1 choice and be as bankable at the box office as Aishwarya Rai is on both counts when they are 25 let alone 37 and married. Hats off to Shankar for bringing this powerful and legendary pairing together on screen.

All of you who have seen Endhiran like me would have been spell bound with the visual effects, stunts, picturization of the songs and of course the climax that has now earned the distinction of becoming the mother of all climaxes in Indian Cinema. Endhiran is a once in a life-time, never before seen (on Indian Cinema) visual experience that we will remember for a long time to come. I still get goose bumps when I relive in my mind the scene where Rajni as the menacing Chitti 2.0 yells out “who’s the black sheep” and goes about locating Dr. Vaseegaran with that mahhhhhhhhh chant! That particular scene and Rajni’s acting as Chitti 2.0 overall was as creepy and scary as some of the scenes enacted by the late Heath Ledger in his Oscar winning portrayal of the ‘joker’ in The Dark Knight. If Hollywood has Spiderman, Batman, Superman, James Bond and the fantastic four then we in India have all of them rolled up in one avatar called Rajnikanth. Superstar Rajnikanth is India’s original and ultimate super hero that will be hard to match let alone surpass.

Director Shankar or more appropriately ‘Mr. Blockbuster’ has done a tremendous job in delivering a very advanced and complex subject in a simple manner that even the common man in an Indian village could understand. To be able to do that is what makes director Shankar a genius. Endhiran is a movie that has truly taken Indian Cinema to the World Stage in the Sci-fic / Action flicks genre and has set the benchmark for others in the Indian film fraternity to try and emulate.

Within 24 hours after the release of Endhiran’s sound track the album went on to achieve the coveted number 1 slot in the iTunes world music album charts thus becoming the first ever Indian music album (film or otherwise) to do so. Within 72 hours of Endhiran’s world-wide theatrical release the movie went on to conquer the box office and become the Indian movie with the highest opening weekend collections of all time beating Salman Khan’s Dabangg and Amir Khan’s 3 idiots comfortably. Endhiran also had a record breaking opening weekend in the UK and the US achieving the number 1 status in terms of per screen collections in both Countries with Endhiran’s dubbed Hindi version Robot coming in at 2nd place in the US box office behind its Tamil version in the same category. Endhiran / Robot’s US opening became the largest ever opening weekend collections for an Indian film of all time in the US box office surpassing SRK’s My name is Khan. Two years ago Kalanithi Maran took on this ambitious project and effortlessly dished out 175 Cr to make this move come alive on the screen. Within just the first week of its release Endhiran has already recovered it’s cost and is heading for a whole lot more in the days and weeks ahead as well. At the end of the day Endhiran has become one of the rare movies where everyone from the movie’s cast, the director and his team, the producer and his team, the distributors, the audience, Tamil Cinema and lastly Indian Cinema have all emerged as winners. As fans of Indian cinema let us enjoy every second of this rare phenomenon for we do not know when we will get this unique opportunity to rejoice and celebrate in unison again. If I am a betting man I would say that this opportunity will come our way again when Rajni and Shankar come together for the third time and announce their next movie, a sequel to Endhiran titled ‘The Return of the Robot’. Until then we shall wait with bated breath enjoy the coming together of Diwali and Christmas in the form of a theatrical juggernaut called Endhiran!

Shoaib Mohamed in London
Tags : Endhiran, Rajinikanth, AR Rahman, Shankar, Aishwarya Rai

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