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Enthiran

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Enthiran
Theatrical release poster of the film Enthiran.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by S. Shankar
Produced by Kalanithi Maran
Written by
Screenplay by S. Shankar
Starring
Music by A. R. Rahman
Cinematography R. Rathnavelu
Edited by Anthony
Production
company
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 1 October 2010 (2010-10-01)
Running time
166–177 minutes[Note 1]
Country India
Language Tamil

Enthiran (English: Robot) is a 2010 Indian Tamil science fiction film co-written by S. Shankar and Sujatha Rangarajan and directed by Shankar. The film stars Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the lead roles with Danny Denzongpa, Santhanam and Karunas in supporting roles. The story revolves around a scientist's struggle to control his creation, an android robot (both played by Rajinikanth), whose software is upgraded to give it the ability to comprehend and exhibit human emotions. The project backfires when the robot falls in love with the scientist's girlfriend (Aishwarya Rai), and is manipulated by a rival scientist (Denzongpa) into becoming homicidal.

After being stalled in the development phase for nearly a decade, the film was eventually shot over two years beginning in 2008. Enthiran marked the debut of Legacy Effects studio, who were responsible for the film's prosthetic make-up and animatronics, in Indian cinema. The soundtrack album and background score were composed by A. R. Rahman. Enthiran was released worldwide on 1 October 2010, along with its dubbed versions: Robot in Hindi and Robo in Telugu. Produced by Kalanithi Maran, it was India's most expensive film at the time of its release.

The film received generally positive reviews upon release. Critics praised Rajinikanth's performance, R. Rathnavelu's cinematography, Sabu Cyril's art direction and the visual effects by V. Srinivas Mohan. It became the highest-grossing Tamil film of all time, and the top-earning Indian film of 2010. The film won two Indian National Film Awards, three Filmfare Awards and seven Vijay Awards.

Plot[edit]

After a decade of research, the scientist Dr. Vaseegaran creates a sophisticated android robot with the help of his assistants, Siva and Ravi, in order to commission it into the Indian Army. He introduces the robot, named Chitti, at a robotics conference in Chennai. Chitti helps Sana, Vaseegaran's medical student girlfriend, cheat on her examination, then saves her from being assaulted by a group of thugs. Vaseegaran's mentor, Professor Bohra, is secretly engaged in a project to create similar android robots for a terrorist organisation, but so far has been unsuccessful.

Vaseegaran prepares Chitti for an evaluation by the Artificial Intelligence Research and Development (AIRD) Institute, which is headed by Bohra. During the evaluation, Chitti attempts to stab Vaseegaran at Bohra's command, which convinces the evaluation committee that the robot is a liability and cannot be used for military purposes. Vaseegaran's effort to prove Bohra wrong fails when he deploys Chitti to rescue people from a burning building. Although the robot saves most of them, including a girl named Selvi who was bathing at the time, Selvi is ashamed at being seen naked on camera and flees, only to be hit and killed by a truck. Vaseegaran asks for one month to modify Chitti's neural schema to enable it to understand human behaviour and emotions, to which Bohra agrees. While nearing the deadline, Chitti becomes angry with Vaseegaran, demonstrating to him that it can manifest emotions.

Chitti uses Sana's textbooks to successfully help Sana's sister Latha give birth to a child. Bohra congratulates Vaseegaran on the achievement and lets the robot pass the AIRD evaluation. Chitti develops romantic feelings for Sana after she congratulates Chitti by kissing it. When Vaseegaran and Sana realise this, Sana explains to Chitti that they are only friends. Saddened by her rejection, yet still in love with her, Chitti deliberately fails an evaluation conducted by the Indian Army. Enraged, Vaseegaran chops Chitti into pieces, which are dumped into a landfill site.

Bohra visits the site to retrieve Chitti, which has now reassembled itself, albeit in a damaged state. Bohra embeds a red chip inside Chitti while reconstructing it, converting it into a ruthless killer. It then gatecrashes Vaseegaran and Sana's wedding, kidnaps Sana, creates replicas of itself and kills Bohra. Using its robot army, Chitti occupies AIRD and causes mayhem in the city. After informing Sana that it has acquired the human ability to reproduce, Chitti wishes to marry her so that a machine and a human being can give birth to a preprogrammed child, but Sana refuses. It eventually finds Vaseegaran, who entered AIRD to stop it, and nearly kills him before the police appear. The ensuing battle between Chitti's robot army and the police personnel leads to many casualties and much property destruction. Vaseegaran eventually captures Chitti using a magnetic wall and accesses its internal control panel, whereby he instructs all the other robots to self-destruct. He removes Chitti's red chip, calming it.

In a court hearing, Vaseegaran is sentenced to death for the casualties and damages caused by the robot army, but Chitti explains that it was Bohra who caused its deviant behaviour and shows the court video footage of Bohra installing the red chip. The court releases Vaseegaran, while ordering that Chitti be dismantled. Left with no choice, Vaseegaran asks Chitti to dismantle itself. While saying goodbye, Chitti apologises to Vaseegaran and Sana before dismantling itself.

Several years later, in 2030, Chitti is a museum exhibit. A curious school student on excursion asks her guide why it was dismantled, to which Chitti responds, "Naan sinthikka arambichitten" (I started thinking).

Cast[edit]

I thought that playing Chitti the robot would be very difficult. He is a machine. His movements should not be like a human being's. We had to draw a line. If I deviated even slightly, Shankar would point out and say I was being too human. After four to five days shooting, we found a rhythm.

—Rajinikanth, on his experience of playing the character of Chitti.[4]

Production[edit]

Origin[edit]

After completing his debut Hindi film, Nayak (2001), director S. Shankar announced that his next project would feature Kamal Haasan and Preity Zinta.[5][6] The film, titled Robot, was to be produced by the now-defunct company Media Dreams, a division of Pentamedia Graphics.[6][7] The film was reported to be a futuristic techno-thriller set in Chennai in around 2200 or 3000 AD.[8][9] Despite completing a photoshoot with Haasan and Zinta,[10] the project was shelved due to scheduling conflicts for Haasan.[11] Shankar then commenced the pre-production work on Boys (2003).[6]

After Boys, Shankar began work on his next directorial venture with Vikram, which was initially reported by Rediff to be Robot revived,[12] but was later revealed as Anniyan (2005).[13] One month after the release of the director's Sivaji in June 2007,[14] Shah Rukh Khan was signed to play the lead actor in Robot, and agreed to produce it under his own banner, Red Chillies Entertainment.[15] However, in October 2007, Khan and Shankar officially aborted the project, citing creative differences.[16]

The project was revived in January 2008 with Eros International and the London-based production company Ayngaran International agreeing to produce the film.[7] The state government of Tamil Nadu granted tax exemptions for films titled in Tamil, resulting in the new production being retitled Enthiran.[17][11] While Sujatha Rangarajan was originally announced as the film's dialogue writer, Madhan Karky took over after Rangarajan's death in February 2008.[10] In December 2008, Eros International withdrew due to financial difficulties created by the box-office failures of Drona (2008) and Yuvvraaj (2008);[18] this was followed by the withdrawal of Ayngaran International, citing the global financial crisis of 2008.[19][20] The film's production and release rights were sold to Sun Pictures.[21]

Cast and crew[edit]

For their roles, Rajinikanth (left) and Rai (right) were paid INR450 million and INR60 million respectively.

In January 2008, Rajinikanth agreed to work on the film for a salary of INR450 million (Indian rupees).[16][22][Note 2] Shankar rewrote the original script to suit Rajinikanth's acting style after selecting him for the lead role.[4] Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was Shankar's original choice for the female lead when he was working with Haasan, but she declined the role due to scheduling conflicts and was replaced with Zinta.[24] When Shankar revived the project with Rajinikanth,[16] contenders for the female lead included Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Shriya Saran and Aishwarya Rai, who was ultimately selected and paid INR60 million.[25][26][27][28][Note 2] To prepare for her role, Aishwarya Rai translated her dialogue from Tamil into English and rehearsed it the night before each day of filming.[24] Her voice was dubbed by Savitha Reddy.[29]

For the role of Professor Bohra, Amitabh Bachchan, J. D. Chakravarthy, Narain, Arjun Sarja, Sathyaraj and British actor Ben Kingsley were considered,[30][31][32] but Danny Denzongpa was signed, making Enthiran his acting debut in Tamil films.[33] Dubbing for Denzongpa was provided by Kadhir.[34] The comedians Santhanam and Karunas were cast to portray Vaseegaran's assistants,[35] making it their first collaboration with Shankar and their second with Rajinikanth.[30][Note 3] All the cast and crew members, except Aishwarya Rai, signed an agreement which stated that they would not work on any other film for the next two years, while Enthiran was under production.[35]

The soundtrack album and background score were composed by A. R. Rahman,[17] while Vairamuthu, P. Vijay and Madhan Karky wrote the lyrics for the songs.[38][39] Manoj Bharathiraja, son of filmmaker P. Bharathiraja, was signed on to be an assistant director after he approached Shankar.[32] Also working as assistant directors were Atlee, Shree and Karthik G. Krish, who would go on to direct Raja Rani (2013), Damaal Dumeel (2014) and Kappal (2014), respectively.[40][41][42] Sabu Cyril was signed as the art director, and also appeared in a cameo role as Shah, a translator for Bohra and a member of the terrorist organisation that makes a deal with Bohra to manufacture robots for destructive purposes.[43][44]

R. Rathnavelu was hired as the cinematographer after Nirav Shah, Thiru and Ravi K. Chandran were considered.[45][46][47] Anthony and V. Srinivas Mohan were the film's editor and visual effects supervisor, respectively.[48][49] Yuen Woo Ping, known for his work in The Matrix trilogy and the Kill Bill films, was selected to be the stunt co-ordinator,[50] while Legacy Effects, a visual effects studio based in the United States, were in charge of the prosthetic make-up and animatronics in the film.[50] Munich-based film technical company, Panther, were responsible for the crane shots.[Note 4][51]

Costume design[edit]

Manish Malhotra and Mary E. Vogt were signed as the costume designers for the film.[52][Note 5] Fifty-seven costumes were used for Aishwarya Rai in the film, including a "Mexican tribal" look that she sported during the filming of the "Kilimanjaro" segment.[53] Make-up artist Banu told The Times of India that prosthetics were not used for Rajinikanth, as they did not want him to concentrate on the make-up for too long.[54] Additional make-up was done by Vance Hartwell, an employee of Legacy Effects.[55]

The visual appearance of Chitti was based on the G.I. Joe action figures. For Chitti's "villain robot" look, its hair was spiked and brown coloured lenses were used for its eyes, whereas for its "good robot" look, green coloured lenses were used.[54] The wig used for Chitti's "villain robot" look had a silver streak in the middle, made out of Yak hair,[56] while its leather jacket was designed by Vogt.[56] To make Vaseegaran look mature, the team made Rajinikanth sport an Oakley beard.[Note 6] Suits made of copper were used for Chitti's costumes.[58] To differentiate the voices of Vaseegaran and Chitti, Rajinikanth modulated his voice accordingly.[35]

Principal photography[edit]

Photo of stone walls
Lagoon in Desert
The residential section of the Incan city of Machu Picchu, which features in "Kilimanjaro" (top) A lagoon at Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, where "Kadhal Anukkal" was shot (bottom).

For Sabu Cyril's sets, Shankar required approximately twice as much studio floor space as for his previous film. After rejecting Ramoji Film City for technical reasons, Enthiran '​s producer, Kalanithi Maran, took six months to set up three air-conditioned studio floors on land in Perungudi owned by Sun TV Network.[59] Filming began on 15 February 2008 at AVM Studios in Chennai.[46] By July 2008, three photo shoots were completed – two in Chennai and one in Mumbai.[60] The second Chennai photo shoot took place in Nungambakkam.[61]

After the initial filming, Shankar and Rathnavelu toured the world for three weeks, scouting for exotic filming locations.[62] They visited Austria, Germany, Peru, Brazil and Argentina, looking for a backdrop to shoot the "Kilimanjaro" and "Kadhal Anukkal" segments,[63] eventually deciding on Peru and Brazil.[64][65] "Kilimanjaro" was filmed at the ruins of the Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru, with some 100 Brazilian extras,[64][63] becoming the first Indian film to be filmed there.[66] It was choreographed by Raju Sundaram and supervised by Fernando Astete, director of the Machu Picchu archaeological park.[64][67] Aishwarya Rai completed shooting for "Kilimanjaro" without rehearsals.[68] "Kadhal Anukkal" was filmed in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in northeastern Brazil,[65] and the "Boom Boom Robo Da" segment was shot in Himachal Pradesh and Chennai.[35][69]

The set for "Arima Arima", a sequence choreographed by Prabhu Deva,[70] was designed and constructed by Sabu Cyril at Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.[71] Filming of the number took place over 22 days in April 2009.[70] Junior artists were employed by Rathnavelu to wear masks of Rajinikanth.[72] For the sequence entitled "Irumbile Oru Idhaiyam", choreographed by Remo D'Souza and featuring Aishwarya Rai and Rajinikanth as Chitti,[73] three different sets were used: one of copper, one of gold and one in silver.[71] The musical number, which was filmed in AVM Studios for eight days, was the last portion of the film's principal photography.[73] D'Souza incorporated the popping style of street dances, but encountered difficulties in performing the dance movements in tandem with the robot, and with the restrictions created by the rigid costumes.[73]

The filming for Chitti's introduction to the international robotics conference was completed in December 2008 at Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering and Vellore Institute of Technology, where more than 400 students were used as extras.[74][75] Further footage was shot over five days at the Ennore Port on the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines car carrier, Neptune Ace.[76][77] An action sequence where Chitti saves Sana from thugs was filmed in Lonavla, under the supervision of the action choreographer Peter Hein.[78] Scenes featuring Rajinikanth as Chitti were captured over five days at the Perungudi Dump Yard in Chennai.[79] Sabu Cyril told Uma Kannan of The New Indian Express that the sets for the climax sequence, which was filmed at Mayajaal, consisted of a tar road and glass buildings which rose to 65 feet (20 m), and that aluminium composite panels, reported to have cost INR50 million, were also used to design the sets.[71][80][Note 7] Principal photography ended on 8 July 2010.[81]

Visual effects[edit]

Impressed with the film's script, V. Srinivas Mohan became the visual effects supervisor in December 2007. He asked Shankar to increase the filming schedules to include an additional six months of pre-production.[82][83] Both Mohan and Shankar visited several visual effects companies, including the New Zealand-based Weta Digital and the United States-based Industrial Light & Magic, Cafe FX and Tippett Studio before partnering with Legacy Effects.[82][84] The original Eros-Ayngaran visual effects budget was INR700 million,[Note 2] but after Sun Pictures took over production, it was significantly reduced to INR200 million.[Note 2] As a result, the visual effects team had to omit and alter some sequences, including making Chitti wear sunglasses for most of the film due to the difficulty in animating his eyes, which would have been more time consuming and expensive.[85]

After a series of previsualisation tests, including a scene in which Chitti jumps on a train to save Sana, Mohan eventually decided to use the technique in 40 out of the 60 visual effects scenes featured in the film,[82] consisting of 2,000 takes.[49] Further previsualisation supervision was conducted P. C. Sanath of Firefly Creative Studios, a visual effects company based in Hyderabad.[83] 3D storyboards were constructed using 3D animation programs for every scene in the film and were shot from different angles.[83] In an interview with Malathi Rangarajan of The Hindu, Mohan said that all the pre-production work took one and a half years to complete.[49]

Rathnavelu used the 435 Xtreme camera and also wrote a 1,600-page manual, in which he listed all of the possible angles from which the characters played by Rajinikanth could be filmed.[86][87] Legacy Effects and the Hong Kong-based visual effects companies Kinomotive Studios and Menfond Electronics took responsibility for the film's CGI work.[49] To create the robots with Rajinikanth's appearance, a complete scan of his face in 3D digital format in all possible lighting conditions was conducted using the Doom Light Stage,[Note 8] so that his face could be replicated on the mannequins.[83] The technique, according to Shankar, was previously used in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).[89] The robot Chitti featured in the film was a mannequin made by a Legacy Effects team of 100 technicians in Los Angeles. For every robotic mannequin used, six puppeteers were employed to control the mannequin's movements.[49]

Themes and influences[edit]

Enthiran focuses on the battle between man and machine.[90] Despite Shankar's claim that Enthiran was a purely original idea,[10] Enthiran has been compared to Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein, due to the similar personae of Chitti and Frankenstein's monster, which both turn against their respective creators.[91][92] K. Moti Gokulsing and Wimal Dissanayake, in their book Routledge Handbook of Indian Cinemas, remarked on the similarity between the two works, writing that Chitti was "manipulated by Bohra to become a Frankenstein-like figure".[93] Genevieve Koski, writing for The A.V. Club, said, "The plot of Enthiran is essentially Frankenstein via [Isaac] Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics."[94]

Director and film critic Sudhish Kamath noted that Enthiran '​s similarities to The Terminator (1984) were "more than obvious. Not just visually – where we see the Superstar with one human eye and one scarred metallic eye but also intentionally spelt out when the bad robot announces that he has created Terminators."[95] Kamath compared two of the film's robots to C-3PO and R2-D2, droids from the Star Wars film series, which was referenced in Enthiran when Vaseegaran refers to one of his creations as "R2".[95] The entertainment news website Behindwoods compared Enthiran to Bicentennial Man (1999) because Chitti is addressed as "Puthiya Manidha" in the song of the same name, meaning "New Man". According to Behindwoods, "Never before, except in the movie Bicentennial Man, has a robot been referred to as human."[96]

Although Shankar initially claimed that Enthiran would be made for all audiences, including those who may lack computer literacy,[97] the film is influenced by and makes references to many scientific principles relating to the fields of engineering, computer science and robotics. These include terabytes and Asimov's laws of robotics.[98] Visual references are made to the science books A Briefer History of Time (2005) and Freakonomics (2005).[22]

Music[edit]

Main article: Enthiran (soundtrack)

For Enthiran's background score, A. R. Rahman used the instrument called the Continuum Fingerboard, which he had previously used in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's film Delhi-6 (2009).[99] The film also marked the debut of Rahman's daughter Khatija as a playback singer.[100]

The soundtrack album to Enthiran was released on 31 July 2010 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[101] The Tamil and Telugu versions were released by Think Music, while the Hindi version was released by Venus Music.[102] Think Music purchased the release rights of the Tamil and Telugu versions of the album for INR70 million.[103][Note 7] The album of the film's Telugu version, Robo, was released on 6 August 2010, while its Hindi version, Robot, was released on 14 August 2010.[104][105] After the second day of release, the album's Tamil version reached number one on the Top 10 World Albums chart on iTunes in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, making it the first Tamil album to do so.[106][107]

Reviewing the album's Tamil version, Divya Kumar of The Hindu commented that "[w]ith its blend of melody, trance and rhythm, Enthiran – The Robot sounds like a winner".[108] Malathy Sundaram of Behindwoods, reviewing the Tamil version, rated the album three and a half out of five and said that it "exasperates you when you listen for the first time."[109] Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff rated the Tamil version of the album three out of five and commented that, "Endhiran [sic] is, in fact, a perfect superstar album. Where the collection does manage to veer from the usual, Rahman has managed to add his own quirky, creative notes to the songs."[110] However, IANS gave two out of five stars for the Hindi version and concluded, "On the whole, the music of Robot does not appeal. They may suit the script of the sci-film, but the audio is not impressive."[111]

Release[edit]

Enthiran was released on 1 October 2010 in three languages – in Tamil as Enthiran, in Hindi as Robot and in Telugu as Robo.[2][112] The original version was in Tamil, while the Hindi and Telugu versions were dubbed.[2] The film was released in 500 theatres in Tamil Nadu,[113] 350 theatres in Andhra Pradesh,[113] 128 theatres in Kerala,[114] 23 theatres in Karnataka,[115] 1,000 theatres in North India and in 500 theatres overseas.[106] With an estimated budget of INR1.32 billion,[116][Note 7] Enthiran was India's most expensive film at the time of its release,[2][117][118] surpassing the Hindi film Blue (2009), which was filmed on a budget of INR750 million.[75][119][Note 9]

Enthiran became the first Tamil film to be released at the Colosseum Kino, a Norwegian theatre complex in Oslo,[120] and it was screened at the 21st Bath Film Festival, held in the United Kingdom in 2011.[121] Additionally, a version of the film, edited to a running length of two hours, was released in Japan in May 2012, and later screened at the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival, where it won a special award under the section "Winds of Asia–Middle East".[122][123] By public demand, the original, unedited version was later released in that country.[124]

Marketing and distribution[edit]

The first poster for Enthiran was released on 8 September 2008.[125] The film's trailer was released on 11 September 2010, at the Sathyam Cinemas theatre complex in Chennai.[126] To promote it, AGS Entertainment organised a festival from 25 September 2010 until the film's release date, in which they screened the popular films of Rajinikanth at the company's theatre in Villivakkam.[127] In Coimbatore, the Department of Posts printed 100,000 post cards advertising the film.[128]

Sun Pictures invested a total of INR500 million on promotional activities.[22][Note 7] Advance bookings for the film began two weeks before the release date in the United States. In the Jackson Heights neighbourhood in New York, tickets were sold out within ten minutes of going on sale.[129] Advance bookings in Tamil Nadu began on 25 September 2010.[130]

Distribution rights for both the Telugu and Hindi versions were sold to Gemini Film Circuit for INR200 million[Note 7] and INR300 million,[Note 7] respectively.[131][Note 10] In Kerala they were sold for INR50 million,[135][Note 7] while in Karnataka they were sold for INR100 million.[136][Note 7] The distribution rights in Mumbai were sold to Shringar Films, whereas Mukta Arts purchased the rights in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Eastern Punjab.[137] The United States distribution rights were acquired by FICUS Entertainment.[138] In the United Kingdom, Enthiran was released by Ayngaran International, while Robot was released by B4U Network.[1] The satellite rights were purchased by Sun TV.[116] DVD marketing in India was handled by Moser Baer;[139] Ayngaran International released the two-DVD set of the film in early 2011.[140]

Plagiarism allegations[edit]

Novelist Aarur Thamizhnadan made a complaint with the Chennai Metropolitan Police against the filmmakers in November 2010, stating that the producers plagiarised his 1996 novel Jugiba.[141][142] Thamizhnadan demanded INR10 million[Note 7] from the director and producers for damages.[143] Thamizhnadan filed a case against Maran regarding the same.[144] In June 2011, the Madras High Court dismissed the case after a petition filed by Maran denying the allegation was approved.[144]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Box Office India estimated the final domestic earnings of the film (including its dubbed versions) to be approximately INR1.865 billion,[Note 7] while overseas earnings were estimated to be around US$12 million as of November 2010.[145] According to a February 2015 report by The Hindustan Times, the film has grossed INR2.56 billion[Note 11] worldwide in its lifetime.[147] Enthiran became the highest grossing Indian film of 2010 ahead of My Name Is Khan and Dabangg and remains the highest grossing Tamil film of all time.[145][148]

According to Sun TV Network's report, Enthiran '​s box office collections accounted for approximately 30 per cent of the total revenue for the company's fourth-quarter in 2010, while also stating that Enthiran yielded a revenue of INR1.79 billion as of March 2011.[149][Note 7] In 2012, W. Hansraj Saxena, the former chief operating officer of Sun TV Network, told The Hindu that the film earned a worldwide gross of INR2.10 billion.[150][Note 12]

Critical reception[edit]

India[edit]

Enthiran received generally positive reviews from critics in India, with praise particularly directed at Rathnavelu's cinematography, Cyril's art direction, Srinivas Mohan's visual effects and Rajinikanth's performance as Chitti.[151][152] Aniruddha Guha of Daily News and Analysis gave the film a rating of four out of five stars and believed it had the "best special effects ever seen in a Tamil film" and that it was "one of the most entertaining Tamil films – across all languages – ever made."[153] Behindwoods judged it similarly, concluding that the visual effects and direction were so advanced that it represented "Indian cinema's pinnacle of evolution".[154] On Rajinikanth's performance as the rogue Chitti, the website stated: "There seems to be absolutely no one who can come even close when playing a devilish destroyer."[154] Both Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India and Kaveree Bamzai of India Today rated the film four out of five stars. Kazmi called it "the perfect getaway film".[155] Bamzai praised Rajinikanth's acting in the film and said, "Rajni tells us why robot sapiens are superior to homo sapiens".[156] On 13 October 2010, Ananda Vikatan wrote, "Director Shankar and his team must be appreciated for taking Tamil Cinema to the international arena in terms of technological aspects through their hard work."[157]

Kumudam gave the film a "Super" rating and surmised that "Enthiran is an answer to the longing of many Indians for an Indian film matching Hollywood standards."[157] Both Anupama Chopra of NDTV and Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff gave Enthiran a rating of three and a half out of five stars. Chopra directed her criticism towards the film's portions in the second half, citing that they were "needlessly stretched and cacophonous",[158] but concluded her review by saying, "Robot rides on Rajinikanth’s shoulders and he never stoops under the burden. Aided by snazzy clothes, make-up and special effects, he makes Chitti endearing."[158] Srinivasan, however, said that Shankar "strikes the balance between science fiction and masala quotient."[159] She concluded that, "Whichever way you look at it, Endhiran [sic] is one of those rare films that give you just enough material to pull you in, and enjoy yourself."[159] Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave a rating of three out of five stars and said, "In the end, it's the fantastic special effects and an inspired performance from Rajnikant [sic] that keeps the film fresh."[160] Mayank Shekhar from The Hindustan Times rated it three stars and said, "Leave aside jokes running on the Internet. This film, just a few feet too long, is fine entertainment by itself."[161]

Malini Mannath of The New Indian Express stated that Enthiran had "An engaging script, brilliant special effects, and a debonair hero who still carries his charisma effortlessly."[91] Karthik Subramanian of The Hindu said that "[a]ctors 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."[162] In contrast, Gautaman Bhaskaran of The Hindustan Times rated it two out of five stars, writing that "Shankar's work slips into a loud, overdramatic and exaggerated mess".[163]

Overseas[edit]

Enthiran has a rating of 67% on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on six reviews as of March 2015.[164] Lisa Tsering from The Hollywood Reporter said, "Rajinikanth is such a badass that Chuck Norris is afraid of him."[165] She praised the filming locations, especially the "Kilimanjaro" song sequence, but criticised the length of the film's climax portions.[165] Genevieve Koski from The A. V. Club believed that Enthiran was "pretty good" and concluded that "if you prefer elaborate costumes and dance music mixed in with your killer-robot action, expect to enjoy up to an hour of Enthiran."[94] Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle called Enthiran "the best apocalyptic sci-fi-romcom-melodrama-dance-off date movie of the year."[166] Roger Moore, writing for the Orlando Sentinel, gave a mixed review, evaluating it as a "melodramatic kitschy Indian musical about a robot built for national defense but who discovers his human side."[164]

After the film was screened at the Mumbai International Film Festival, American film director Oliver Stone praised Enthiran for being "original".[167] Conversely, Joe Leydon of Variety said that Shankar "riffs on everything" from Frankenstein to The Terminator, but suggested that the film was an "overwhelming mash-up of American-style, f/x-driven sci – fi spectacle and a Bollywood musical."[168] Akifumi Sugihara, the director of the Film Business division of Nikkatsu, remarked that the film was "rather unique, interesting, funny and marketable."[169] Miwako Fujioka, a member of the Japan-based Happinet Corporation, called Enthiran "a Bollywood Transformers type of film with a lot of Indian flavours in it."[169]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Ceremony Category Nominee(s) Outcome
National Film Awards 58th National Film Awards[170] Best Special Effects V. Srinivas Mohan Won
Best Art Direction Sabu Cyril Won
Filmfare Awards South 58th Filmfare Awards South[171][172] Best Film – Tamil Kalanithi Maran Nominated
Best Director – Tamil S. Shankar Nominated
Best Actor – Tamil Rajinikanth Nominated
Best Music Director – Tamil A. R. Rahman Nominated
Best Lyricist – Tamil Vairamuthu for "Kadhal Anukkal" Nominated
Best Female Playback Singer – Tamil Chinmayi for "Kilimanjaro" Nominated
Best Cinematographer – South R. Rathnavelu Won
Best Art Director – South Sabu Cyril Won
Best Costume Designer – South Manish Malhotra Won
International Indian Film Academy Awards 12th International Indian Film Academy Awards[173] Best Special Effects V. Srinivas Mohan Won
Best Art Direction Sabu Cyril Won
Best Make – up Artist Banu Won
Screen Awards 17th Screen Awards[174] Best Special Effects V. Srinivas Mohan Won
Spectacular Cutting Edge Technology Won
Tokyo International Film Festival 24th Tokyo International Film Festival[175] Winds of Asia – Middle East
(Special Mention)
S. Shankar Won
Vijay Awards 5th Vijay Awards[176] Best Villain Rajinikanth Won
Best Cinematographer R. Rathnavelu Won
Best Art Director Sabu Cyril Nominated
Best Female Playback Singer Chinmayi Nominated
Best Choreographer Remo D'Souza
Raju Sundaram
Nominated
Best Stunt Director Peter Hein Nominated
Best Make Up Artistes Banu Won
Best Costume Designer Manish Malhotra Nominated
Best Find of the Year Remo D'Souza
Madhan Karky
Won
Favourite Film Kalanithi Maran Won
Favourite Hero Rajinikanth Won
Favourite Heroine Aishwarya Rai Nominated
Favourite Director S. Shankar Won
Favourite Song "Kilimanjaro" Nominated
Edison Awards 2nd Edison Awards[177] Best Lyricist Pa. Vijay for "Kilimanjaro" Won
Best Art Director Sabu Cyril Won
Best Cinematographer R. Rathnavelu Won
Best Editor Anthony Won
Best Producer Kalanithi Maran Won
Best Choreographer Prabhu Deva Won
Best Action Peter Hein Won

Legacy[edit]

In a personal appreciation letter to Shankar following the film's release, director K. Balachander described Shankar as India's James Cameron, Enthiran as India's Avatar (2009) and Sun Pictures as India's Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.[178] S. Shiva Kumar of The Hindu said that Rajinikanth's style and mannerisms are similar to his performances in the films Moondru Mudichu (1976), Avargal (1977) and Moondru Mugam (1982).[179] Enthiran was the only Tamil film featured on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) list of the 50 best films of 2010.[180] The film was also included as a case study in a postgraduate elective course of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, "Contemporary Film Industry: A Business Perspective".[180]

Scenes from Enthiran, particularly one known as the "Black Sheep" scene,[Note 13] have been parodied in subsequent films, including Mankatha (2011),[182] Osthe (2011),[183] Singam II (2013),[184] Ya Ya (2013),[185] as well as in the Telugu films Dookudu (2011) and Nuvva Nena (2011).[186][187][Note 14] In the film, Chitti often introduces himself by stating the clock rate of his central processing unit and his random-access memory limit, which are respectively 1 terahertz (1012 hertz) and 1 zetabyte (1021 bytes). This introduction dialogue, which is spoken by Chitti as "Hi, I'm Chitti, speed 1 terahertz, memory 1 zettabyte." became popular.[83][192] Rajinikanth featured in a cameo role as Chitti in the science-fiction film Ra.One (2011).[193]

On Rajinikanth's 64th birthday, an agency named Minimal Kollywood Posters designed posters of Rajinikanth's films, in which the Minion characters from the Despicable Me franchise are dressed as Rajinikanth.[194] The digital art was hand drawn on a digital pad by Gautham Raj.[194] One of the posters depicted a mutated Minion, reminiscent of Chitti's "villain robot" look in Enthiran.[194] In March 2015, Kamath, in his review of the science fiction film, Chappie, compared the lead character, Chappie, to Chitti in terms of learning human emotions.[195]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The British Board of Film Classification gives the runtime as 166 minutes,[1] while the 2011 book The Best of Tamil Cinema by G. Dhananjayan and Amazon.com give it as 172 minutes and 177 minutes respectively.[2][3]
  2. ^ a b c d The exchange rate in 2008 was 49.82 Indian rupees (INR) per 1 US dollar (US$).[23]
  3. ^ Santhanam and Karunas had previously worked with Rajinikanth in Kuselan (2008) and Baba (2002) respectively.[36][37]
  4. ^ In filmmaking and video production, a crane shot is a shot taken by a camera on a crane or jib.
  5. ^ Vogt was also the costume designer for the Men in Black film series.[50]
  6. ^ According to Banu, an Oakley beard is "neither a French beard not a full beard". It developed as a result of shaping Rajinikanth's already grown beard.[57]
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l The exchange rate in 2010 was 45.09 Indian rupees (INR) per 1 US dollar (US$).[23]
  8. ^ The Doom Light Stage is based on an original research conducted by Paul Debevec at the ICT division of the University of California, Berkeley. The Light Stage systems efficiently capture how an actor's face appears when lit from every possible lighting direction. From this captured imagery, realistic virtual renditions of the actor are created in the illumination of any location or set, faithfully reproducing the colour, texture, shine, shading and translucency of the actor's skin.[88]
  9. ^ The exchange rate in 2009 was 46.29 Indian rupees (INR) per 1 US dollar (US$).[23]
  10. ^ Before the rights were sold to Gemini Film Circuit, in August 2010, Telugu producer Chadalavada Srinivasa Rao claimed to have purchased the rights for the Telugu dubbed version Robo for INR270 million,[Note 7] but the claim was denied by Sun Pictures, who clarified that the company had not yet sold any distribution rights to anyone.[132] After an initial unsuccessful attempt to take legal action on Sun Pictures, Rao lodged a complaint with the Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce against Sun Pictures, claiming that they had been "defaming and cheating" him.[133] After finally acknowledging Rao's purchase, Sun Pictures filed a police complaint initiating a formal investigation, which led to the arrest of two individuals for illegally trying to sell the film distribution rights.[134]
  11. ^ The exchange rate in 2015 was 61.8167 Indian rupees (INR) per 1 US dollar (US$).[146]
  12. ^ The exchange rate in 2012 was 54.47 Indian rupees (INR) per 1 US dollar (US$).[23]
  13. ^ The "Black Sheep" scene refers to a scene where Chitti finds Dr. Vaseegaran disguised as him amidst the robot army.[49][181]
  14. ^ The satellite rights of Mankatha, Osthe and Singam II were purchased by Sun TV.[188][189][190] Ya Ya was produced and released by Sree Laskhmi Productions.[191]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]