Theatrical release poster
|Produced by||Kalanithi Maran|
K. S. Jeyaram
by Aaron Lipstadt
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Running time||177 minutes|
|Budget||1.32 billion (US$22 million)|
|Box office||2.56 billion (US$42 million)|
Enthiran is a 2010 Indian Tamil science fiction techno thriller, co-written and directed by Shankar. The film features Rajinikanth in dual roles, as a scientist and an andro humanoid robot, alongside Aishwarya Rai while Danny Denzongpa, Santhanam, Karunas, Kalabhavan Mani, Devadarshini, and Cochin Haneefa play supporting roles. The film's story revolves around the scientist's struggle to control his creation, the android robot whose software was upgraded to give it the ability to comprehend and generate human emotions. The plan backfires as the robot falls in love with the scientist's fiancée and is further manipulated to bring destruction to the world when it lands in the hands of a rival scientist.
After nearly a decade of pre-production work, the film was shot over two years beginning in 2008. The film marked the Indian cinema-debut of Legacy Effects, which was responsible for the film's animatronics. The film's background score and soundtrack, which was composed by A. R. Rahman, became the best-selling world album on the iTunes Store in three countries within a few days of its digital release. The film released worldwide on 1 October 2010, along with its dubbed versions: Robo in Telugu and Robot in Hindi. Produced by Kalanithi Maran, it is believed to be India's most expensive film since its release.
The film received generally positive critical feedback at the time of its release. It was claimed to be the highest-grossing Indian film of all time, although because official box office records are not kept in India, this cannot be independently verified. The claim was disputed by Box Office India who proved that the film was second to 3 Idiots, however, it still remains the highest grossing Tamil film ever. It also went on to receive appraisals from notable celebrities in India and across the globe. The following year, the film won a number of awards during many ceremonies, including that year's National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards South, mainly for its art direction and special effects, handled by Sabu Cyril and V. Srinivas Mohan respectively.
Dr. Vaseekaran (Rajinikanth), a scientist specialized in robotics, creates a sophisticated android robot (Rajinikanth) in his own likeness after a decade of intensive research, for commissioning into the Indian army. Vaseekaran explains to his assistants Siva (Santhanam) and Ravi (Karunas) that the android must first be observed for its interaction with humans. His mother (Revathi Sankaran) suggests naming it Chitti.
At the International Robotic Conference in Chennai, Vaseekaran introduces Chitti to the delegates. In the meantime, it is revealed that Vaseekaran's mentor, Dr. Bohra (Danny Denzongpa) is preoccupied in a project to create a similar android. Meanwhile, Chitti endears himself to Vaseekaran's girlfriend, Sana (Aishwarya Rai) and helps her cheat in her medical school exams. When they are caught, Sana lies to the investigators that she does not know Chitti; thus Chitti learns that humans may choose to lie for self-preservation. In the train Sana gets molested by a large group of criminals while Chitti makes the save.
Vaseekaran prepares Chitti for a panel evaluation by the Artificial Intelligence Research and Development (AIRD) Institute, which is headed by Dr. Bohra. The panel enquires whether Chitti's build conforms to the Three Laws of Robotics of Isaac Asimov. Vaseekaran replies in the negative. During evaluation, Chitti stabs Vaseekaran at Bohra's command, though not fatally. Bohra convinces the evaluation committee that Chitti could not be relied upon in the battlefield as he can be easily manipulated to turn against his own men. Vaseekaran decides to modify Chitti's neural schema to allow him to understand human behaviour and emotions. Chitti gets angry once on Vaseekaran, which assures him and Sana that Chitti can now feel emotions. Later Chitti applies his text book knowledge of symphysiotomy to successfully handle the complicated childbirth of Latha (Devadarshini), Sana's friend. The procedure is covered live by the media. Dr. Bohra arrives to congratulate Dr. Vaseekaran on the achievement. He also lets Chitti pass the AIRD evaluation. Chitti then begins to see Sana as its romantic interest and makes advances. This triggers a confrontation between Vaseekaran and Chitti. Sana tries to explain to Chitti that to her he is only a friend and asks him to forget her. Chitti later deliberately fails in an evaluation conducted by the Indian Army. Enraged by the act of insubordination, Vaseekaran chops Chitti into pieces and throws it away in a landfill site.
Bohra retrieves Chitti's parts and reassembles it. He gives Chitti a new appearance, and embeds a "red chip" inside Chitti, converting him into a ruthless terminator. Chitti gatecrashes Vaseekaran and Sana's wedding, then kidnaps and imprisons Sana. Chitti begins to create replicas of itself and kills Dr. Bohra. Soon, Chitti's army of robots cause mayhem in the city and takes over the AIRD Institute. Vaseekaran undertakes the task of stopping Chitti. Disguised as one of the robots, he successfully infiltrates the AIRD Institute and instructs the police to cut power supply to the entire city. When Chitti and his army are about to run out of charge, they seize vehicles on the road and use the batteries to recharge themselves. Chitti eventually finds Vaseekaran, but as Chitti is about to kill him, the police force strikes AIRD. One of the robots is immobilized by a grenade explosion and is taken into custody by Vaseekaran. He uploads a worm into Chitti's network which temporarily brings down the robot army. Chitti identifies the source of the worm and sends a "self-destruct" command to the robot. The robots assemble in the shape of a giant and chase Vaseekaran's armoured bus. Vaseekaran uses the data he had backed up from the destroyed robot to de-magnetise the robot army, collapsing the giant formation. Chitti gets captured by a huge magnetic wall, allowing Vaseekaran to access Chitti's internal control panel, through which he instructs all the other robots to self-destruct. He removes the red chip, causing Chitti to calm down.
In a court hearing, the jury rules capital punishment for Vaseekaran, citing the large number of casualties and damages to public property caused by the robot army. Chitti, explaining to the court that the law allows it to be treated as material evidence, if not as a witness, explains that it was Dr. Bohra who caused Chitti's deviant behaviour. He shows the court, using his eyes as 3D projectors, the video footage of Dr. Bohra installing the red chip inside him. The court drops all charges against Vaseekaran, while ordering that Chitti be dismantled in order to avoid further mishaps of the same kind in future. Back at the lab, Vaseekaran tells Chitti to dismantle itself. While taking off its own parts one by one, Chitti apologizes to Sana and Vaseekaran for the problems it had caused. Vaseekaran comforts Chitti saying that the latter alone was not responsible for what happened. And that humans were responsible too as Chitti only learned from them.Chitti finally takes out its head, dismantling itself.
The plot advances to 2030 in a museum, where children are escorted by a guide which displays of Chitti's body parts arranged. The guide tells the students that Chitti was the most advanced humanoid robot ever created, but was dismantled "after sometime". A curious student (Shriya Sharma) asks why, to which Chitti's head responds, "I started to think".
- Rajnikanth as Dr. Vaseekaran and Chitti
- Aishwarya Rai as Sana
- Danny Denzongpa as Dr. Bohra
- Santhanam as Siva
- Karunas as Ravi
- Devadarshini as Latha
- Sabu Cyril as Agent Shah
- Kalabhavan Mani as Pachaimuthu
- Revathi Sankaran as Vaseegaran's mother
- Delhi Kumar as Vaseegaran's father
- Cochin Haneefa as Traffic Police
- Raaghav as College Rogue
- Shankar as a Military Officer
- Shriya Sharma as Curious Student
- Sugunthan as Police Inspector
- Shailaja as Doctor
- Rekha Suresh
After completing Nayak: The Real Hero in 2001, Shankar announced a project with Kamal Haasan and Preity Zinta titled Robo to be produced by the now-defunct production company Media Dreams. Despite announcing the project, due to a lack of backing, the project was canceled and Shankar began work on Boys. In 2005, Shankar made another project, Anniyan, which was mistaken to be the renamed title for Robot. In July 2007, Shahrukh Khan was signed on to be the male lead of Robot as well as the producer of the film. However, in October 2007, Shahrukh Khan and Shankar officially called off the project due to creative differences.
After further media speculation about Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Ajith Kumar being roped in, official reports surfaced in early January 2008, that Rajinikanth was finalized for the project. Later in January 2008, Ayngaran International and Eros Entertainment agreed to become the producers of Robot. The film was unable to keep the name Robot in Tamil Nadu due to the English title as the government there exempted entertainment tax to films with Tamil. It was confirmed in September 2008 that the film has been renamed as Enthiran.
In December 2008, Eros cited the failures of Drona and Yuvvraj for putting them under financial pressure. Soon, Ayngaran International too claimed that it was affected by the global financial crisis of 2008, forcing both production houses to sell the project. Eventually, Sun Pictures was reported to be the successor as producer. In the midst of production, Sun Pictures attempted to negotiate a deal with HBO Films to release the film with English subtitles in the West.
Apart from the original decided casting of Rajinikanth in the lead role, S. Shankar as director, and A. R. Rahman as film composer, the rest of the cast was named over the following year. Several heroines were approached to essay the lead female role with Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Asin Thottumkal, Trisha Krishnan, Shriya Saran, Priyamani and Nayantara. In late January 2008, Rai was announced as the heroine of the project and she later confirmed her appearance in the film to the news channel, Aaj Tak. For the lead antagonist role Amitabh Bachchan, J. D. Chakravarthy, Narain and Arjun Sarja were considered, but Danny Denzongpa was signed for the role. Comedians Santhanam and Karunas were signed up to portray important roles in December 2008.
Sujatha Rangarajan originally announced as the dialogue writer of the film, died during the production stages, with Madhan Karky Vairamuthu being named as his successor. Along with Shankar's usual directorial assistants, Manoj Bharathiraja, son of noted filmmaker Bharathiraja, was signed on to be an assistant director. Sabu Cyril was signed up as the art director, while R. Rathnavelu took up the post of the cinematographer, after K. V. Anand, Manikandan, Nirav Shah, Tirru, and Ravi K. Chandran all opted out. The music composed by Rahman would feature lyrics by Vairamuthu and Pa. Vijay, while Raju Sundaram would choreograph dance moves. The film would be edited by Anthony Gonsalves and visual effects by V. Srinivas Mohan. Manish Malhotra and Mary E. Vogt, known for her work in Inspector Gadget (1999) and the Men in Black series, together would be in charge of costume designs. Along with Vogt, Yuen Woo Ping, the stunt co-ordinator for Enthiran, and the leading US-based Legacy Effects—formerly known as Stan Winston Studio—who were responsible for animatronics in the film, made their Indian cinema-debut.
Filming began on 15 February 2008 in Chennai, when portfolio photographer Venket Ram did a photo shoot with Rajinikanth. Following this initial shoot, S. Shankar and R. Rathnavelu went on a world tour for location-hunting. The team visited Vienna, Austria; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Hanoi, Vietnam to pick suitable locations. The first three photo sessions were held with Rajinikanth in Mumbai and Chennai, with Aishwarya Rai featuring in the fourth session. The film's visual effects supervisor V. Srinivas Mohan revealed in a video interview that the film would be a pioneer in India, incorporating previsualization techniques for seamless rendering of the computer-generated imagery and animatronics.
The first schedule of the film commenced on 8 September 2008 in Peru, where a song sequence featuring Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai was shot under the choreography of Raju Sundaram and Claudia Bruckmann at the historic site of Machu Picchu. Other scenes for the song were finished off in the United States and then Brazil. Another song was shot in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Brazil. The shooting for the second schedule continued in the Indian state of Goa, where the initial talkie portions were filmed for ten days. The third schedule for the film included shooting in Himachal Pradesh for a song, which was then followed by scenes being canned in and around Chennai. Scenes featuring a Robotics conference involving Rajinikanth, Aishwarya Rai, Santhanam and Karunas were carried out at Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering and the Vellore Institute of Technology with over four hundred students being used as extras. A set depicting the Robot formation was created in a period of 45 days. The final schedule of filming was held on 7 July 2010, on which the entire cast and crew took part in a celebration on the sets, commemorating the completion of the two-year filming process.
The film's soundtrack, composed by A. R. Rahman, was released on 31 July 2010. It coincided with a promotional event held at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The soundtrack album's release rights were purchased by Think Music for 70 million (US$1.6 million). After the second day of release, the album reached number one on the Top 10 World Albums chart on iTunes in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, making it the first Tamil album to reach the spot. The Telugu album released on 6 August, while the Hindi album released on 16 August.
Tamil movies are typically dubbed in Telugu and released. In August 2010, a few media reports claimed that Sun Pictures had sold the distribution rights of Robo, the Telugu version, to Telugu film producer Chadalavada Srinivasa Rao in Andhra Pradesh for 270 million, who planned to release the film in the state under his banner 'Tirumala Tirupati Venkateswara Films'. The claim was later denied by Sun Pictures, who clarified that the company had not yet sold any distribution rights to anyone. Sun Pictures initially accused him of falsely claiming to have bought the rights. After an initial unsuccessful attempt to take legal action on Sun Pictures, Srinivasa Rao lodged a complaint with the Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce against the film studio, claiming that they had been "defaming and cheating" him. A spokesperson from the company said that "We bought the rights for 270 million and sent them 20 million as advance. Sun Pictures, from Chennai, has also sent us a letter acknowledging our purchase. But they have now sold the rights to Thota Kanna Rao for a slightly higher price. We have been deliberately defamed and cops too are refusing to register a case against them here." A formal investigation was launched following a police complaint from Sun Pictures and two individuals, Udhayakumar, a production manager, and Surendran, his accomplice and employee of Tirumala films, were arrested for illegally trying to sell the film distribution rights by creating a fake document that claimed the distribution rights of Robo were to be sold to Srinivasa Rao.
A controversy regarding the film's plot also originated that month as Indian author Vijayarke claimed that Enthiran's story was similar to that of his 2002 science fiction novel, Man Robot, and demanded a credit for himself in the film. Vijayarke claimed that he realized the similarity after hearing S. Shankar narrate the plot during the film's audio launch, after which he emailed the director with his novel's story, seeking clarification. Yet another scandal broke out after the release of the film when a Tamil novelist, Aarur Thamizhnadan, made a complaint with the Greater Chennai Police against the director and producer of the Enthiran, claiming that they had plagiarised the story idea from his novel Jugiba that was published in a vernacular magazine Iniya Udhayam in 1996. In 2007, the same group published the novel as the book titled Thik Thik Dheepika. Arnika Nasar, a popular science fiction writer, also filed a case with the Chennai Police stating that the film was made by Shankar after he had "stolen" the central plot from a novel Nasar had published before in 1995.
On 1 October 2010, the film opened in 3,000 screens worldwide, including 500 screens in Tamil Nadu, 300 screens in Andhra Pradesh, 128 screens in Kerala, 45 screens in Karnataka, and 750 screens in North India. The film was released by Sun Pictures in Tamil Nadu; Gemini Film Circuit released the film across North India, while Seven Arts released the film in Kerala. The film opened in 300 screens overseas. Ficus Movies handled distribution of the film in its different languages in North America. The film was also screened at the 12th Mumbai International Film Festival, the 21st Bath Film Festival, the 10th Tromsø International Film Festival, and the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival where it won a special award under the section "Winds of Asia-Middle East".
Enthiran received positive reviews from critics. On the review-aggregation website ReviewGang, the film scored 7.0/10 based on 9 reviews. Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave it 4/5 stars and said "On the whole, ROBOT is a crowd-pleasing and hugely mass appealing tale of android revolution with a thrilling plot, rich and imaginative screenplay, super action, astounding effects and most importantly, Rajnikant, who is the soul of the film. It's the Big Daddy of all entertainers. Miss it at your own risk!" Behindwoods gave the film 4/5 stars, highlighting the film's direction and visual effects. On Rajinikanth's performance as an antagonistic robot, the website claims that "no one other than Rajinikanth could have pulled off this character [...] exuding brilliance and charisma in every frame." Aniruddha Guha of Daily News and Analysis wrote, "The film has the best special effects ever seen in a Tamil film [...] Robot, simply put, is one of the most entertaining Tamil films – across all languages –ever made" giving it 4 stars. Nikhat Kazmi of Times of India rated it 4/5, calling it the perfect getaway film. Bhama Devi Ravi of Times of India gave 4/5 stars noting "Who would have thought you would root for anyone other than Rajni in his film?" Zee TV gave it 4 stars and noted "Rajinikanth, who enjoys demi-god status in India, has hit it big again. His latest film 'Robot' is a roller-costar ride, where you will see not one Rajni, but hundreds of them eating up helicopters, smashing cars, battering planet earth and creating havoc, like never before." Krishnakumar Padmanabhan of Rediff reviewed the Hindi version saying "In the end, this movie is as much about special effects as it is about Rajni" giving it 4/5 stars. Anupama Chopra of NDTV said that Rajinikanth makes Chitti endearing, while giving it 3.5/5 stars. Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff gave the film 3.5/5 stars and said "All said and done, this is a Shankar film where he strikes the balance between science fiction and masala quotient. Whichever way you look at it, Endhiran is one of those rare films that give you just enough material to pull you in." K. K. Rai from Stardust called the film "a good entertaining flick." and gave it 3.5 stars.
Oneindia.in said "Endhiran guarantees super fun for the entire family and Rajinikanth re-establishes the fact that what no body can, only Rajini can!" Kaveree Bamzai of India Today said "It's Happy Diwali, folks." Karthik Subramanian from The Hindu said "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." Moviebuzz from Sify said "Shankar's Enthiran-The Robot, will make you completely surrender to power of visual extravaganza and the technical finesse. His sci-fi dream project is groundbreaking, bigger but not better. Go for it for Rajinikanth, he is in rocking form. Taste the thunder."
Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN said "In the end, it's the fantastic special effects and an inspired performance from Rajnikant that keeps the film fresh" giving it 3/5. Mayank Shekhar from Hindustan Times gave a rating of 3/5 and said "Leave aside jokes running on the Internet. This film, just a few feet too long, is fine entertainment by itself." Bryan Durham from MiD DAY gave 3/5 and said "This movie deserves full marks simply for perfectly casting the ever-dependable Rajni and making the most of the VFX at its disposal. Take a bow, Shankar." Shubhra Gupta from The Indian Express gave 3 stars and quoted "If I had a choice, I would have headed off to Enthiran , wherein I could have experienced Rajinikanth the way he is meant to: in Tamil, surrounded by swooning devotees armed with camphor and coconuts." Sanjukta Sharma from Mint said "The star of the new Rajinikanth flick is its director; and love's a pain in a romcom about two depressed strangers. The acrobatics and gimmicks are all here—with superb production value and the kind of technology that have gone into making it, they look insanely cool." On the contrary, Gautaman Bhaskaran of Hindustan Times rated it 2/5, saying "Shankar's work slips into a loud, overdramatic and exaggerated mess."
The film also received good response from overseas. Lisa Tsering from The Hollywood Reporter said "Rajinikanth is such a badass that Chuck Norris is afraid of him. So goes the Internet lore of a 60-year-old South Indian screen icon so potent that fans build temples to him, women swoon and men just shrug and give up," further citing "The film's climactic battle scene drags, but that is a minor misstep. Writer-director S. Shankar has been working on getting this film made for the past decade, and he clearly is so thrilled to get "Robot" into theaters that his enthusiasm is infectious. Filmgoers with a taste for the absurd will be richly rewarded." Genevieve Koski from the AV Club stated "Before you go into Enthiran hoping for a something like an Indian Crank, nothing but high-octane action featuring K'nex-style robots, be warned: It isn't that. It can be loosely defined as a science-fiction/action movie, yes, but it's also an Indian movie made for Indian audiences, which means it gives over a lot—and I mean a lot—of time to the chaste romance between Rajinikanth and Rai, as well as many musical numbers."
After a screening at the Mumbai International Film Festival, American film director Oliver Stone praised Enthiran for being very "original". Conversely, Joe Leydon of Variety said that Shankar "riffs on everything from “Frankenstein” to “The Terminator”", but called the film "An overwhelming mash-up of American-style, f/x-driven sci-fi spectacle and a Bollywood musical." In a personal appreciation letter to S. Shankar following the film's release, K. Balachander described Shankar as India's James Cameron, Enthiran as India's Avatar (2009), and Sun Pictures as India's MGM. Frank Paiva of MSN Movies named Enthiran as the seventh best film of 2010. On 13 December 2010, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) announced its top-205 films of the world during the year 2010 amongst which Enthiran was in the top 50, holding the 39th spot with a score of 7.4/10. It is also the only Tamil film to be featured in this list.
Hansraj Saxena, Chief Operating Officer of Sun TV Network, claimed that Enthiran's revenue accounted for approximately 30 per cent of the total revenue for the company's fourth-quarter in 2010. He also claimed that the film, produced by Sun Pictures, yielded 1.79 billion as the company's revenue. However, his integrity came under scrutiny after he was arrested in July 2011 for cheating and intimidation of a distributor. Box Office India revised the "domestic gross" (including entertainment tax) of Enthiran as 1.4 billion (US$23 million) in early October. They estimated the final earnings of the film (including dubbed Hindi and Telugu versions) at about 1.865 billion "domestic nett" while overseas earnings were around US$12 million, thereby making it the second highest grossing Indian film at the time after 3 Idiots. Enthiran emerged as the top grossing Indian film of 2010 ahead of My Name Is Khan and Dabangg.
Enthiran grossed almost 580 million from all languages in the first weekend, and 1.17 billion in the first week. The film grossed 600 million in Tamil Nadu, 300 million in Andhra Pradesh, 120 million in Kerala and 40 million in Karnataka. In Chennai, Enthiran grossed 63 million in ten days. During the first week, the film's Tamil and Telugu versions fared exceptionally well, while the business of the Hindi version (Robot) remained poor, netting 113 million in the first week and 59 million in the second week. The film did a bit better at select single screens in Maharashtra but overall poor, especially in the regions of Delhi and Punjab. In the first week, Robot netted 34 million in Mumbai and Thane from 107 screens, 9.6 million in Delhi from 27 screens, and 5.6 million in Ahmedabad from 28 screens. The Telugu version Robo grossed 37 million as share in Nizam in three days
In Malaysia, Enthiran grossed $0.5 million in the first weekend from 80 screens and $2.9 million in two weeks thus ended up as all-time top five highest grossing Tamil film in Malaysia. In Singapore, the film grossed S$2.5 million from 22 screens. In the United Arab Emirates, Enthiran grossed $301,000 in the first weekend while Robot grossed $86,000. In the United Kingdom, Enthiran was released by Ayngaran International while Robot was released by B4U Network. In the first weekend, Enthiran opened at 11th position in the United Kingdom collecting £295,148 from 30 screens while Robot opened at 21st position collecting £62,134 from 41 screens. Enthiran had accumulated $785,837 by the second weekend from 34 screens in the United Kingdom. Enthiran opened at 12th position in the United States in its opening weekend collecting $1,520,108 from 64 screens, while Robo debuted at 17th position in its opening weekend collecting $481,680 from 36 screens and Robot at 34th position in its opening weekend collecting $364,390 from 39 screens. In Sri Lanka, the film lost its sheen at the box office as the audience found it "outlandish". According to Eros International, Enthiran had grossed 610 million overseas – including 200 million in the United States, 80 million across Europe, 170 million in the Middle East, and 510 million in South East Asia. Within months of the film's release, the Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners' Association lodged a complaint against Sun Pictures stating that the company cheated them of 15.4 million (US$250,000). The complaint also stated that they had incurred huge losses after screening the movie and many had demanded their deposits back.
In March 2011, the producers revealed that the crew was discussing the possibility of a sequel to Enthiran. Cinematographer Rathnavelu confirmed it and said that they were planning to start the sequel by retaining some of the crew, including A. R. Rahman, Shankar and Sun Pictures. It is expected to start once Rajinikanth finishes his work on his present commitments. V. Srinivas Mohan, the special effects supervisor of the film, ratified the idea a couple of months later.
- List of highest-grossing Indian films worldwide
- Science fiction film of India
- List of Bollywood highest-grossing films in overseas markets
- List of most expensive non-English-language films
- Overseas Box office of Kollywood films
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