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 S. Shankar
Sujatha Rangarajan
Madhan Karky
(Dialogue)
Screenplay by S. Shankar
(Original Screenplay)
K. S. Jeyaram
Atlee
(Additional Screenplay)
Based on En Iniya Iyanthira and Meendum Jeano by Sujatha Rangarajan
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[a]
Country India
Language Tamil

Enthiran (English: Robot) is a 2010 Indian Tamil science fiction film co-written and directed by S. Shankar. The film features Rajinikanth in dual roles, as a scientist and an android, 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 is upgraded to give it the ability to comprehend and generate human emotions. The plan backfires when 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 being in development hell, the film was shot over two years beginning in 2008. The film marked the debut of Legacy Effects, which was responsible for the film's animatronics, in Indian cinema. The film's soundtrack album and background score, which was composed by A. R. Rahman, became the best-selling world album on the iTunes Store in the United States and the United Kingdom 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 was India's most expensive film upon its release.

The film received generally positive critical feedback at the time of its release, with praise directed at its cinematography by R. Rathnavelu, art direction by Sabu Cyril, special effects by V. Srinivas Mohan, and the performances of the lead pair. It became the highest grossing Tamil film of all time, and the second highest grossing Indian film at that point. The film won a number of awards in many ceremonies, including two National Film Awards, three Filmfare Awards, and seven Vijay Awards.

Plot[edit]

Dr. Vaseegaran, a scientist, creates a sophisticated android humanoid robot with the help of his assistants, Siva and Ravi, after a decade of research, for commissioning it into the Indian army. He introduces the robot, now named Chitti, at an International Robotic Conference in Chennai. Chitti later helps Vaseegaran's girlfriend Sana pass through cheating in her medical school exams, and also saves her from being molested by a group of thugs. Meanwhile, Vaseegaran's mentor, Professor Bohra, is secretly preoccupied in a project to create similar humanoid robots for a terrorist organisation.

Vaseegaran prepares Chitti for an evaluation by the Artificial Intelligence Research and Development (AIRD) Institute, which is headed by Bohra. During evaluation, Chitti nearly stabs Vaseegaran on Bohra's command. Bohra convinces the evaluation committee that Chitti cannot be used for war as it can be easily used to turn against its own men. Vaseegaran's first effort to prove Bohra wrong fails when he deploys Chitti to save people from a fire accident. Chitti saves most of them, including a nude girl named Selvi, from a bathtub, which is covered live by the media. Feeling disgraced at being shown nude on television, Selvi runs away but is fatally hit by a truck. After Bohra allows a month's time for Chitti to understand human behaviour and emotions, Vaseegaran modifies Chitti's neural schema. Chitti gets angry on Vaseegaran at one point, which assures him that Chitti can now emote. Later, Chitti uses Sana's textbook to successfully handle the birth of Latha, Sana's sister's child. Bohra congratulates Vaseegaran on the achievement, and also lets Chitti pass the AIRD evaluation. When Sana congratulates Chitti by kissing it, Chitti begins to see Sana as its romantic interest. When Vaseegaran and Sana learn of Chitti's love, Sana explains to Chitti that it is only her friend, but Chitti later deliberately fails in 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, who has now reassembled itself, but is still in ruins; Bohra embeds a red chip inside Chitti while reconstructing it, converting it into a ruthless terminator. Chitti gatecrashes Vaseegaran and Sana's wedding, then kidnaps and imprisons Sana. Chitti then begins to create replicas of itself and kills Bohra. Soon, Chitti's robot army cause mayhem in the city and take over the AIRD Institute. Disguised as one of the robots, Vaseegaran successfully infiltrates the Institute to stop Chitti and instructs the police to cut the city's power supply. When Chitti and his army are about to run out of battery charge, they use the batteries of road vehicles to recharge themselves. Chitti eventually finds Vaseegaran, but before he can kill him, the police appear. Vaseegaran uploads a worm into Chitti's network, which temporarily brings down Chitti's army. Chitti identifies the worm's source and sends a "self-destruct" command to one of the robots held captive by Vaseegaran. The robots assemble in the shape of a giant and chase Vaseegaran's armoured bus. Vaseegaran uses the data he had backed up from another destroyed robot to de-magnetise the army, collapsing the formation. A magnetic wall captures Chitti, allowing Vaseegaran to access Chitti's internal control panel, through which he instructs all the other robots to self-destruct. He calms down Chitti by removing the red chip.

In a court hearing, Vaseegaran is sentenced to capital punishment for the damages caused by the robot army. Chitti explains that it was Bohra who caused its deviant behaviour, and shows the court the video footage of Bohra installing the red chip inside it. The court releases Vaseegaran, while ordering Chitti to be dismantled. Left with no choice, Vaseegaran requests Chitti to dismantle itself. Chitti, while bidding farewell, apologises to Vaseegaran and Sana before dismantling itself.

Later in 2030, in a museum where displays of Chitti's body parts arranged, a guide escorts school children. The guide tells the students that Chitti was the most advanced humanoid robot ever created, but was dismantled "due to certain reasons". A curious student asks why, to which Chitti's head responds, "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 the completion of his début Hindi film, Nayak (2001), S. Shankar announced his next project which was to feature Kamal Haasan and Preity Zinta.[7][8] The film was titled Robot,[8] and was to be produced by the now defunct company, Media Dreams, which was a division of the graphics, multimedia solution and animation company, Pentamedia Graphics.[9] The film was reported to be a futuristic techno-thriller set in Chennai around 2200 or 3000 A. D.[10][11] Despite performing a photo shoot with Haasan and Zinta,[12] the project was, however, shelved due to scheduling conflicts for Haasan,[13] and also due to financial crisis faced by Media Dreams,[14] which led to Shankar starting the pre-production work on Boys (2003).[8]

Shankar's next directorial venture after Boys entitled Anniyan (2005) was at first mistaken to be Robot revived with a new title.[15] After the release of Sivaji in June 2007, there were various speculations regarding Shankar's next film.[16] Some reports claimed that Shankar was to do a Telugu film with either Chiranjeevi or Mahesh Babu.[16] In July 2007, Shah Rukh Khan was signed on to play the lead actor in Robot, as well as produce it under his banner, Red Chillies Entertainment.[17] However, in October 2007, Khan and Shankar officially called off the project citing creative differences.[18][19]

In January 2008, Rajinikanth was finalised to work on the project.[19] Shankar rewrote the original script, which he had written bearing Haasan in mind, to suit Rajinikanth's acting style.[4] Rajinikanth was paid INR 450 million for acting in the film.[20] Eros International and London-based Ayngaran International agreed to become the film's producers.[9] The film was unable to retain its original title, Robot, in Tamil Nadu, due to tax exemption by the state's Government for films having their titles in Tamil.[21] As a result, the film's title was re-christened as Enthiram, with the title being inspired from dialogue writer Sujatha Rangarajan's science fiction novels, En Iniya Iyanthira and Meendum Jeano.[22] The title was again renamed as Enthiran.[13]

Sujatha Rangarajan was also originally announced as the film's dialogue writer, but died in February 2008 during the film's pre-production stages. This led to Madhan Karky being named as his successor.[12] In December 2008, Eros International opted out of the film due to the financial pressure created by the box office failures of Drona (2008) and Yuvvraaj (2008).[23] Ayngaran International followed suit, claiming that it was affected by the global financial crisis of 2008,[24] and was not ready to fund the film.[25] The film was sold to Sun Pictures in December 2008.[26]

Cast and crew[edit]

Aishwarya Rai was Shankar's original choice for the female lead when he was working with Haasan, but Rai could not allocate dates for participating in the film and had to refuse the role then. She was subsequently replaced with Zinta.[27] When Shankar revived the project with Rajinikanth,[19] the contenders for the role of the female lead character Sana were Deepika Padukone,[28] Priyanka Chopra,[29] Shriya Saran,[30] and Aishwarya Rai, who was finalised; she was paid a salary of INR 60 million.[31] In order to prepare for her role, Rai rewrote her dialogues from Tamil to English and rehearsed them the night before the day of filming.[27]

For the role of Professor Bohra, Amitabh Bachchan, J. D. Chakravarthy, Narain, Arjun Sarja,[32] Sathyaraj,[33] and British actor Ben Kingsley were considered,[34] but Danny Denzongpa was signed up, thereby making his acting début in Tamil films.[35] Denzongpa's voice was dubbed by dubbing artist Kadhir.[36] Comedians Santhanam and Karunas were signed up to portray Vaseegaran's assistants,[14] leading to both of them collaborating with Shankar for the first time,[32] and with Rajinikanth for the second time.[b] Television personality Raaghav played the role of Sana's neighbourhood bully.[39] The character of Ranguski, the mosquito whom Chitti has an encounter with, was also the childhood pet name of Sujatha Rangarajan.[40] All the cast and crew members, with the exception of Aishwarya Rai, signed an agreement accepting that they would not work in any other film for the next two years while Enthiran was under production.[14]

"The script is complicated. That it had names like Rajni, Shanker and Rahman and the fact that it would be the most expensive film was interesting. I too wondered why people were backing out. I think it was the time factor and whether we would be able to finish on time. I weighed the pros and cons and decided I may not get anything as challenging."

— Rathnavelu, on how he was selected as the cinematographer.[41]

A. R. Rahman was selected to compose the film's soundtrack album and background score,[21] while Vairamuthu, P. Vijay and Madhan Karky were selected to pen the lyrics for the songs.[42][43] Manoj Bharathiraja, son of noted filmmaker Bharathiraja, was signed on to be an assistant director in the film.[34] Atlee, Shree and Karthik G. Krish, all of whom would later direct Raja Rani (2013), Damaal Dumeel (2014) and Kappal (2014) respectively, also worked as assistant directors in the film.[44][45][46] Sabu Cyril was signed up as the art director.[47] He also made a cameo appearance as Shah, an interpreter between Bohra and an international terrorist organisation which has ordered Bohra to manufacture 100 robots to perpetrate global acts of terror.[48]

R. Rathnavelu was selected as the cinematographer,[49] after Nirav Shah, Thiru and Ravi K. Chandran were considered.[50][51] Sound designing was done by both Resul Pookutty and Kunal Rajan.[52][53] Anthony and V. Srinivas Mohan were the film's editor and visual effects supervisor respectively.[54][55] Costume designing for Enthiran was done by Manish Malhotra,[56] and Mary E. Vogt, who was also the costume designer for the Men in Black film series.[57] Yuen Woo Ping, who was known for his work in The Matrix trilogy and the Kill Bill films, was the stunt co-ordinator for Enthiran.[57] Legacy Effects, an American special effects studio which is a part of Stan Winston Studio, and was formed after Winston's death in 2008,[58] were in charge of the prosthetic make-up and animatronics in the film.[57]

Principal photography[edit]

Filming began on 15 February 2008 at the AVM Studios in Chennai, when portfolio photographer Venket Ram did a photo shoot with Rajinikanth.[50] Following this initial shoot, Shankar and Rathnavelu went on a three week world tour for choosing exotic locations to film important sequences. The notable places the team visited were Vienna, Austria; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Hanoi, Vietnam.[59] By July 2008, three photo shoots were completed — two in Chennai and one in Mumbai.[60]

In December 2008,[61] the scene where Dr. Vaseegaran introduces Chitti at the international robotic conference, was shot at the Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering and also at the Vellore Institute of Technology, where over 400 students were used as extras.[62] The scene also featured Aishwarya Rai, Santhanam and Karunas.[62][63] Filming also took place for five days at the Ennore Port on the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines car carrier, Neptune Ace.[64][65]

In December 2009, the action sequence where Chitti saves Sana from the thugs was filmed in Lonavla under the supervision of Peter Hein.[66] Scenes featuring Rajinikanth as Chitti, the Robot, were shot for five days at the Perungudi Dump Yard in Chennai.[67] 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 went up to 65 feet in height,[68] and Aluminium Composite Panels were also used to design the sets, which was reported to have cost INR 50 million.[69] Filming wrapped on 8 July 2010, after which the entire cast and crew took part in a celebration on the sets to commemorate the completion of the two-year filming process.[70]

For the crane shots,[c] a crane manufactured by the Munich-based film technical company, Panther, was used.[71] Rathnavelu used the 435 Xtreme camera,[72] and also made a 1600-page booklet in which he listed all possible angles from where the characters played by Rajinikanth can be filmed.[73] The robot Chitti featured in the film, was a mannequin created in Los Angeles by Legacy Effects.[74] A total of 100 technicians worked to manufacture it.[74] After its usage in the film's production stages, the mannequin was returned to Stan Winston Studio in February 2011.[74]

Song sequences[edit]

View of the residential section of Machu Picchu seen in the song "Kilimanjaro".

In June 2008, Shankar and Rathnavelu, along with Ramji, who was the location designer for the song "Konjam Neram" from Chandramukhi (2005),[75] went to Austria, Germany, Peru, Brazil and Argentina for shooting "Kilimanjaro" and "Kadhal Anukkal".[76] Eventually, Peru and Brazil were chosen by Shankar.[77][78] When in Brazil, Shankar selected 100 girls for filming "Kilimanjaro".[76]

On 22 September 2008, six stills featuring Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai in "Kilimanjaro" were leaked onto the internet.[79] The song was filmed at the ruins of the Incan city of Macchu Picchu in Peru.[77] It was choreographed by Raju Sundaram and supervised by Fernando Astete, director of the Macchu Picchu archaeological park.[77][80] This led to Enthiran becoming the first Indian film to be filmed in Macchu Picchu.[81] "Kadhal Anukkal" was filmed in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in northeastern Brazil.[78] The song "Boom Boom Robo Da" was filmed at Himachal Pradesh and Chennai.[14][82]

The shooting set for "Arima Arima", which was choreographed by Prabhu Deva,[83] was designed and constructed by Sabu Cyril at Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.[68] Filming of the song took place in April 2009 for 22 days.[83] Rathnavelu used clones of Rajinikanth, besides employing junior artists wearing masks of Rajinikanth.[41] For the song, "Irumbile Oru Idhaiyam", which was choreographed by Remo D'Souza and featured Rai and Rajinikanth as Chitti,[84] three different sets were used — one of copper, one with gold and one in silver.[68] The song sequence, which was filmed in AVM Studios for eight days, was the last portion of the film's principal photography.[84] D'Souza incorporated the popping style of street dances.[84] According to D'Souza, the problem he faced was applying the dance movements with rigid costumes and also making robotic movements in tandem with the dance movements.[84]

Visual effects[edit]

In December 2007, Srinivas Mohan became the film's visual effects supervisor after being impressed with the film's script.[85] Mohan also requested Shankar to postpone the filming schedules so as to spend more time for pre-production, which, according to Mohan, would take place for six months.[86] Both Mohan and Shankar had visited visual effects companies like the New Zealand-based Weta Digital, and the US-based Industrial Light & Magic, Cafe FX and Tippett Studio, before partnering with Legacy Effects.[85][87] When Eros-Ayngaran were the producers, the planned budget for the visual effects was INR 700 million. When Sun Pictures took over, the budget was restricted to INR 200 million. As a result of this, 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 and the time consumed in animating his eyes.[88]

Realising that it would not be an easy task, Mohan requested Shankar to use the technique of previsualisation. To find out whether the technique would be beneficial to the film, Mohan conducted a series of tests where it was used. The first test Mohan conducted on previsualisation was on the scene where Chitti jumps on the train to save Sana from the thugs. Out of the 60 scenes which featured in the film, the technique was used for 40 of them,[85] while the number of takes were 2000.[55] Additional supervision of the previsualisation technique was done by P. C. Sanath of Firefly Creative Studios, a visual effects company based in Hyderabad.[86] 3D Storyboards were constructed using 3D animation programs for every scene in the film and were shot in different angles.[86] In an interview with Malathi Rangarajan of The Hindu, Mohan said that the entire pre-production work, from the 3D storyboards to the photo shoots, took one and a half years to complete.[55]

CGI was done at Legacy Effects and also at Hong Kong-based visual effects companies, Kinomotive Studios and Menfond Electronics.[55] In the film's climax, apart from the shooting sets that appear in the background, The sphere and snake formation and the helicopter were created using CGI.[85] To create the robots which looked like Rajinikanth, a complete scan of his face was done using the Doom Light Stage,[d] where his face was scanned in 3D digital format in all possible lighting conditions so that his face could be replicated on the mannequins.[86] The technique, according to Shankar, was previously used in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).[90] For every robotic mannequin used, six puppeteers were employed to control the mannequin's movements.[55]

Themes and influences[edit]

“So why not a Robot, I thought. The result is Enthiran. I can't repeat myself. I need challenges all the time,”

— Shankar, on how the film's script developed.[12]

Enthiran focuses on the story of the battle between man and machine.[91] According to A. Srivathsan of The Hindu, the scene where Chitti rescues Selvi from the fire, shows Vaseegaran not rushing to Selvi's rescue by immediately covering her with his shirt, which was something Rajinikanth unfailingly does in other films, both to the damsels in distress and to his heroine.[91] Another critic of The Himdu, S. Shiva Kumar, said that Rajinikanth's style and mannerisms are reminiscent of his performances in the films Moondru Mudichu (1976), Avargal (1977) and Moondru Mugam (1982).[92]

Enthiran has often been compared to Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein, due to Chitti going rogue and turning against his creator;[93][94] in the novel, Victor Frankenstein, a scientist creates a new living being which turns against him.[95] Genevieve Koski, writing for AV Club called the film "essentially Frankenstein via Asimov’s Three Laws Of Robotics".[96] Aniruddha Guha of Daily News and Analysis called Chitti's pranks similar to those featured in The Mask (1994).[97] Sudhish Kamath of The Hindu said that Shankar had taken a "sci-fi plot, moulded it within the trappings of his already complex mixed masala genre. The end product is a fascinating blend — “Enthiran” is simultaneously a superhero film, a sci-fi adventure, a triangular love story with a hint of the Ramayana (the villain even compares the abducted heroine Sana to Sita) and the message Shankar is known to churn out." He called Enthiran '​s similarities to The Terminator "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."[98]

Music[edit]

Main article: Enthiran (soundtrack)

The film's soundtrack album and background score, composed by A. R. Rahman, was released on 31 July 2010 at a promotional event held at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[99] The soundtrack album's release rights were purchased by Think Music for INR 70 million.[100] 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.[101][102] The Tamil and Telugu versions was released on Think Music itself, but the Hindi version was released by Venus Music.[103] After the second day of release, the album reached number one on the Top 10 World Albums chart on iTunes in the United States and United Kingdom, making it the first Tamil album to do so.[104]

Release[edit]

Enthiran was released on 1 October 2010 in 3000 theatres and in three lanugages — In Tamil as Enthiran, in Hindi as Robot and in Telugu as Robo.[2] The original version was in Tamil, while the Hindi and Telugu versions were dubbed.[2] The film was released in 500 screens in Tamil Nadu,[105] 350 screens in Andhra Pradesh,[105] 128 screens in Kerala,[106] 23 screens in Karnataka,[107] 1000 screens in North India,[74] and in 500 theatres overseas.[74] With an estimated budget of INR1.32 billion,[108] the film was India's most expensive film upon its release,[109][110][2] surpassing the then record of the Bollywood film Blue (2009), whose budget was INR 750 million.[62][111]

The trailer was released on 11 September 2010 at the Sathyam Cinemas theatre complex in Chennai.[112] Sun Pictures invested a total of INR 500 million on promotional activities.[20] On 15 September 2010, the Central Board of Film Certification gave the film a "U" certificate without the removal of any scenes.[113] Advance bookings for the film began two weeks before the release date in the United States. In the Jackson Heights neighborhood in New York, tickets were sold out in just ten minutes of its bookings opening.[114] The film's first show in Norway took place at the Colosseum Kino, a theatre complex located in the country's capital, Oslo.[115] The film was released in Japan in 2012, after being edited to a running time of two hours.[116]

The film was screened at the 21st Bath Film Festival,[117] and the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival where it won a special award under the section "Winds of Asia-Middle East".[118][119]

Distribution[edit]

It was claimed in August 2010 that Sun Pictures had sold the distribution rights of Robo to Telugu film producer Chadalavada Srinivasa Rao in Andhra Pradesh for INR 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.[120] 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 Sun Pictures, claiming that they had been "defaming and cheating" him. Murali, the nephew of Srinivasa Rao. stated that the distribution rights for Robo were brought for INR 270 million and that INR 20 million was sent to Sun Pictures as an advance. A response sent by Sun Pictures stated its acknowledgement of Srinivasa Rao's purchase.[121] A formal investigation was launched following a police complaint from Sun Pictures and two individuals, Udhayakumar and Surendran, were arrested for illegally trying to sell the film distribution rights by creating fake documents that claimed the distribution rights of Robo were to be sold to Srinivasa Rao.[122] The distribution rights for both the Telugu and Hindi versions were sold to Gemini Film Circuit.[123] The distribution rights in Kerala were sold to G. P. Vijayakumar for INR 50 million,[124] while the rights in Karnataka were sold to Mohan Kumar for INR 100 million.[125]

Plagiarism allegations[edit]

An allegation of plagiarism regarding the film's plot originated in August 2010 when 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 realised the similarity after hearing Shankar narrate the plot during the film's audio launch, after which he emailed the director with his novel's story, seeking clarification.[126][127]

Another allegation broke out after the release of the film when a Tamil novelist, Aarur Thamizhnadan, made a complaint with the Chennai Metropolitan Police against the director and producer of the Enthiran, stating that they had plagiarised the idea for Enthiran's story from his novel Jugiba that was published in a vernacular magazine Iniya Udhayam in 1996.[127][128] In 2007, the same group published the novel as the book titled Thik Thik Dheepika.[129] Thamizhnadan also demanded INR 10 million from the director and producers as damages.[130]

A science fiction writer, P. S. Arnica Nasar, also filed a case with the Chennai Police stating that the film was made by Shankar after he had "stolen" the central plot from Robot Thozhirsalai, a novel Nasar had published in 1995.[127][131] M. V. Vijay Kumar, a professor of the New Horizon College of Engineering, issued a legal notice stating that the film's crew used technical aspects, which are based on his thesis and research papers.[132]

Piracy[edit]

The first case of piracy in Tamil Nadu occurred on 7 October 2010, where 47 CDs of the film were seized in Papanasam.[133] Pirated DVDs of the film were also seized in Ukkadam,[134] Nilgiris, Coimbatore,[135][136] Tiruppur, Erode, Namakkal, Salem Rural, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts of Tamil Nadu.[136]

The first case of piracy in Chennai occurred on 8 October 2010, when the Chennai Metropolitan Police conducted raids at five locations in Tambaram and Selaiyur and around 100 CDs of the film were seized.[137] Another case occurred on 9 November 2010 in the Korattur and Padi areas of Chennai where 5000 pirated CDs, including those of Enthiran, were seized.[138]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

India[edit]

Enthiran received generally positive reviews from critics.[139] Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave it four out of five 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, Rajinikanth, who is the soul of the film. It's the Big Daddy of all entertainers. Miss it at your own risk!"[140] Behindwoods.com 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."[141] 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 4/5 stars.[97]

Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India rated it 4/5, calling it the perfect getaway film.[142] Bhama Devi Ravi of The Times of India gave 4/5 stars noting "Who would have thought you would root for anyone other than Rajni in his film?"[143] 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."[144] Krishnakumar Padmanabhan of Rediff.com 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.[145] Anupama Chopra, writing for NDTV, stated that Rajinikanth makes Chitti endearing, while giving it 3.5/5 stars.[146] Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff.com 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."[147]

Kaveree Bamzai of India Today said "It's Happy Diwali, folks."[148] 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."[149] 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."[150] Malini Mannath of The New Indian Express said: "An engaging script, brilliant special effects, and a debonair hero who still carries his charisma effortlessly. And for the viewer, a larger than life experience".[93]

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.[151] 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."[152] 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."[153] 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."[154] 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."[155] On the contrary, Gautaman Bhaskaran of Hindustan Times rated it 2/5, saying "Shankar's work slips into a loud, overdramatic and exaggerated mess."[156] In a personal appreciation letter to 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.[157]

Overseas[edit]

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."[158] 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."[96]

After a screening at the Mumbai International Film Festival, American film director Oliver Stone praised Enthiran for being very "original".[159] 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."[160] Frank Paiva of MSN Movies named Enthiran as the seventh best film of 2010.[161] Akifumi Sugihara, director of the Film Business division of Nikkatsu said, "The picture itself is rather unique, interesting, funny and marketable".[116] 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.[162] It is also the only Tamil film to be featured in this list.[163]

Box office[edit]

India[edit]

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.[164] He also claimed that the film, produced by Sun Pictures, yielded INR 1.79 billion as the company's revenue.[165][166][167][168][169][170][171][172][173] However, his integrity came under scrutiny after he was arrested in July 2011 for cheating and intimidation of a distributor.[174]

Box Office India estimated the final earnings of the film (including dubbed Hindi and Telugu versions) at about INR 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.[175] Enthiran emerged as the top grossing Indian film of 2010 ahead of My Name Is Khan and Dabangg.[175] and remains the highest grossing Tamil film of all time.[167]

Enthiran grossed almost INR 580 million from all languages in the first weekend,[176] and INR 1.17 billion in the first week.[177] The film grossed INR600 million in Tamil Nadu, INR300 million in Andhra Pradesh, INR130 million in Kerala[178] and INR40 million in Karnataka in its first week.[177] In Chennai, Enthiran grossed INR 63 million in ten days.[179] During the first week, the film's Tamil and Telugu versions fared exceptionally well, while the business of the Hindi version (Robot) remained poor,[180] netting INR 113 million in the first week[181] and INR 59 million in the second week.[182] The film did a bit better at select single screens in Maharashtra but overall poor, especially in the regions of Delhi and Punjab.[183][184] In the first week, Robot netted INR 34 million in Mumbai and Thane from 107 screens, INR 9.6 million in Delhi from 27 screens, and INR 5.6 million in Ahmedabad from 28 screens.[185] The Telugu version Robo grossed INR 37 million as share in Nizam in three days[186][187][188] The film became the biggest earner ever in the Chennai circuit, netting over INR169 million (US$2.7 million) there.[189]

Overseas[edit]

In Malaysia, Enthiran grossed $0.5 million in the first weekend from 80 screens[190][191] and $2.9 million in two weeks[192] thus ended up as all-time top five highest grossing Tamil film in Malaysia.[193] In Singapore, the film grossed S$2.5 million from 22 screens.[194] In the United Arab Emirates, Enthiran grossed $301,000 in the first weekend while Robot grossed $86,000.[195] In the United Kingdom, Enthiran was released by Ayngaran International while Robot was released by B4U Network.[196] 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.[197] Enthiran had accumulated $785,837 by the second weekend from 34 screens in the United Kingdom.[198] 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.[199][200][201] In Sri Lanka, the film lost its sheen at the box office as the audience found it "outlandish".[202] According to Eros International, Enthiran had grossed INR 610 million overseas – including INR 200 million in the United States, INR 80 million across Europe, INR 170 million in the Middle East, and INR 510 million in South East Asia.[193][203] 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 INR15.4 million (US$240,000). The complaint also stated that they had incurred huge losses after screening the movie and many had demanded their deposits back.[204]

Accolades[edit]

Award Ceremony Category Nominee(s) Outcome
National Film Awards 58th National Film Awards[205] Best Special Effects V. Srinivas Mohan Won
Best Art Direction Sabu Cyril Won
Filmfare Awards South 58th Filmfare Awards South[206][207] 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[208] Best Special Effects V. Srinivas Mohan Won
Best Art Direction Sabu Cyril Won
Best Make-up Artist Banu Won
Screen Awards 17th Screen Awards[209] Best Special Effects V. Srinivas Mohan Won
Spectacular Cutting Edge Technology Won
Tokyo International Film Festival 24th Tokyo International Film Festival[119] Winds of Asia-Middle East
(Special Mention)
S. Shankar Won
Vijay Awards 5th Vijay Awards[210] 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[211] 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

In popular culture[edit]

Scenes from the film have been parodied in Mankatha (2011),[212] Osthe (2011),[213] Singam II (2013),[214] Ya Ya (2013),[215] and also in the Telugu films Dookudu (2011) and Nuvva Nena (2011).[216][217] Rajinikanth went on to reprise the role of Chitti in the Bollywood science fiction film Ra.One (2011) in a cameo role.[218]

Possible sequel[edit]

In February 2011, it was reported that the crew was discussing the possibility of a sequel to Enthiran.[219] R. 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. In March 2011, The Times of India said that production might start "once Rajinikanth completes Rana".[220] V. Srinivas Mohan, the special effects supervisor of the film, ratified the idea a couple of months later.[221] Behindwoods.com reported in June 2014, that Reliance Entertainment apparently showed "strong interest" in producing the sequel,[222] but as of November 2014, the planned sequel has not materialised.[223]

See also[edit]

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. ^ Santhanam and Karunas had previously worked with Rajinikanth in Kuselan (2008) and Baba (2002) respectively.[37][38]
  3. ^ In filmmaking and video production, a crane shot is a shot taken by a camera on a crane or jib.
  4. ^ 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.[89]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]