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 and directed by S. Shankar. The film features Rajinikanth in dual roles of a scientist and an android, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as the scientist's girlfriend. Danny Denzongpa; Santhanam and Karunas appear in 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 girlfriend and is further complicated by a rival scientist intent on destroying all who stand in the robot's way.

After being held up in development for nearly a decade, the film was eventually shot over two years, beginning in 2008. It was the first production made by Legacy Effects studio, responsible for the film's animatronics, for Indian cinema. The film's 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, with critics praising Rajinikanth's performance, R. Rathnavelu's cinematography, art direction by Sabu Cyril and visual effects by V. Srinivas Mohan. It became the highest grossing Tamil film of all time and the highest grossing Indian film of 2010. The film won several awards, including two Indian National Film Awards, three Filmfare Awards, and seven Vijay Awards.

Plot[edit]

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

Vaseegaran prepares the robot for an evaluation by the Artificial Intelligence Research and Development (AIRD) Institute, which is headed by Bohra. During the evaluation, Chitti tries to stab Vaseegaran at Bohra's command. Bohra convinces the evaluation committee that Chitti cannot be used for war as it can easily be 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 burning building, and although the robot saves most of them, including a girl named Selvi, who was bathing at that time, Selvi flees from the live cameras covering the rescue, ashamed at being shown nude on television, and is hit and killed by a truck. Bohra agrees to allow one month for Vaseegaran to modify Chitti's neural schema, which would enable it to understand human behaviour and emotions. At one point, Chitti gets angry with Vaseegaran, demonstrating to him that it can manifest emotions.

Chitti uses Sana's textbooks to successfully handle the birth of Sana's sister, Latha's child. Bohra congratulates Vaseegaran on the achievement, and lets the robot pass the AIRD evaluation. When Sana congratulates Chitti by kissing it, Chitti develops romantic feelings for her. When Vaseegaran and Sana realise this, Sana explains to Chitti that they are only friends. Saddened by her rejection, 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, who has now reassembled itself, but is still damaged; Bohra embeds a red chip inside Chitti while reconstructing it, converting it into a ruthless terminator. Chitti gatecrashes Vaseegaran and Sana's wedding, and kidnaps Sana. Chitti then begins to create replicas of itself and kills Bohra. Chitti occupies the AIRD Institute and uses its robot army to cause mayhem in the city. Chitti informs Sana that it has acquired the human ability to reproduce and seeks to marry her, so that for the first time, a machine and a human being can give birth to a preprogrammed child, but Sana refuses. Chitti eventually finds Vaseegaran, but before he can kill him, the police appear. Chitti's war with Vaseegaran and thousands of army and police personnel leads to many casualties and destruction of property. Vaseegaran eventually captures Chitti using a magnetic wall, and accesses its internal control panel, through which he instructs all the other robots to self-destruct. He calms Chitti down by removing the red chip.

In a court hearing, Vaseegaran is sentenced to death for the damages caused by the robot army. Chitti explains that it was Bohra who caused his deviant behaviour, and shows the court the 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.

In 2030, Chitti is kept as 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).[4]

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.[5]

Production[edit]

Origin[edit]

After the completion of his debut Hindi film, Nayak (2001), S. Shankar announced that his next project would feature Kamal Haasan and Preity Zinta.[8][9] The film was titled Robot,[9] and was to be produced by the now-defunct company, Media Dreams, a division of the graphics, multimedia solution and animation company, Pentamedia Graphics.[10] The film was reported to be a futuristic techno-thriller set in Chennai in around 2200 or 3000 AD.[11][12] Despite completing a photoshoot with Haasan and Zinta,[13] the project was shelved due to scheduling conflicts for Haasan.[14] Shankar then started the pre-production work on Boys (2003).[9]

After Boys, Shankar's next directorial venture was entitled Anniyan (2005), which was incorrectly first reported to be Robot revived with a new title.[15] One month after the release of Shankar's Sivaji in June 2007,[16] Shah Rukh Khan was signed to play the lead actor in Robot, as well as produce it under his own banner, Red Chillies Entertainment.[17] However, in October 2007, Khan and Shankar officially called the project off, citing creative differences.[18]

After including Rajinikanth, Shankar rewrote the original script, which he had originally written for Haasan, to suit Rajinikanth's acting style.[5] Eros International and the London-based Ayngaran International agreed to be the film's producers.[10] The state government of Tamil Nadu granted tax exemptions for films being titled in Tamil.[19] As a result, the film was first renamed Enthiram,[20] but was subsequently altered to Enthiran.[14]

Sujatha Rangarajan was originally announced as the film's dialogue writer, but his death in February 2008 during the film's pre-production led to Madhan Karky being named his successor.[13] In December 2008, Eros International withdrew due to financial difficulties created by the box office failures of Drona (2008) and Yuvvraaj (2008);[21] they were followed by Ayngaran International also withdrawing, claiming that it was affected by the global financial crisis of 2008,[22] and was unable to fund the film.[23] The film was sold to Sun Pictures in December 2008.[24] In an interview with The Hindu, Shankar said that the script was his own idea, and that he "worked hard on every shot so that it doesn't bear even an iota of resemblance to anything you've ever watched before."[13]

Casting[edit]

Rajinikanth is smiling at the camera
Aishwarya Rai is smiling at the camera
For their roles, Rajinikanth (left) and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (right) were paid INR450 million and INR60 million respectively.

In January 2008, Rajinikanth was formally engaged to work on the project.[18] He was paid a salary of INR450 million[Note 2] for acting in the film.[26] Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was Shankar's original choice for the female lead when he was working with Haasan, but refused the role due to date issues. She was replaced with Zinta.[27] When Shankar revived the project with Rajinikanth,[18] contenders for the female lead character Sana included Deepika Padukone,[28] Priyanka Chopra,[29] Shriya Saran,[30] and Rai, who was ultimately selected, and was paid INR60 million.[31][Note 2] To prepare for her role, Rai translated her dialogue from Tamil into English and rehearsed them the night before the day of filming.[27] Her voice was dubbed by Savitha Reddy.[32]

For the role of Professor Bohra, Amitabh Bachchan, J. D. Chakravarthy, Narain, Arjun Sarja,[33] Sathyaraj,[34] and British actor Ben Kingsley were considered,[35] but Danny Denzongpa was signed, making his acting debut in Tamil films.[36] Denzongpa's voice was dubbed by dubbing artist Kadhir.[37] Comedians Santhanam and Karunas were signed up to portray Vaseegaran's assistants,[38] which was their first collaboration with Shankar,[33] and second with Rajinikanth.[Note 3] Television personality Raaghav played the role of Sana's neighbourhood bully.[41] "Ranguski", the name of a mosquito encountered by Chitti, was also the childhood pet name of Sujatha Rangarajan.[42] All the cast and crew members, except Rai, signed an agreement that they would not work on any other film for the next two years while Enthiran was under production.[38]

Technical crew[edit]

A. R. Rahman composed the film's soundtrack album and background score,[19] while Vairamuthu, P. Vijay and Madhan Karky wrote the lyrics for the songs.[43][44] Manoj Bharathiraja, son of filmmaker Bharathiraja, was signed on to be an assistant director after he approached Shankar.[35] 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.[45][46][47] Sabu Cyril was signed as the art director.[48] He also made a cameo appearance as Shah, the interpreter between Bohra and the international terrorist organisation.[49]

R. Rathnavelu was selected as the cinematographer,[50] after Nirav Shah, Thiru, and Ravi K. Chandran were considered.[51][52] Both Resul Pookutty and Kunal Rajan were selected to be in charge of sound designing.[53][54] Anthony and V. Srinivas Mohan were the film's editor and visual effects supervisor, respectively.[55][56] Manish Malhotra was signed as one of the two costume designers for the film,[57] the other being Mary E. Vogt.[Note 4] Yuen Woo Ping, known for his work in The Matrix trilogy and the Kill Bill films, was selected to be the stunt co-ordinator,[58] while Legacy Effects, a visual effects studio based in the United States, formed after Stan Winston's death in 2008,[59] were in charge of the prosthetic make-up and animatronics in the film.[58]

Costume design[edit]

Make-up artist Ojas Rajani told Nithya Ramani of Rediff that fifty-seven costumes were used for Rai in the film, and that a "Mexican tribal" look was used for her in "Kilimanjaro".[60] For Rajinikanth, make-up artist Banu told The Times of India that prosthetic make-up was not used, as the make-up artists did not want him to concentrate on the make-up for too long.[61] On Rajinikanth's look in the film, Shankar said, "Sivaji was just a sample of how young the star can look. In Endhiran [sic] he will look even younger." He elaborated that Rajinikanth waited patiently for two three hours to put on the make-up.[62] Additional make-up was done by Vance Hartwell, an employee of Legacy Effects.[63]

Chitti's looks were based on the G.I. Joe action figures. For Chitti's "negative robot" look, his hair was spiked and brown coloured lens were used for his eyes, whereas for Chitti's "good robot" look, green coloured lens were used.[61] The wig used for the rogue Chitti had a silver streak in the middle, and was made out of Yak hair.[64] The leather jacket of the rogue Chitti was designed by Vogt.[64] To make Vaseegaran look mature, the team made Rajinikanth sport an Oakley beard.[Note 5] Suits made of copper were used for Chitti's costumes.[66] To differentiate the voices of Vaseegaran and Chitti, Rajinikanth modulated his voice accordingly.[38]

Principal photography[edit]

For Sabu Cyril's sets, Shankar required around twice as much studio floor space than his last film. After rejecting Ramoji Film City for technical reasons, within six months Maran set up three air-conditioned studio floors on land in Perungudi owned by Sun Network.[67] Filming began on 15 February 2008, at AVM Studios in Chennai, when portfolio photographer Venket Ram did a photo shoot with Rajinikanth.[51] Following this initial shoot, Shankar and Rathnavelu went on a three-week world tour choosing exotic locations to film important sequences. The notable places the team visited were Vienna, Austria, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Hanoi, Vietnam.[68] By July 2008, three photo shoots were completed — two in Chennai and one in Mumbai.[69] The second photo shoot in Chennai was held in Nungambakkam.[70]

In December 2008,[71] the scene where Vaseegaran introduces Chitti at the international robotics conference, was shot at Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering and Vellore Institute of Technology, where over 400 students were used as extras.[72] The scene also featured Rai, Santhanam and Karunas.[72] Filming also took place for five days at the Ennore Port on the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines car carrier, Neptune Ace.[73][74] The action sequence where Chitti saves Sana from the thugs was filmed in Lonavla, under the supervision of Peter Hein.[75] Scenes featuring Rajinikanth as Chitti were shot for five days at the Perungudi Dump Yard in Chennai.[76] 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),[77] and Aluminium Composite Panels were also used to design the sets, reported to have cost INR50 million.[78] Filming wrapped on 8 July 2010.[79]

Rathnavelu used the 435 Xtreme camera,[80] and also wrote a 1600-page manual, in which he listed all possible angles from where the characters played by Rajinikanth could be filmed.[81] The robot Chitti featured in the film was a mannequin created in Los Angeles by Legacy Effects. A total of 100 technicians worked on its manufacture. After its usage in the film's production stages, the mannequin was returned to the Stan Winston Studio in February 2011.[82] For the crane shots,[Note 6] a crane manufactured by the Munich-based film technical company, Panther, was used.[83]

Song sequences[edit]

The residential section of the Incan city of Machu Picchu.
View of the residential section of Machu Picchu, which features in the song "Kilimanjaro".

In June 2008, Shankar and Rathnavelu, along with Ramji, the location designer for the song "Konjam Neram" from Chandramukhi (2005),[84] went to Austria, Germany, Peru, Brazil and Argentina to shoot "Kilimanjaro" and "Kadhal Anukkal".[85] Eventually, Peru and Brazil were chosen by Shankar.[86][87] When in Brazil, Shankar selected 100 girls for filming "Kilimanjaro".[85] The song was filmed at the ruins of the Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru,[86] making Enthiran the first Indian film to be filmed in Machu Picchu.[88] It was choreographed by Raju Sundaram and supervised by Fernando Astete, director of the Machu Picchu archaeological park.[86][89] Rai completed shooting for "Kilimanjaro" without rehearsals.[90] "Kadhal Anukkal" was filmed in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in northeastern Brazil.[87] "Boom Boom Robo Da" was filmed at Himachal Pradesh and Chennai.[38][91]

The shooting set for "Arima Arima", which was choreographed by Prabhu Deva,[92] was designed and constructed by Sabu Cyril at Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.[77] Filming of the song took place in April 2009 for 22 days.[92] Rathnavelu used clones of Rajinikanth, besides employing junior artists wearing masks of Rajinikanth.[93] For the song, "Irumbile Oru Idhaiyam", which was choreographed by Remo D'Souza and featured Rai and Rajinikanth as Chitti,[94] three different sets were used: one of copper, one of gold, and one in silver.[77] The song sequence, which was filmed in AVM Studios for eight days, was the last portion of the film's principal photography.[94] D'Souza incorporated the popping style of street dances.[94] According to him, the problems he faced were applying the dance movements with rigid costumes, and performing robotic movements in tandem with the dance movements.[94]

Visual effects[edit]

In December 2007, Srinivas Mohan became the film's visual effects supervisor after being impressed with the film's script,[95] and also requested Shankar to increase the filming schedules to include an additional six months of pre-production.[96] 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.[95][97] When Eros-Ayngaran were the producers, the planned budget for the visual effects was INR700 million.[Note 2] When Sun Pictures took over, the budget was reduced to INR200 million.[Note 2] 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 in animating his eyes, which would have been more time consuming and expensive.[98]

Realising that it would be a difficult task, Mohan requested Shankar to use previsualisation. To learn whether the technique would be beneficial to the film, Mohan conducted a series of tests where previsualisation could potentially be used. The first test was on the scene where Chitti jumps on the train to save Sana from the thugs. Out of the 60 scenes featured in the film, the technique was used for 40 of them,[95] consisting of 2000 takes.[56] Additional supervision of the previsualisation technique was done by P. C. Sanath of Firefly Creative Studios, a visual effects company based in Hyderabad.[96] 3D Storyboards were constructed using 3D animation programs for every scene in the film and were shot from different angles.[96] 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.[56]

The CGI was done at Legacy Effects and also at the Hong Kong-based visual effects companies, Kinomotive Studios and Menfond Electronics.[56] In the film's climax, apart from the backgrounds, the Sphere and Snake formations and the helicopters were created using CGI.[95] To create the robots which looked like Rajinikanth, a complete scan of his face was done using the Doom Light Stage,[Note 7] where his face was scanned in 3D digital format in all possible lighting conditions so that his face could be replicated on the mannequins.[96] The technique, according to Shankar, was previously used in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).[100] For every robotic mannequin used, six puppeteers were employed to control the mannequin's movements.[56]

Themes and influences[edit]

Enthiran focuses on the story of the battle between man and machine.[101] 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 does in other films, both to the damsels in distress and to the heroine.[101] Another critic from The Hindu, S. Shiva Kumar, said that Rajinikanth's style and mannerisms are similar to his performances in the films Moondru Mudichu (1976), Avargal (1977) and Moondru Mugam (1982).[102] Behindwoods compared Enthiran to Bicentennial Man (1999) as in the song, "Puthiya Manidha", Chitti is addressed as "Puthiya Manidha", meaning "New Man"; according to Behindwoods, "Never before, except in the movie Bicentennial Man, has a robot been referred to as human".[103]

Despite an early claim by Shankar that Enthiran was a purely original idea,[13] the film has often been compared to Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein, due to Chitti and Frankenstein's monster's similarities to go rogue and turn against their respective creators.[104][105] K. Moti Gokulsing and Wimal Dissanayake, in their book Routledge Handbook of Indian Cinemas, commented that Chitti was "manipulated by Bohra to become a Frankenstein - like figure on speed".[106] Genevieve Koski, writing for The A.V. Club, called the film "essentially Frankenstein via [Isaac] Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics".[107] Aniruddha Guha of Daily News and Analysis said that Chitti's pranks were similar to those featured in The Mask (1994).[108] Director and film critic Sudhish Kamath 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". He compared Enthiran to the Hindu epic, Ramayana by mentioning, "the villain even compares the abducted heroine Sana to Sita". 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."[4]

Although Shankar made an early claim that Enthiran would be made for all audiences, including those who may lack computer literacy,[109] 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, zigabytes and Asimov's laws of robotics.[110] The title of the song "Kadhal Anukkal" literally means "love atoms". The line "Neutron Electron – un neelakannil mottham etthanai" refers to the neutron and electron.[111] Asimov and the scientists Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein are mentioned in the song "Boom Boom Robo Da" in the line "Issac Asimovim velaiyo robo, Issac [sic] Newtonin leelaiyo robo, Albert Einstein moolaiyo robo", essentially comparing the robot to them.[112] The song "Irumbile Oru Irudhaiyam" also makes references to many technical terms; the line "Google-Kal Kanadha Thedalgal Ennodu" references the search engine Google, while the line "En Neela Pallale Unnodu Siripen" translates to "I will smile at you with my blue tooth", alluding to the wireless technology bluetooth.[113] Visual references are made to the Stephen Hawking-Leonard Mlodinow book A Briefer History of Time (2005), and the Steven Levitt-Stephen J. Dubner book Freakonomics (2005).[26]

Music[edit]

Main article: Enthiran (soundtrack)

The film's soundtrack album, composed by A. R. Rahman, was released on 31 July 2010 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[114] The release rights to the album were purchased by Think Music for INR70 million.[115][Note 8] 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.[117][118] The Tamil and Telugu versions were released by Think Music, while the Hindi version was released by Venus Music.[119] After the second day of release, the album 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.[82][120]

Release[edit]

Enthiran was initially scheduled for release on 24 September 2010, but was postponed due to the court verdict regarding the Babri Masjid demolition case.[121] The film was released on 1 October 2010 in 3000 theatres and in three languages—in Tamil as Enthiran, in Hindi as Robot and in Telugu as Robo.[2][122] 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,[123] 350 screens in Andhra Pradesh,[123] 128 screens in Kerala,[124] 23 screens in Karnataka,[125] 1000 screens in North India,[82] and in 500 theatres overseas.[82] With an estimated budget of INR1.32 billion,[126][Note 8] Enthiran was India's most expensive film at the time of its release,[2][127][128] surpassing the then record of the Hindi film Blue (2009), for which the budget was INR750 million.[72][129]

Enthiran became the first Tamil film to be released at the Norwegian theatre complex, Colosseum Kino.[130] The film was released in Japan in May 2012, after being edited to a running time of two hours, and was first screened at the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival. However, on public demand, the original unedited three-hour version was also released there.[131] The film was screened at the 21st Bath Film Festival.[132] At the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival, it won a special award under the section "Winds of Asia-Middle East".[133][134]

Marketing[edit]

The first poster for the film was released on 8 September 2008.[135] The film's trailer was released on 11 September 2010 at the Sathyam Cinemas theatre complex in Chennai.[136] Behindwoods, in its trailer review, wrote, "... go watch the trailer as soon as you can ... the countdown has begun and you don't want to miss any of the action. Endhiran – The Robot [sic] will soon take you by storm."[137]

To promote the film, AGS Entertainment organised a film festival where popular films of Rajinikanth were screened at the company's theatre in Villivakkam from 25 September 2010 until the film's release date.[138] The Department of Posts printed 100,000 post cards in Coimbatore featuring an advertisement of the film.[Note 9] The Department earned INR225,000 from their promotional activities.[139][Note 8]

A total of INR500 million was invested by Sun Pictures on promotional activities.[26][Note 8] 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.[140] Advance bookings in Tamil Nadu began on 25 September 2010.[141]

Distribution[edit]

Distribution rights for both the Telugu and Hindi versions were sold to Gemini Film Circuit for INR200 million[Note 8] and INR300 million[Note 8] respectively.[142][Note 10] Rights in Kerala were sold for INR50 million,[146][Note 8] while the rights in Karnataka were sold for INR100 million.[147][Note 8] The distribution rights in Mumbai were sold to Shringar Films, whereas Mukta Arts purchased the rights in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Eastern Punjab.[148] The distribution rights in the United States were purchased by FICUS Entertainment.[149] In the United Kingdom, Enthiran was released by Ayngaran International while Robot was released by B4U Network.[1]

Plagiarism allegations[edit]

Four separate allegations of plagiarism were made against the film. In August 2010, Indian author Vijayarke claimed that Enthiran's story was similar to that of his 2002 science fiction novel, Man Robot, and demanded a credit.[150][151] Tamil novelist, Aarur Thamizhnadan, also made a complaint with the Chennai Metropolitan Police against the filmmakers, stating that the producers plagiarised his 1996 novel Jugiba.[151][152] Thamizhnadan also demanded INR10 million[Note 8] from the director and producers for damages.[153] Science fiction writer P. S. Arnica Nasar also filed a case with the Chennai Police stating that Shankar had "stolen" the central plot from Robot Thozhirsalai, a novel Nasar had published in 1995.[151][154] Finally, M. V. Vijay Kumar, a professor of the New Horizon College of Engineering, issued a legal notice stating that the filmmakers used technical aspects based on his thesis and research papers.[155] All the allegations proved to be false.[156]

Home media[edit]

The satellite rights were purchased by Sun TV.[126] Ayngaran International released the 2 DVD set of the film in early 2011.[157] DVD marketing in India was handled by Moser Baer.[158]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

India[edit]

Enthiran received generally positive reviews from critics in India, with praises particularly directed at Rathnavelu's cinematography, Cyril's art direction, Srinivas Mohan's visual effects and Rajinikanth's performance as Chitti.[159][160]

Original version

On 13 October 2010, Ananda Vikatan appreciated the film and mentioned, "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", rating the film 45 out of 100.[161] Kumudam gave the film a "Super" rating, while saying that the film "is an answer to the longing of many Indians for an Indian film matching Hollywood standards."[161]

Behindwoods gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, highlighting its direction and visual effects. On Rajinikanth's performance as the rogue Chitti, the website claimed that "no one other than Rajinikanth could have pulled off this character ... exuding brilliance and charisma in every frame." before concluding that the film was "Indian cinema's pinnacle of evolution".[162] Kaveree Bamzai of India Today gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, and praised Rajinikanth's acting in the film, stating that "Rajni tells us why robot sapiens are superior to homo sapiens", before concluding her review by saying, "Happy Diwali, folks."[163] 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", and gave the film a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.[108]

Bhama Devi Ravi of The Times of India gave 4 out of 5 stars, noting "Who would have thought you would root for anyone other than Rajni in his film?"[164] Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff gave 3.5 out of 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 [sic] is one of those rare films that give you just enough material to pull you in."[165] In contrast, Gautaman Bhaskaran of The Hindustan Times rated it 2 out of 5, saying that "Shankar's work slips into a loud, overdramatic and exaggerated mess."[166]

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".[104] 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."[167] Sify said the film "will make you completely surrender to power of visual extravaganza and the technical finesse ... Go for it for Rajinikanth, he is in rocking form."[168]

Other versions

Reviewing Robot, Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama rated it 4 out of 5, calling it 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!"[169] Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India rated it 4 out of 5, calling it the perfect getaway film.[170]

Anupama Chopra, writing for NDTV, stated that Rajinikanth makes Chitti "endearing", while rating the film 3.5 out of 5.[171] 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", rating it 3 out of 5.[172] Mayank Shekhar from The Hindustan Times rated it 3 out of 5 and said "Leave aside jokes running on the Internet. This film, just a few feet too long, is fine entertainment by itself."[173] Reviewing the Telugu version, Sify said that it was "Worth a watch".[174]

Overseas[edit]

Enthiran received generally positive response from critics abroad. It has a rating of 67% on the review aggregator website, Rotten Tomatoes, based on six reviews.[175]

Lisa Tsering from The Hollywood Reporter began her review by saying that "Rajinikanth is such a badass that Chuck Norris is afraid of him.", and praised the locations where the film was shot, especially the "Kilimanjaro" song sequence, but criticised the length of the film's climax portions.[176] Genevieve Koski from the AV Club called Enthiran "pretty good", and concluded "If you prefer elaborate costumes and dance music mixed in with your killer-robot action, expect to enjoy up to an hour of Enthiran."[107] Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle said, "Good, bad, and weird in equal amounts, it's the best apocalyptic sci-fi-romcom-melodrama-dance-off date movie of the year."[177] Roger Moore, writing for the Orlando Sentinel, gave a mixed review, stating that the film was "A melodramatic kitschy Indian musical about a robot built for national defense but who discovers his human side."[175]

After the screening of the film took place at the Mumbai International Film Festival, American film director Oliver Stone praised Enthiran for being very "original".[178] 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."[179] Akifumi Sugihara, director of the Film Business division of Nikkatsu said, "The picture itself is rather unique, interesting, funny and marketable".[180] 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."[180]

Box office[edit]

Box Office India estimated the final earnings of the film (including the film's dubbed versions) at about INR1.865 billion "domestic nett"[Note 8] while overseas earnings were around US$12 million, thereby making it the second highest grossing Indian film at that point of time after 3 Idiots (2009).[181] According to a February 2015 report by The Hindustan Times, the film has grossed INR2.56 billion[Note 8] worldwide in its lifetime.[182] Enthiran emerged as the top grossing Indian film of 2010 ahead of My Name Is Khan and Dabangg,[181] and remains the highest grossing Tamil film of all time.[183]

According to Sun TV Network's report, Enthiran '​s revenue accounted for approximately 30 per cent of the total revenue for the company's fourth-quarter in 2010,[184] while also stating that Enthiran yielded a revenue of INR1.79 billion.[184][Note 8] In 2012, W. Hansraj Saxena, chief operating officer of Sun TV Network, told The Hindu that the film collected a worldwide gross of INR2.10 billion.[185][Note 8]

Awards and nominations[edit]

At the 58th National Film Awards, Enthiran won for Best Special Effects and Best Production Design.[186] At the 58th Filmfare Awards South, it was nominated in nine categories; it won for Best Cinematographer, Best Art Director and Best Costume Designer.[187][188] At the 5th Vijay Awards, it was nominated in fourteen categories and won in seven, including Best Villain and Favourite Hero for Rajinikanth, Favourite Film, and Favourite Director.[189]

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.[190] On 13 December 2010, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) announced its list of top-205 films 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.[178] The film has been included as a case study in a postgraduate elective course of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, "Contemporary Film Industry: A Business Perspective".[191]

Scenes from Enthiran, particularly one known as the "Black Sheep" scene,[Note 11] have been parodied in other films, including Mankatha (2011),[193] Osthe (2011),[194] Singam II (2013),[195] Ya Ya (2013),[196] as well as in the Telugu films Dookudu (2011) and Nuvva Nena (2011).[197][198] 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." also became popular.[96][199] Rajinikanth had a cameo as Chitti in the science-fiction film Ra.One (2011).[200] The music video for the 2011 song "Run the World" by Beyoncé shows her taming two drooling hyenas in reins in the style of a dominatrix, similar to how Chitti controls two robotic lions on leash in "Arima Arima". Hansraj Saxena commented on this, "We should feel proud that we are rocking, and that internationally, it (the scene) has been stolen".[201]

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. ^ a b c d The exchange rate in 2008 was 49.82 Indian Rupees (INR) per 1 US dollar (US$).[25]
  3. ^ Santhanam and Karunas had previously worked with Rajinikanth in Kuselan (2008) and Baba (2002) respectively.[39][40]
  4. ^ Vogt was also the costume designer for the Men in Black film series.[58]
  5. ^ According to Banu, an Oakley beard is "neither a French beard not a full beard". It developed as a result of shaping Rajinikanth's already grown beard.[65]
  6. ^ In filmmaking and video production, a crane shot is a shot taken by a camera on a crane or jib.
  7. ^ The Doom Light Stage is based on an original research conducted by Paul Debevec at the ICT division of the University of California, Berkeley. The Light Stage systems efficiently capture how an actor's face appears when lit from every possible lighting direction. From this captured imagery, realistic virtual renditions of the actor are created in the illumination of any location or set, faithfully reproducing the colour, texture, shine, shading, and translucency of the actor's skin.[99]
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n The exchange rate in 2010 was 45.09 Indian Rupees (INR) per 1 US dollar (US$).[116]
  9. ^ The term Paisa is a monetary unit used in several countries. In India, Nepal and Pakistan, the paisa currently equals 1100 of a rupee. In Bangladesh, the poisha equals 1100 of a Bangladeshi taka. In Oman, the baisa equals 11000 of an Omani rial.
  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 8] but the claim was denied by Sun Pictures, who clarified that the company had not yet sold any distribution rights to anyone.[143] 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.[144] 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.[145]
  11. ^ The "Black Sheep" scene refers to the scene where Chitti finds Dr. Vaseegaran disguised as him amidst the robot army.[56][192]

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