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
Budget 1.32 billion (US$20 million)[3]

Enthiran (English: Robot) is a 2010 Indian Tamil-language science fiction film directed by S. Shankar and co-written by him and Sujatha Rangarajan. The film stars Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai in lead roles; Danny Denzongpa, Santhanam and Karunas play supporting roles. The soundtrack album and background score were composed by A. R. Rahman while the dialogues, cinematography, editing and art direction were handled by Madhan Karky, R. Rathnavelu, Anthony and Sabu Cyril respectively.

The story revolves around the struggle of scientist Dr. Vaseegaran (played by Rajinikanth) to control his creation, an android named Chitti (also played by Rajinikanth), after Chitti's software is upgraded to give it the ability to comprehend and exhibit human emotions. The project backfires when the robot falls in love with the scientist's girlfriend (Rai), and is manipulated by Bohra (Denzongpa), a rival scientist, into becoming homicidal.

After being stalled in the development phase for nearly a decade, the film's principal photography began in 2008 and lasted two years. Enthiran marked the debut of Legacy Effects studio (which was responsible for the film's prosthetic make-up and animatronics) in Indian cinema. 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 up to that point.

The film received generally positive reviews upon release. Critics were particularly appreciative of Rajinikanth's performance, Rathnavelu's cinematography, Cyril's art direction and the visual effects by V. Srinivas Mohan. Enthiran emerged as the top-earning Indian film of 2010 and is the third highest-grossing South Indian film of all time after Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) and Kabali (2016). It won two Indian National Film Awards, three Filmfare Awards, seven Vijay Awards and two Screen Awards. A spiritual successor, titled 2.0, is scheduled for release in 2017.

Plot

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

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

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

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

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

The film's setting then shifts to 2030. Chitti is now a museum exhibit. A curious school student on excursion asks her guide why it was dismantled, to which Chitti responds, "Naan sinthikka arambichen" (English: I started thinking).

Cast

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 it out and say I was being too human. After four to five days of shooting, we found a rhythm.

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

Production

Origin

Following the completion of his first directorial venture in Hindi, Nayak (2001), S. Shankar announced his next project, Robot, which was to feature Kamal Haasan and Preity Zinta.[8][9] The film was to be produced by the now-defunct company Media Dreams, a division of Pentamedia Graphics.[9][10] The film was reported to be a futuristic techno-thriller set in Chennai in around 2200 or 3000 AD.[11][12] Despite the completion of a photoshoot featuring Haasan and Zinta,[13] the project was shelved as a result of scheduling conflicts with Haasan.[14] Shankar consequently started work on Boys (2003).[9]

After Boys, Shankar began work on his next feature starring Vikram, which was initially reported by Rediff to be Robot revived,[15] but was later revealed as Anniyan (2005).[16][17] One month post the release of his action film Sivaji in June 2007, he approached Shah Rukh Khan for the lead in Robot. Khan was about to produce it under his own banner, Red Chillies Entertainment, but in October the same year the project was officially aborted due to creative differences between the two.[18][19]

The project was revived in January 2008 with Eros International and the London-based production company Ayngaran International willing to produce the film.[10] The state government of Tamil Nadu granted tax exemptions for films titled in Tamil, resulting in the new production being renamed Enthiran.[14] While Sujatha Rangarajan was originally assigned to write the dialogue for the film, Madhan Karky took over after Rangarajan's death in February 2008.[13] In December 2008, Eros International withdrew after financial difficulties caused by the box-office failure of Drona (2008) and Yuvvraaj (2008),[20] with the subsequent departure of Ayngaran International, who struggled with the global financial crisis of 2008.[21] The film's production and release rights were sold to Sun Pictures.[22]

Cast and crew

For their roles, Rajinikanth (left) and Rai (right) were paid 450 million and 60 million respectively.

In January 2008, Rajinikanth accepted the lead role in the film for a salary of 450 million (Indian rupees).[19][23][Note 2] Shankar rewrote the original script to suit Rajinikanth's acting style.[4] In an interview with the Tamil channel Sun TV, held shortly after the film's release in October 2010, Rajinikanth revealed that Shankar, following the release of his Indian in 1996, had approached and pitched three storylines for him to consider for his next venture. Rajinikanth was impressed with two of the scripts and agreed to star in the films, which became Sivaji and Enthiran. The third script narrated by Shankar focused on an aspiring bodybuilder; it eventually became I (2015).[25]

Although Aishwarya Rai was Shankar's original choice for the female lead in 2001, she declined it owing to a busy schedule and was replaced by Zinta.[26] When Shankar revived the project with Rajinikanth,[19] contenders for the part included Deepika Padukone,[27] Shriya Saran and Rai, who was ultimately selected and paid 60 million.[28][29][Note 2] Rai's voice was dubbed by Savitha Reddy.[30][Note 3]

Several actors were considered for the role of Professor Bohra, including Amitabh Bachchan,[31] J. D. Chakravarthy,[31] Sathyaraj and British actor Ben Kingsley,[32][33] but it was Danny Denzongpa who eventually received it, making Enthiran his first film in Tamil.[34] Dubbing for Denzongpa was provided by Kadhir.[35] Comedians Santhanam and Karunas were cast to portray Vaseegaran's assistants Siva and Ravi respectively in their first collaboration with Shankar.[36]

The soundtrack album and background score were composed by A. R. Rahman.[37] Vairamuthu, P. Vijay and Madhan Karky authored the lyrics for the songs.[37][38] Manoj Bharathiraja, son of filmmaker P. Bharathiraja, was signed on to be an assistant director after he approached Shankar.[33] Also working as assistant directors were Atlee,[39] Shree and Karthik G. Krish.[40][41] Sabu Cyril, in a guest appearance as Shah, an interpreter between Bohra and the terrorist organisation, was signed as the art director.[6][42]

R. Rathnavelu was hired as the cinematographer after Ravi K. Chandran,[43] Nirav Shah and Thiru were considered.[44][45] Anthony was the film's editor.[46] Yuen Woo Ping, known for his work in The Matrix trilogy and the Kill Bill films, was selected to be the stunt co-ordinator,[47] while Legacy Effects, a visual effects studio based in the United States, were in charge of the prosthetic make-up and animatronics in the film.[47] Munich-based film technical company, Panther, were responsible for the crane shots.[48][Note 4] The film's subtitle captioning was done by Rekha Haricharan.[49]

Costume design

Manish Malhotra and Mary E. Vogt were chosen to design the film's costumes.[50][Note 5] Fifty-seven costumes were used for Rai, including a "Mexican tribal" look that she sported during the filming of the "Kilimanjaro" segment.[51] According to make-up artist Banu, no prosthetics were used for Rajinikanth to avoid bothering him by withholding his time on set.[52] Additional make-up was by Vance Hartwell, an employee of Legacy Effects.[53]

The visual appearance of Chitti was based on the G.I. Joe action figures. For Chitti's "villain robot" look, its hair was spiked and brown coloured lenses were used for its eyes, whereas for its "good robot" look, green coloured lenses were used.[52] The wig used for Chitti's "villain robot" look had a silver streak in the middle, made out of Yak hair,[54] while its leather jacket was designed by Vogt.[54] To make Vaseegaran look mature, the team made Rajinikanth sport an Oakley beard.[Note 6] Suits made of copper were used for Chitti's costumes.[56]

Principal photography

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

For Sabu Cyril's sets, Shankar required approximately twice as much studio floor space as for his previous film. After rejecting Ramoji Film City for technical reasons, Enthiran's producer, Kalanithi Maran, took six months to set up three air-conditioned studio floors on land in Perungudi owned by Sun TV Network.[57] Filming began on 15 February 2008 at AVM Studios in Chennai.[45] After the initial stages of filming, Shankar and Rathnavelu toured the world for three weeks, scouting for exotic filming locations.[58] They visited Austria, Germany, Peru, Brazil and Argentina, looking for a backdrop to shoot the "Kilimanjaro" and "Kadhal Anukkal" segments,[59] eventually deciding on Peru and Brazil.[60][61] "Kilimanjaro" was filmed at the ruins of the Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru, with some 100 Brazilian extras.[59][60] It was choreographed by Raju Sundaram and supervised by Fernando Astete, director of the Machu Picchu archaeological park.[60][62] "Kadhal Anukkal" was filmed in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in northeastern Brazil.[61]

The set for "Arima Arima", a sequence choreographed by Prabhu Deva,[63] was designed and constructed by Sabu Cyril at Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.[64] Filming of the number took place over 22 days in April 2009.[63] Junior artists were employed by Rathnavelu to wear masks of Rajinikanth.[65] For the sequence entitled "Irumbile Oru Irudhaiyam", choreographed by Remo D'Souza and featuring Rai and Rajinikanth as Chitti,[66] three different sets were used: one of copper, one of gold and one in silver.[64] The musical number, which was filmed in AVM Studios for eight days, was the last portion of the film's principal photography.[66] D'Souza incorporated the popping style of street dances, but encountered difficulties in performing the dance movements in tandem with the robot, and with the restrictions created by the rigid costumes.[66]

The filming for Chitti's introduction to the international robotics conference was completed in December 2008 at Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering and Vellore Institute of Technology, where more than 400 students were used as extras.[67][68] Further footage was shot over five days at the Ennore Port on the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines car carrier, Neptune Ace.[69] An action sequence where Chitti saves Sana from thugs was filmed in Lonavla, under the supervision of the action choreographer Peter Hein.[70] Scenes featuring Rajinikanth as Chitti were captured over five days at the Perungudi Dump Yard in Chennai.[71] Sabu Cyril told Uma Kannan of The New Indian Express that the sets for the climax sequence, which was filmed at Mayajaal, consisted of a tar road and glass buildings which rose to 65 feet (20 m), and that aluminium composite panels, reported to have cost 50 million, were also used to design the sets.[64][72][Note 7] Principal photography ended on 7 July 2010.[73]

Visual effects

Impressed with the film's script, V. Srinivas Mohan became the visual effects supervisor in December 2007. He asked Shankar to increase the filming schedules by six months to include pre-production requirements.[74][75] Both Mohan and Shankar visited several visual effects companies, including the New Zealand-based Weta Digital and the United States-based Industrial Light & Magic, Cafe FX and Tippett Studio before partnering with Legacy Effects.[74][76] The original Eros-Ayngaran visual effects budget was 700 million,[Note 2] but after Sun Pictures took over production, it was significantly reduced to 200 million.[Note 2] As a result, the visual effects team had to omit and alter some sequences, making Chitti wear sunglasses for most of the film to reduce the cost and difficultly of animating his eyes.[77]

After a series of previsualisation tests, including a scene in which Chitti jumps on a train to save Sana, Mohan eventually decided to use the technique in 40 out of the 60 visual effects scenes featured in the film,[74] consisting of 2,000 takes.[78] Further previsualisation supervision was conducted by P. C. Sanath of Firefly Creative Studios, a visual effects company based in Hyderabad.[75] 3D storyboards were constructed using 3D animation programs for every scene in the film and were shot from different angles.[75] In an interview with Malathi Rangarajan of The Hindu, Mohan said that all the pre-production work took one and a half years to complete.[78]

Rathnavelu used the 435 Xtreme camera and also wrote a 1,600-page manual, in which he listed all of the possible angles from which the characters played by Rajinikanth could be filmed.[79][80] Legacy Effects and the Hong Kong-based visual effects companies Kinomotive Studios and Menfond Electronics took responsibility for the film's CGI work.[78] To create the robots with Rajinikanth's appearance, a complete scan of his face in 3D digital format in all possible lighting conditions was conducted using the Doom Light Stage,[Note 8] so that his face could be replicated on the mannequins.[75] The technique, according to Shankar, was previously used in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).[82] The robot Chitti featured in the film was a mannequin made by a Legacy Effects team of 100 technicians in Los Angeles. For every robotic mannequin used, six puppeteers were employed to control the mannequin's movements.[78]

Themes and influences

Enthiran focuses on the battle between man and machine.[83] Despite Shankar's claim that Enthiran was a purely original idea,[13] it has been compared to Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein, owing to the similar personae of Chitti and Frankenstein's monster, both of which turn against their respective creators.[84][85] K. Moti Gokulsing and Wimal Dissanayake, in their book Routledge Handbook of Indian Cinemas, noted the similarity between the two works, arguing that Chitti was "manipulated by Bohra to become a Frankenstein-like figure".[86] Writing for The A.V. Club, Genevieve Koski observed, "The plot of Enthiran is essentially Frankenstein via [Isaac] Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics."[87]

Director and film critic Sudhish Kamath called Enthiran "a superhero film, a sci-fi adventure, a triangular love story with a hint of the Ramayana", while remarking 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."[88] Kamath compared two of the film's robots to C-3PO and R2-D2, droids from the Star Wars film series, which was referenced in Enthiran when Vaseegaran refers to one of his creations as "R2".[88]

Although Shankar initially claimed that Enthiran would be made for all audiences, including those lacking computer literacy,[89] the film is influenced by and makes references to many scientific principles relating to the fields of engineering, computer science and robotics, including terabytes and Asimov's laws of robotics.[90] Visual references are made to the science books A Briefer History of Time (2005) and Freakonomics (2005).[23] In his book Visual Perception and Cultural Memory: Typecast and Typecast(e)ing in Malayalam Cinema, Dr. Sujith Kumar Parayil notes the similarities between Kalabhavan Mani's role in the film to the one Mani played in the Malayalam film Sallapam (1996).[91]

Music

Main article: Enthiran (soundtrack)

For Enthiran's soundtrack and score, A. R. Rahman made use of the Continuum Fingerboard, an instrument he had experimented with previously in the song "Rehna Tu" from Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's drama film Delhi-6 (2009).[92] The film also marked the debut of Rahman's daughter Khatija as a playback singer.[93]

The soundtrack album to Enthiran was released on 31 July 2010 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[94] The Tamil and Telugu versions were released by Think Music, while the Hindi version was released by Venus Music.[95] Think Music purchased the release rights of the Tamil and Telugu versions of the album for 70 million.[96][Note 7] The album of the film's Telugu version, Robo, was released on 6 August 2010, while its Hindi version, Robot, was released on 14 August 2010.[97][98] After the second day of release, the album's Tamil version reached the number one position in the Top 10 World Albums chart on iTunes, making it the first Tamil album to do so.[99][100]

Reviewing the album's Tamil version, Divya Kumar of The Hindu commented that "with its blend of melody, trance and rhythm, Enthiran – The Robot sounds like a winner".[101] Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff.com rated the Tamil version of the album three out of five and commented that, "Endhiran [sic] is, in fact, a perfect superstar album. Where the collection does manage to veer from the usual, Rahman has managed to add his own quirky, creative notes to the songs."[102] However, IANS gave the Hindi version two out of five stars, concluding that "On the whole, the music of Robot does not appeal. They may suit the script of the sci-film, but the audio is not impressive."[103]

Release

Enthiran was released on 1 October 2010 in three languages – in Tamil as Enthiran, in Hindi as Robot and in Telugu as Robo.[104][105] The original version was in Tamil, while the Hindi and Telugu versions were dubbed.[104] The film was released in 2,250 theatres worldwide, including 500 theatres in Tamil Nadu,[106] 350 theatres in Andhra Pradesh,[106] 128 theatres in Kerala,[107] 23 theatres in Karnataka, and 750 theatres in North India.[100][108] With an estimated budget of 1.32 billion,[3][Note 7] Enthiran was India's most expensive film up to that point,[109][110] surpassing the Hindi film Blue (2009), which was filmed on a budget of 750 million.[111][Note 9]

Enthiran became the first Tamil film to be released at the Colosseum Kino, a Norwegian theatre complex in Oslo,[112] and it was screened at the 21st Bath Film Festival, held in the United Kingdom in 2011.[113] Additionally, a version of the film, edited to a running length of two hours, was released in Japan in May 2012, and later screened at the 24th Tokyo International Film Festival, where it won a special award under the section "Winds of Asia–Middle East".[114][115] By public demand, the original, unedited version was later released in that country.[116]

Marketing and distribution

The first poster for Enthiran was released on 8 September 2008.[117] The film's trailer was released on 11 September 2010, at the Sathyam Cinemas theatre complex in Chennai.[118] To promote it, AGS Entertainment organised a festival from 25 September 2010 until the film's release date, in which they screened the popular films of Rajinikanth at the company's theatre in Villivakkam.[119] In Coimbatore, the Department of Posts printed 100,000 post cards advertising the film.[120] Sun Pictures invested a total of 500 million on promotional activities.[23][Note 7] Advance bookings for the film began two weeks before the release date in the United States. In the Jackson Heights neighbourhood in New York, tickets were sold out within ten minutes of going on sale.[121]

In Kerala the distribution rights were sold for 50 million,[122][Note 7] while in Karnataka they were sold for 100 million.[123][Note 7] The distribution rights in Mumbai were sold to Shringar Films.[124] In the United Kingdom, Enthiran was released by Ayngaran International, while Robot was released by B4U Network.[2] The satellite rights were purchased by Sun TV.[3] DVD marketing in India was handled by Moser Baer;[125] Ayngaran International released the two-DVD set of the film in early 2011.[126]

Plagiarism allegations

The novelist Aarur Thamizhnadan made a complaint with the Chennai Metropolitan Police against the filmmakers in November 2010, stating that the producers plagiarised his 1996 novel Jugiba.[127][128] Thamizhnadan demanded 10 million[Note 7] from the director and producers for damages and filed a case against Kalanithi Maran.[129][130] In June 2011, the Madras High Court dismissed the case after a petition filed by Maran denying the allegation was approved.[130]

Reception

Box office

Business Line reported that Enthiran grossed 580 million from all versions in the opening weekend,[131][Note 7] and The Economic Times stated it earned 1.17 billion by the end of its opening week.[132][Note 7] According to a February 2015 report by Hindustan Times, the film has grossed ₹2.56 billion worldwide in its lifetime.[133] Indo-Asian News Service stated in July 2015 that the film grossed ₹2.90 billion from both its original and dubbed versions.[134][Note 7] Enthiran became the top-earning Indian film of 2010 ahead of My Name Is Khan and Dabangg and became the highest grossing Tamil film of all time at that point.[135][136] In 2015, S. S. Rajamouli's Baahubali: The Beginning surpassed it to become the highest grossing South Indian film of all time.[137][138] The following year, Kabali surpassed Enthiran's worldwide box-office gross in six days of its release.[139] Box Office India estimated that Enthiran grossed 1.95 billion nett across India with the Tamil version grossing 1.20 billion, the Telugu version grossing 530 million and the Hindi version grossing 220 million.[140][141][Note 7] The website estimated the overseas earnings of the film (including its dubbed versions) at approximately $12 million as of November 2010 with the Tamil version grossing $11 million and the remaining $1 million coming in from the Telugu and Hindi versions.[135]

Critical reception

India

Enthiran received positive reviews from critics in India, with praise particularly directed at Rathnavelu's cinematography, Cyril's art direction, Srinivas Mohan's visual effects and Rajinikanth's performance as Chitti.[142][143] Aniruddha Guha of Daily News and Analysis gave the film a rating of four out of five stars and believed it had the "best special effects ever seen in a Tamil film" and that it was "one of the most entertaining Tamil films – across all languages – ever made."[144] Both Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India and Kaveree Bamzai of India Today rated the film four out of five stars. Kazmi called it "the perfect getaway film".[145] Bamzai praised Rajinikanth's acting in the film and said, "Rajni tells us why robot sapiens are superior to homo sapiens".[146]

Both Anupama Chopra of NDTV and Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff.com gave Enthiran a rating of three and a half out of five stars. Chopra criticised the film's portions in the second half, describing them as "needlessly stretched and cacophonous",[147] but concluded her review by saying, "Robot rides on Rajinikanth's shoulders and he never stoops under the burden. Aided by snazzy clothes, make-up and special effects, he makes Chitti endearing."[147] Srinivasan, however, said that Shankar "strikes the balance between science fiction and masala quotient."[148] She concluded that, "Whichever way you look at it, Endhiran [sic] is one of those rare films that give you just enough material to pull you in, and enjoy yourself."[148] Rajeev Masand of CNN-News18 gave a rating of three out of five stars and said, "In the end, it's the fantastic special effects and an inspired performance from Rajnikant [sic] that keeps the film fresh."[149] Mayank Shekhar, writing for Hindustan Times, rated it three stars and said, "Leave aside jokes running on the Internet. This film, just a few feet too long, is fine entertainment by itself."[150]

Malini Mannath of The New Indian Express noted Enthiran for having "An engaging script, brilliant special effects, and a debonair hero who still carries his charisma effortlessly."[84] Karthik Subramanian of The Hindu observed that actors "tend to get lost in special effects movies." Subramanian believed it was not the case in Enthiran: "Rajinikanth and [Aishwarya Rai] 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."[151] In contrast, Gautaman Bhaskaran of Hindustan Times rated it two out of five stars, writing that "Shankar's work slips into a loud, overdramatic and exaggerated mess".[152]

Overseas

Enthiran has received a rating of 56% on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on nine reviews, with an average rating of 4.8/10.[153] Lisa Tsering from The Hollywood Reporter said, "Rajinikanth is such a badass that Chuck Norris is afraid of him."[154] She praised the filming locations, especially the "Kilimanjaro" song sequence, but criticised the length of the film's climax portions.[154] Genevieve Koski from The A. V. Club believed that Enthiran was "pretty good" and concluded that "if you prefer elaborate costumes and dance music mixed in with your killer-robot action, expect to enjoy up to an hour of Enthiran."[87] Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle called Enthiran "the best apocalyptic sci-fi-romcom-melodrama-dance-off date movie of the year."[155] Roger Moore, writing for the Orlando Sentinel, gave a mixed review, evaluating it as a "melodramatic kitschy Indian musical about a robot built for national defense but who discovers his human side."[156]

Following the film's screening at the Mumbai International Film Festival, the American film director Oliver Stone praised Enthiran's originality.[157] Conversely, Joe Leydon of Variety believed that Shankar "riffs on everything" from Frankenstein to The Terminator, but suggested that the film was an "overwhelming mash-up of American-style, f/x-driven sci-fi spectacle and a Bollywood musical."[158] Akifumi Sugihara, director of the Film Business division of Nikkatsu, stated that the film was "rather unique, interesting, funny and marketable."[159] 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."[159]

Awards and nominations

At the 58th National Film Awards, Enthiran won for Best Special Effects and Best Production Design.[160] It won in three categories at the 58th Filmfare Awards South for Best Cinematographer, Best Art Director and Best Costume Design.[161] 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.[162] At the 17th Screen Awards, the film won awards under the Best Special Effects and Spectacular Cutting Edge Technology categories.[163]

Legacy

In a personal appreciation letter to Shankar following the film's release, the 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.[164] S. Shiva Kumar of The Hindu said that Rajinikanth's style and mannerisms were similar to his performances in the films Moondru Mudichu (1976), Avargal (1977) and Moondru Mugam (1982).[165] Enthiran was the only Tamil film featured on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) list of the 50 best films of 2010.[166] The film was also included as a case study in a postgraduate elective course of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, "Contemporary Film Industry: A Business Perspective".[166]

Scenes from Enthiran, particularly one known as the "Black Sheep" scene,[Note 10] have been parodied in subsequent films, including Mankatha (2011),[168][169] Osthe (2011),[170] Singam II (2013),[171] as well as in the Telugu films Dookudu (2011) and Nuvva Nena (2011).[172][173][Note 11] In the film, Chitti often introduces himself by stating the clock rate of his central processing unit, which is 1 terahertz (1012 hertz), and his random-access memory limit, which is 1 zettabyte (1021 bytes). This introduction dialogue, which is spoken by Chitti as "Hi, I'm Chitti, speed 1 terahertz, memory 1 zettabyte" became popular.[75][177] Rajinikanth featured in a cameo role as Chitti in the science-fiction film Ra.One (2011).[178]

On Rajinikanth's 64th birthday, an agency named Minimal Kollywood Posters designed posters of Rajinikanth's films, in which the Minion characters from the Despicable Me franchise are dressed as Rajinikanth.[179] The digital art was hand drawn on a digital pad by Gautham Raj.[179] One of the posters depicted a mutated Minion, reminiscent of Chitti's "villain robot" look in Enthiran.[179] In March 2015, Kamath, in his review of the science fiction film Chappie, compared its eponymous lead character to Chitti in terms of learning human emotions.[180]

Spiritual successor

Main article: 2.0 (film)

In September 2015, writer Jeyamohan announced that the pre-production stage of a sequel to Enthiran was "going on in full swing" and that principal photography would commence once Rajinikanth finished filming for Kabali, by the end of that year.[181] Nirav Shah will be the cinematographer and A. R. Rahman will return as music director, while Muthuraj will handle the art direction. The sequel will be shot in 3D, unlike its predecessor which was shot in 2D and converted to 3D in post-production.[182] Titled 2.0, the film entered production in December 2015,[183] for a scheduled 2017 release.[184] The film stars Rajinikanth, reprising his role as Dr. Vaseegaran and Chitti with the additional cast played by Akshay Kumar and Amy Jackson.[185][186] Resul Pookutty, the sound designer for 2.0 revealed in June 2016 that the film would not be a sequel, but serve as a spiritual successor.[187]

Notes

  1. ^ The British Board of Film Classification and Amazon.com gives the runtime as 166 minutes and 177 minutes respectively.[1][2]
  2. ^ a b c d The average exchange rate in 2008 was 49.82 Indian rupees () per 1 US dollar (US$).[24]
  3. ^ In an interview with Geety Sahgal of The Indian Express, Shankar stated that Rai had her dialogues translated from Tamil to English and rehearsed it the night before each day of filming.[26]
  4. ^ In filmmaking and video production, a crane shot is a shot taken by a camera on a crane or jib.
  5. ^ Vogt was also the costume designer for the Men in Black film series.[47]
  6. ^ According to Banu, an Oakley beard is "neither a French beard not a full beard". It developed as a result of shaping Rajinikanth's already grown beard.[55]
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k The average exchange rate in 2010 was 45.09 Indian rupees () per 1 US dollar (US$).[24]
  8. ^ The Doom Light Stage is based on an original research conducted by Paul Debevec at the ICT division of the University of California, Berkeley. The Light Stage systems efficiently capture how an actor's face appears when lit from every possible lighting direction. From this captured imagery, realistic virtual renditions of the actor are created in the illumination of any location or set, faithfully reproducing the colour, texture, shine, shading and translucency of the actor's skin.[81]
  9. ^ The average exchange rate in 2009 was 46.29 Indian rupees () per 1 US dollar (US$).[24]
  10. ^ The "Black Sheep" scene refers to a scene where Chitti finds Dr. Vaseegaran disguised as him amidst the robot army.[78][167]
  11. ^ The satellite rights of Mankatha, Osthe and Singam II were purchased by Sun TV.[174][175][176]

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