Sunday, 6 March 2011

ENDHIRAN (INDIA/2010/S. SHANKAR)

A modern twist on the Pygmalion story, Endhiran concerns the endeavours of Dr. Vaseegran who constructs a high-powered android named Chitti in his own image. Despite sharing the athletic ability of Bruce Lee and the dance moves of Michael Jackson, Chitti is not regarded by the relevant authorities as a valuable contribution to the field as it lacks rational ability or emotions. When Vaseegran transplants a positronic brain into Chitti to help him relate to humans better, he gets more than he bargained for as Chitti’s newfound emotions lead him to develop strong feelings towards Vaseegran’s fiancée Sana. Attempting to win Sana back, Vaseegran foolishly goes into competition with Chitti’s superhuman powers, underestimating the android’s ability to mimic his master’s behaviour.

A huge success at the box office, grossing more than any other Indian film ever, Endhiran covers many genres and feels as if it was designed to entertain the widest range of people conceivable, although whether it fulfilled this goal is another question. Lead actor Rajnikanth, playing both Vaseegran and his robot analogue Chitti, has some great comedic turns but is unable to sustain interest for the film’s 155-minute runtime. For the casual Western viewer, there are plenty of WTF moments – a scene where a naked girl runs into traffic is particularly baffling – as well as a plethora of tongue-in-cheek movie references, although the proviso of satire has not saved the film from accusations of plagiarism. But for all its various flaws, this Kollywood blockbuster has undeniable entertainment value.





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