Robot —The Review

83 Comments

Automatons created by humans to discharge hazardous and repetitive functions or as we commonly refer to them, robots have been a persistent motif used to explore various themes of deep significance—-like defining what exactly it means to be human (Philip Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”) or the conflict between rational thought and emotion (Kubrick’s “AI”) or the tragedy inherent in human beings attempting to be creators (“Frankenstein”), wherein their imperfections are inevitably reflected in what they make. To that rich corpus of art needs to be added “Robot” (Tamil: Enthiran) in which magical director Shankar, explores in visionary scale, all this and even more—-namely the story of Creation and the relationship between God and his most amazing product: Man.

“Robot” starts off  with Dr. Vaseegaran, played by Rajanikant, in a lab. He is creating, in addition to the laws of physics (Every action against Rajnikant causes a multiplied millionfold reaction), a robot:  a cross between what we saw in “I Robot” and “Bicentennial Man”. The allusions are pretty clear. Rajanikant being God (And there is no doubt about that) in real life, it is only  but natural that Dr. Vaseegaran be a celluloid reflection of the Supreme Being. Some people have complained about there being no finger-wagging, goggle-turning, cigarette-burning entry for the Thalaivar but it is very clear that director Shankar is sending a message here—that being that he believes in the Hoyle-Narlikar steady state theory of the creation of the universe wherein God or Creation does not appear in a Big Bang explosion accompanied by cosmic background radiation of claps and chawannis but is instead an eternal entity that has always persisted through time, with neither an “entry” nor an “exit”.

The robot that the good doctor is creating is called Chitti (also played by Rajanikant). It does not require a degree in Awesomeness to deduce that this Chitti is nothing but a representative of Man—since it is created in God’s (Rajanikant’s) own image (Book of Genesis) [In a certain sequence, Chitti says “Mujhe banane wala Bhagwan hai” when asked whether he believes in God]. But so busy is God/Dr.V  in the act of creation that he neglects his girl-friend Sana. Played by Aishwarya Rai, she represents plastic perfection, an ideal that even God aspires for.When Dr. V brings Chitti home, Sana takes an instant liking for him so much that she exclaims “Yeh mera Boy-friend naheen yeh mera Toy-friend”, which when you think of it is a rather alarming thing for a woman to say when she has a boy-friend absent for days on end.

Dr. V tries to introduce Chitti to the Indian Army but there his introduction is opposed by a jealous scientist Dr. Bohra (who can be either Lucifer or just an average Rediffian North Indian), played by Danny Dengzoppa, who proves that Chitti is merely a dumb creation of God, lacking the ability to judge. When an incident with a nude woman happens, God understands that in his quest for perfection, he neglected to give Man/Robot/Chitti the ability to make his own choices. In short the ability to feel. When he gives this, God plants in man the source of evil  (metaphorically called the “red chip”—or the red apple) as Man then makes a play for God’s girl-friend, so as to aspire to best his Creator, an act of ultimate rebellion.

The inevitable battle between God and Man consequently ensures on a scale of Perseus going up against Zeus, as numerous Krakens are unleashed of the kind never seen in Indian cinema. Clone armies, the giant drill from Transformers, fragments from Magneto of X-Men, Godzilla, I Robot…. all light up the screen as the audience is treated to a rare spectacle of mythical scale.

Shankar (and what a significant name) is in supreme command of his craft layering allusion after allusion in this cinematic spectacle. Whether it be through lines like “Inki aankhein dikti bhi hai aur dikhaati bhi hai” where he invokes the eye symbolism of knowledge and insight  a la Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner or be it through his association of evil with biriyani and non-vegetarianism (two rascal helpers of God try to make Man eat non-veg food which he repulses by beating them with chappals) or the sequence where Sana “discharges” the robot through a sexy dance, the director never ceases to provoke and question his audience. And of course when you have God in every frame, sometimes multiple copies of him, you really do not have much to do. Right?

There comes rarely in history a movie that EVERYONE loves. I mean EVERYONE. “Robot” is one such. You simply have no choice. And if you be, one of the rare ones, who are underwhelmed by Rajni’s latest and as a result  raise your voice in whiny criticism, you should remember Three Laws of Survival (like Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics)

Law 1: Never call your wife fat.

Law 2: Never paint a picture of the Prophet

Law 3: Never never, ever call a movie of Rajni to be anything less than the greatest.

Remind yourself of these. That is if you value your life.

Unless of course you be a robot,  deprived of that basic instinct that defines humanity—-the urge for self-preservation.

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83 thoughts on “Robot —The Review

  1. Cool…Thgh a yet to see the movie but what i can make out from this is that its basically a fusion of all those movies mentioned above…Blog apart Appreciate your personal view on the movie 🙂

  2. You need the capabilities of Rajnikanth the Enthiran to be able to be the first commenter in Great Bong’s posts.

    As far as the review is concerned, it is simply the best one I have read so far on Robot. The concluding lines have left me in splits.

    HA HA HA!!!

  3. Saw Robot this weekend. Average movie. I don’t know why Rajnikant was required in this. There was no Rajnikant touch. Anybody, including Rahul Roy or Prithvi could have done this role. Ash was her usual plastic worst..She even corrupted a robot with her “charm” (?? or the lack of it).
    Next on line are Do dooni chaar, Anjaana anjani..

  4. i rather liked the movie – though i found it about 30 minutes too long and the songs quite boring. Guess that’s the half south indian – half nepali in me. It also helps that i endured thru anjaana anjaani the very next day.

  5. Hello, what about the zeroth law — the one that cannot be violated when in conflict with the others — never get your Prabhuji references mixed up?!!

  6. So this wasn’t a scathing review, was it? I’m glad of that 🙂 HAven’t seen this movie yet,and don’t plan to either, but for Rajini’s sake and also for entire Tamil Nadu’s sake, I do want this to be a complete success 🙂

  7. I must say that you saved yours as well kicked some ass! Even Rajanikant (oops!) God would have some food for thought after reading your analogies. And that’s an awesome thought!

  8. All he needs is a jet pack placed appropriately. Just one thing, am I the only one who noticed that the plastic has warped a wee bit from the sheer heat … err, well hot air … I mean sheer performance .

  9. I read somewhere… “Robot released countrywide this Friday…. Rajnikanth gave TOI 4/5” 😀

    How much did Rajnikanth give you GB?? 😉

  10. which when you think is a rather alarming thing for a woman to say when she has an boy-friend absent for days on end…..ha ha ha..OMG…you just rock man!!

  11. >> you forgot to mention how only God can bring together kilimanjaro and mohenjodaro successfully

    While standing in Machu Pichu, no less.

  12. “Yeh mera Boy-friend naheen yeh mera Toy-friend”, which when you think of it is a rather alarming thing for a woman to say when she has an boy-friend absent for days on end.
    Priceless!

  13. THIS..”Yeh mera Boy-friend naheen yeh mera Toy-friend”, which when you think of it is a rather alarming thing for a woman to say when she has an boy-friend absent for days on end.” AND LAST 3 LAW OF SURVIVAL IS BEST IN WHOLE POST.

  14. Excuse me but I didnt not understand this part

    “….or the sequence where Sana “discharges” the robot through a sexy dance…”

    do you mean ejaculation by discharge? hahahaha robot ejaculating lolz

    ROFLMAO @ “Yeh mera Boy-friend naheen yeh mera Toy-friend”

    Ash playing with a toy.

    I never seen South Indian movies. Maybe this is my first one.

  15. GB,we readers always appreciate the trouble you take for us….you watch a crappy/wonderful movie,plan your posts,ponder over a nice title and then keep scratching your head for the gem “ONE LINERS” which we all love so much…..and by doing so you most of the time save our hard earned money which we would have wasted otherwise…..so thank you….and for that favor of yours we comment as soon as we reach office neglecting all warning signals from our Big-Boss….

  16. Robot is truly an awesome movie. Like you said.. one which EVERYONE loves. I just have a problem with ‘elitists’ who frown upon Rajini movies just coz they dont consider him a star.

    These ppl will go full popcorn-munching on stupidity like i hate luv storys but wont go for the brilliance ..thats robot. Robot is basically the MISSING LINK b/w us and hollywood. It will raise the standards manifolds and will force morons like Karan johar types to look beyond cliched formulae. That is the basic essence of this movie. And thats why i salute both Shankar n Rajini for this effort………

    Heres my take on robot ( An open letter from Rajini to the 3 khans…)
    http://www.whatthefckisgoinon.in/2010/10/open-letter-to-shahrukh-aamir-salman.html

  17. Underwhelmed by Rajni and the review.
    BTW where can one find the powerpoint presentation by Caren Owen on “excellence in the realm of horizontal academics”. Has it been taken off from the sites ? GB what’s your view on it, being an academic yourself :-).

  18. Its a first indian movie to have used such graphical effects. Its good because the Aunties, Bhabhis types had liked it(i am talking abt majority)..who were insisting to go for crap like Anjana Anjani or Crook and were frowned when the uncle ji bought the tickets for Robot!

  19. LOL I don’t agree with all of your points but we agree on this — it was a fantastic movie.

    And where I grew up, the third law of would refer to Chiranjeevi, not Rajnikanth (although Rajnikanth is also great, why not.)

  20. alright..the movie is corny..but thats because we are comparing it with the hollywood biggies..from Indian standards, it is a step forward towards maturing into hollywood standards! The moment you name movies like iRobot, Surrogate, AI and Enthiran in the same breath you have failed miserably in a fair review, simply because hollywood has matured and evolved to an extent that comparing Spielberg/Kubrik with Shankar is like comparing the IQ of a 12 class kid with that of a 1st std kid…a fair comparison would be talking about Krishh, Koi mil gaya, Mr. India and other remotely Indian Science Fiction movies with Enthiran..or other Indian big budget movies with Enthiran..then we are talking business..comparing Indian movies with hollywood ones is cliched and certainly serves no purpose and adds no valuable input as a movie review other than if you just wanna have some fun at somebody else’s expense!

  21. Sire, the subtlety of your sarcasm makes us britcom loving gents, marvel and smirk, but it doesn’t make us ROTFL. Nicely done, but the beautiful bluntness of the trademark Great Bong review, a la Raavan / Kites is sorely missed!

  22. Hi GB,
    Ur review is a bit disturbing coz u r alleging that theres a Rajini mob which doesnt criticize him and everyone only praises him. My exp: is completely diff:.
    Rajini is one of the most ridiculed actor in India and he evokes as much fierce criticism as adulation. And the truth is that hes the biggest movie star from India. And hes the most humblest of them all, diametrically opposite to the “hyper ego-inflated” crappers from Hindi, like SRK, Salman etc..

    And its most irritating to see the northie folks – who have no complaints in watching shahrukh shit and K Jo crap – being extremely vocal about why they wont see Robot – and they say racist shit like “look at this dark guy” and “look at his ugly face”. This crap coming from college kids wud be pardonable but s/w engineers in MNCs saying this crap is unbelievable.

    The simple fact is that the northies cant digest the fact that their Shahrukh and Salman draw a blank when confronted by Rajini.

    And GB, come on, this is an enjoyable masala movie, much much better and different that any masala film, Rajini had done in the last 15 years. and technically, this film sets the standards for the whole of India and it wont be surpassed in the near future. I have never liked a single film made by Shankar till date but I really loved ROBOT and I salute him for his imaination and the gutso with which he kicked the asses of the “wallowing in self deception” popcorn brigade , of bollywood.

  23. And the point is that there are films where he has portrayed extremely difficult roles with consummate ease, films the northie folks have no means of seeing ever.
    Its just that he decided to nurture the star in him and killed the actor in him. But thats his choice.

    The bollywood paper-tigers like Salman, SRK, Akshay etc can never make a claim to this effect.

  24. Nice. if you saw the Hindi version of it. I dont think many non-tam speaking people realise why they like the movie so much. Rajini, despite all kinda of shit spoken about him like hes not good looking, enna rascala mind it type of shit, is a really good actor. In the last 10 yrs or so, directors have focussed on the style aspect as well as his larger than life image due to his dalliances with politics. After Pandian/Annamalai, the only real super hit hes given is Basha. Almost all the other movies were mainly focussed on this “style” factor and larger than life image. If you look at career before that, you’d see immediately that he is a very capable actor. Well he debuted under K Balachander. His first film was as an anti-hero. His best role yet is that of Parattai in 16 Vayathunile. People like this film not just cos theres Ice in it or that theres awesome CGI from the Avatar folks but that in the second half they see glimpses of the actor in him. The one hand in the pocket walk is reminiscent of Alex Pandian in Moondru Mugam and his ironical way of talking reminds people of Netrikan. Both of which are all time favourites among his fans. Obviously those who criticise Endhiran today after having seen the Hindi version have no clue about these movies. Atleast most of them. No wonder they write half-baked reviews!

  25. I read the post… and then I HAD to read the comments… and it is true… we as a nation dont get sarcasm… or… were the comments sarcastic too… and me… I am the only one who does not get it…. Aaaargh!!!!!

    Loved the post though…

  26. Couldn’t quite agree with your frivolousness in the last para about three laws in an otherwise very witty & nice review.

    Saying your wife fat might cost you (at the most) sex for 7 days and/or a diamond/other precious stone necklace. Criticizing Rajni will cost you hundreds of harmless comments/replies from his fans. But painting a picture of prophet is an entirely different ball game, which can cost your dear life. Equating that dogmatic mentality of a section of population to the inane comments of some imbecile fans of Rajnikanth is unfortunate.

  27. To be honest,i found the film to be totally cheesy…the plot was meh….

    “Yeh mera Boy-friend naheen yeh mera Toy-friend”, which when you think of it is a rather alarming thing for a woman to say when she has a boy-friend absent for days on end.

    LMAO..LOL….hahahahaha

  28. Hey GB,
    The sarcasm in your post seems to have escaped many of your readers.
    There are nuances in the movie which you have misinterpreted maybe because it was lost in dubbing.
    “[In a certain sequence, Chitti says “Mujhe banane wala Bhagwan hai” when asked whether he believes in God]”
    What he means is that your creator should be treated like God ie give your parents the same respect you give God.

    I liked the movie. I think its a good masala movie and stands head and shoulders above its Indian contemporaries.

    cheers

  29. honestly,the movie was not at all good enough to spend a lazy afternoon,i would’ve rather preferred watching some other ‘sensible’movie.

  30. From time to time, people come to this blog and bemoan how the standards of the blog have fallen, people like our good friend Mohan who turns up, every few posts, to tell us how much GB sucks and to put in a period and a comma. I somehow believe he will not be coming to this post, perhaps because he has been shut up in a hall watching Endhiran in an endless loop.

    While people are free to opine on whether GB’s standards have fallen (I personally feel he writes better than ever and this review is a fine example of really stylized humor), what I believe has definitely fallen has been the standards of commentators on his posts.

    Now we find the typical morons from Rediff here and very few comments applauding GB for his piece.

    Example 1:

    “Just saying” takes GB’s marvelous ending and then tries to push his anti-Islam agenda here; how can anyone compare drawing Mohammed to calling his wife fat ! Is this the intellectual caliber of the Hindu right? Oh yes I forgot. It is !

    Example 2:

    ABCD says anyone who calls Robot crap has no idea of all the Oscar-worthy movies R. has made. Whoa ! So you have to see all of R’s body of work to appreciate “Robot”? Is not a movie supposed to be a stand-alone work?

    Example 3:

    The Rediff thing about “North Indian” heroes. It is another matter that of all places in the Net, this is one forum where every few weeks “North Indian” movies are taken apart at the seams with Shahrukh Khan and KJo being the subject of particular attention. It is hilarious, given the standards of discussion on this blog, that someone regurgitates the exact trash we see on Rediff. So North Indian movies are trash. So? Does that make Robot, a mish-mash of different Hollywood movies, any less trashy?

    Plus can one tell me why calling Rajni ugly is racist and not calling Uday Chopra one is not? Rajni is bad-looking and perhaps it is his credit that despite that he is a hero. But why is calling him phenomenally ugly a sign of North Indian racism? If someone calls Uday Chopra ugly, have you ever seen a North Indian cut that across locational lines? No. What is then the problem with South Indians?

    I have a question for you GB. Please free not to answer. As a part of your growth from a small-time blogger to one of the (if not the) biggest blogibrity, do you think you have lost in a way the supportive and closed community you once had where people were, by and large, supportive and even when they were critical, they had something like logical coherence?

  31. If the following news article is to be believed then God obviously exists Flashing News:: “World won’t end in 2012…Rajni sir just bought a laptop with 3 years warranty”

  32. Anonymous, calling anyone UGLY is racist.
    Calling anyone “black monkey” is ugly.

    Northies have this sahit abt them bieng fair skinned and hence superior ad everyone else, dark skinned, as inferior. That IS RACIST. dot.

  33. Anonymous, calling anyone UGLY is racist. Calling anyone “black monkey” is RACIST. You want to call Uday Chopra UGLY, let uday Chopra’s fans pounce on you. You are lucky that this “my dad is rich” star kid doesnt have any fans.
    That doesnt give you any right to pass racist comments on rajini or any other actor.
    Northies have this shit abt them bening fair skinned and hence superior and everyone else, dark skinned, is inferior. That IS RACIST. dot.

  34. Btw, shouldn’t there be some sort of competition between Chitti and Aishwarya? Something like *the award for the most plastic being goes to…*. But of course, Aishwarya will walk off with the award!

  35. “calling anyone UGLY is racist” – this is some new concept I am hearing 🙂

    “Northies have this shit abt them bening fair skinned and hence superior and everyone else, dark skinned, is inferior. That IS RACIST” – now, this is recist 🙂

    And BTW, I have seen a number of Telegu movies where the villain is a Bihari / UP-ite. In these movies – poor fellows are called names that would make a thick-skinned guy blush 🙂

  36. Neat.

    To someone who wondered if R has worked in any Oscar worthy movies, Yes he has, in the late 70s and 80s. A couple of movies made by K Balachander and one by Bharathiraja. Mani Ratnam’s Dalapathi really showcased the actor in him. I might also like to bring into notice, director Shankar’s Oscar nominated Indian (Hindustani) starring Kamal Hassan, Manisha Koirala here, which was much ahead of its times.

  37. He he he .. smart one GB … 😉 … I mean, i hope ppl get it for the super “subtleness” of the “good review” … 😉

  38. Well written, GB

    Somewhere I read a joke that parking fees of Enthiran crowd beat the total collections of Anjana Anjani 🙂

  39. To the ‘Intellectual’ judge of comments from GB’s site (Anonymous October 13, 2010 at 3:38 am) –

    So after studying my comment you decided that I compared ‘drawing Mohammed to calling his wife fat’, then decided that I was one of the “typical morons from Rediff here” and lastly concluded “Is this the intellectual caliber of the Hindu right? Oh yes I forgot. It is.”

    Were you this thick all along or developed lately? Though it’s futile, please let me try to sharpen a little bit –

    Telling a truth about Islam is not anti-Islamic. Neither it becomes secular when I denigrate untouchability in Hinduism.
    For criticizing radical Islam one doesn’t have to be Hindu right. Anybody can do who doesn’t wear the Marxist imbibed red glasses by wearing which some of your ilk try to obfuscate obvious things (e.g. some ’eminent’ historians tried to do in Ayodhya case and got kick in their butt by high court)

    So keep your ‘secular’ credentials with yourself, don’t try to ‘judge’ things in which you don’t have any clue.

  40. Ha ha, Am not only laughing with the satire in the review, am also laughing at some of the comments. Proves a thing, steadily through the 90s and 00s, English education has become banal and stricken. Your nuances were lost on some commentators.

  41. @Anonymous [October 13, 2010 at 3:38 am]

    Great points. I agree with everything you said, especially the bit about the religious wingnuts insinuating themselves into every conversation on the blog.

  42. Not sure why this movie got such (?) review. As someone mentioned in one of the earlier comments, indeed even Rahul Roy could have done this movie with almost equal elan required for the role.
    Anyways; it is Rajnikanth and though a fairer review was expected, I found out that greatbong cannot alienate his Rajni-loyal audiences by writing one. The need for audience wins over the want for fairness.

  43. where is kishor?
    he should be praising any southie celluloid and bemoaning our lack of appreciation of subtle effects or our underappreciation of the mega ones.

  44. I?ll right away take hold of your rss feed as I can not to find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly permit me recognise in order that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  45. Pingback: Enthiran | After A Storm Comes A Calm

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