Cast: Rajnikanth, Adil Hussain, Akshay Kumar, Amy Jackson, Kaizaad Kotwal, Mayur Bansiwal
Director: S. Shankar
Rating: * *
The ninth-most expensive non-English-language film by production cost ($75,000,000) may be a mind-boggling ladder to scale for an Indian film but does it all show up on screen is the question (that matters). Well, Director Shankar’s attempt to go one-up on ‘Robot/Enthiran’ in this straightforward sequel is a far-out fantasy that looks good but doesn’t quite feel whole. The VFX cost and craft may seem mind-boggling, but in the overall cinema context it’s always the story and treatment that matters and that’s exactly where Shankar appears to have lost control.
Chitti (Rajnikanth) of ROBOT has been resurrected and revamped so-to-speak. He has not only to unravel but also out-perform a force that is out to eliminate mobile phones and cellular transmission towers from Tamil Nadu. Isn’t that expecting a little too much from a robot? Well, scepticism aside, there’s an environmental protection theme that gets lost in the melee of cellular action designed for eye-pleasing exultation.
There are basically two battles being fought here. On the screen, it’s a good versus evil elaboration while on the perception front it’s about glorified excess trying to pass off as high-concept engagement. And needless to say, in the audience mind, both battles appear fruitless. A film as ambitious as this one, aiming to crack Bahubali’s seemingly unassailable heights at the worldwide box-office, should surely have had a more cogent, complex and plausible framework (to help wrest that laurel) but Shankar’s 2.0 doesn’t rise up to that challenge.
The limited creative objective is to present a flurry of fantasy action that could potentially shock and awe the audience. The problem with that is the audience has already been exposed to such craft in the dubbed Hollywood films released across the country. So other than acknowledging Shankar’s efforts to match up there’s nothing extraordinary happening here. The film took a long time in the making and that probably has had a negative effect on its overall composition and complexion.
Vaseegaran (Rajni again), the scientist, is called upon to help prevent an impending calamity brought on by a mysterious power. His solution is to bring back Chitti (his lookalike and creation) from the dead. I guess time was of essence so a revamp it is. A fellow humanoid Nila (Amy Jackson) has already been made ready to assist him. Shankar’s chauvinism is pretty much evident in this aspect. Thankfully, the theme doesn’t extend to real romance. But swapping an MPU with her certainly makes his ambitions easier to attain. The sub-plot involving Dhirendra Bhora (Sudhanshu Pandey), the son of the first film’s villain, Dr Bhora, has nowhere to go through.
This film is obviously catering to a fan base and all efforts have been orchestrated to give the film a rousing start. Rajnikant, of course, has never done well in the northern belt so having Akshay for company makes business sense. With the scripting focussed on hard-sell of its two prime commodities, there’s little for the purist to enjoy here. They amount to two giants clanging up the noise but not the entertainment. Rajnikant’s stylised efforts to assert himself in both roles tend to caricature as usual. And his face-off with the ornithologist turned avenger Pakshiraja (a visibly energised ‘prosthetic’ transformed Akshay Kumar) may be scaled-up but severely lacks imprint.
The plot has little substance and even the allusion to environmental degradation (radiation, loss of sparrows) appears facile. The unaccomplished mingling of multiple genres only makes it all the more implausible. The grand canvas, the special effects and 3D have little influence on the overall impact. All the vaunted VFX just flashes through and is just as quickly forgotten. This is basically comic-book spectacle without heart!