Star cast: Rajnikanth, Aishwarya Rai, Danny Denzongpa.
Plot: Rajnikanth makes a robot which looks exactly like him. But the robot falls in love with Rajni’s girlfriend, Aishwarya. This causes a rift between them. The robot is dismantled by Rajni, only to be re-assembled by his arch rival, Danny. However, the new robot is evil. A fight ensues between the robot and Rajni.
What’s Good: Rajnikanth’s performance, the visual affects and computer graphics, Aishwarya’s dances, the action scenes, the camerawork.
What’s Bad: Nothing really!
Verdict: ROBOT may have started slow but it will pick up by positive word of mouth.
Loo break: Not really!
Sun Pictures’ Robot (dubbed from the Tamil film, Enthiran) is about Dr. Vasikaran (Rajinikanth) who succeeds, after putting in 20 years of hard work, in making a robot which can accomplish the work of a hundred human beings. Chitti, as the robot is called, looks exactly like Dr. Vasikaran.
Dr. Vasikaran is in love with Sana (Aishwarya Rai). Sana gets fond of her boyfriend’s creation, Chitti the robot. Dr. Bohra (Danny Denzongpa) also makes robots but, unlike Dr. Vasikaran, he wants to use the robots for carrying out acts of terrorism and destruction.
Since Chitti can follow instructions but doesn’t have a mind of its own, Dr. Vasikaran is prompted to make Chitti a thinking robot by making some alterations when a jealous Dr. Bohra rejects Chitti on the ground that it is not fool-proof. Soon, Chitti falls in love with Sana. But since Sana and Dr. Vasikaran are in love with one another and also because Chitti is a machine, Sana and Dr. Vasikaran try to make Chitti see reason. When Chitti fails to understand, Dr. Vasikaran has no option but to dismantle his own creation.
Dr. Bohra seizes the opportunity and reassembles Chitti but, to serve his ulterior motives and to teach Dr. Vasikaran, his student, a lesson, he puts an additional chip inside Chitti which makes him evil.
Chitti kidnaps Sana from her wedding mandap before she can get married to Dr. Vasikaran. To avoid being caught, Chitti replicates himself so that there are scores of robots who look like Chitti. Is Dr. Vasikaran able to save Sana? Does Chitti change his heart or does it remain evil?
Shankar has come up with a very different story line. Writers Shankar, Sujata Rangarajan and Karky Vairamuthu deserve distinction marks for thinking up an engrossing screenplay which has masala for the audience and yet is not frivolous. The tracks of the robot having a mind of its own, the robot becoming evil, the robot having feelings for Sana, the robot comparing his evil streak with the vices in human beings, of Chitti replicating himself are all not just novel but also engrossing. Of course, the computer graphics, animation and visual effects are so phenomenal that the audience would stare at the screen in disbelief.
The Tamil film-going audience would definitely not complain but the Hindi film-going public might find the track of the evil Chitti a bit too long and a little boring too. However, the long-drawn climax again is a visual delight. Also delightful are the antics and the stunts of Chitti the robot. Many of the stunts will elicit huge rounds of applause from the audience. Even the jokes are so simple and cute that the audience can’t help but laugh.
Rajinikanth is splendid in all the three roles. He is brilliantly restrained as Dr. Vasikaran, cutely funny as Chitti and effectively evil as Chitti in the latter part. He is so good in all the three roles that it is difficult to imagine anybody else playing the roles. Aishwarya Rai looks gorgeous and acts well. Her dances are an absolute treat for the eyes, for which she deserves the highest praise. Danny Denzongpa lends able support. All the other artistes are effective.
Shankar’s narrative skills are legendary and he lives up to his reputation in this film. His direction is splendid, to say the least. Right from the concept of the subject to the scripting and to the execution, his efforts deserve distinction marks. A.R. Rahman’s music is a mixed bag for the Hindi-speaking audience. The ‘Naina mile’ song is very good. The ‘Sana’ song is also enjoyable. The other songs have the typical Madrasi flavour. Song picturisations (Prabhu Deva, Raju Sundaram, Remo D’Souza and Dinesh Balraj) are mind-blowing. The ‘Kilimanjaro’ song is a treat for the eyes, what with superb choreography and fantastic foreign locales. The choreography of ‘Naina mile’ is also extraordinary. ‘Arima Arima’ has been beautifully shot. The sets (art direction: Sabu Cyril), especially on which the songs have been picturised, are rich, eye-filling and heavenly. Peter Hein’s stunts and action scenes are extraordinary. R. Rathnavelu’s camerawork is marvellous. Computer graphics, animation and visual effects are world class. Production and technical values are grand. Dubbing is superb.
On the whole, Robot may have taken an average start but it has the potential to pick up by exciting and positive word of mouth to ultimately prove a winner. The original Tamil version has the germs to become the biggest ever Tamil blockbuster.