Robotics Engineer and Inventor Dr. Vaseegaran has built the world’s most advanced android; his ultimate goal the betterment of his country and by extension the earth. Unfortunately, what results is completely the opposite.
I grew up on Bollywood films. India’s filmic output has been world re-known; and not just for the sheer volume of releases. They’ve been making and releasing good production value films since the 30s, and have more awards worthy dramas than pretty much anyone. Unfortunately, they’re also known for ripping off western films and pandering to the lowest common denominator. Endhiran falls into this latter category, though not without it’s charms.
Although Endhiran isn’t a completely original work, it does manage to achieve its goal of providing what any movie should really, and that’s entertainment. As fun as it is, however, the movie is not without its shortfalls.
The film is a rather lengthy 3+ hours of semi-love story and often ultra-violent action, interspersed with a Bollywood staple of musical numbers. Most of the fun of the film comes from the action sequences, and the spectacle that is the musical numbers, but the story threads that hold it all together are where things flag precarious.
From a western moviegoer standpoint, there’s a lot of fat that could have been trimmed from the story and not just from actress Aishwarya Rai’s thighs. I’m kidding of course, she doesn’t look that fat in those pants.
The crux of the plot centers around the fact that the good doctor’s creation (a virtual clone of his likeness, but with MC Hammer era shades for differentiation) gains human emotion and then proceeds to fall in love with his fiancee. The audience (I expect) is supposed to be torn between these two sides of the same person. The doctor is a driven scientist type who’s work causes him to neglect his hotty girl and the android creation fills the void in the girl’s life left empty by the professor. The problem is that even after 3 hours of plot, there’s no chemistry. Not between the the doctor and his fiancee, the fiancee and the android, and very barely between the doctor and his creation. Not in any believable way anyway.
As the story unfolds, you find yourself concluding that the doctor has too many irredeemable qualities and the gold digging hotty he’s supposed to be all into? Well, she’s a gold digging hotty with pampered princess syndrome to boot. On a superficial level, some of the distrust in this love triangle plot lies with actor Rajnikanth who plays the doctor (and his creation, Chitti). He is entirely too old, both in age and in taste. The similarities to a toilet seat Elvis are unavoidable. I can only explain his existence in this film as due to his being a famous personality in the region. Western audiences, however, probably won’t buy him as a believable love interest for the much younger Rai.
So, not a whole lot of good to say about this right? Well, not entirely true. For a couple of reasons. The humor. I found that much of the humor, usually involving Chitti the android’s interaction with every day people to be well handled. There’s a particular funny exchange very early in the film between a parking meter cop and Chitti where misunderstandings go from comic to darn right dangerous. The other reason to give this film a go is the quite well conceived action.
Endhiran has some of the most spectacularly over the top sequences in recent memory. The kind of action that will leave your jaw firmly planted on the floor. There’s a very well choreographed martial arts close quarters fight on a train that will rival anything you’ve seen in the recent rash of Thai fighting movies. There’s a huge sequence at the end of the film that involves a car chase and hundreds of Chitti clones transforming into various robots, monsters, and other unique objects for maximum destruction. Chitti almost takes down the city’s entire law enforcement establishment, quite literally. The action comes in big and small sizes, and is thankfully interspersed throughout the film’s length, and in each case is very well handled.
Endhiran can best be described as India’s version of a Michael Bay spectacle. The story exists seemingly for the sole purpose of allowing for the believable stringing together of eye popping action sequences. If you watch it with those expectations, you’ll have fun.
C – for storytelling
B+ for the Action
C+ for the Music
Overall grade of B