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Film Review: Robot

Film Review: Robot

October 03, 2010
Pulkit Datta

Man vs. machine - Rajni vs. Rajni - this film is an explosion of entertainment. You can't miss it.



Forget about subtle. Director Shankar’s Robot is so confident in its outlandishness and star power it almost seems pointless to write this review. With Robot Shankar and his star Rajnikanth take the viewer on a riot of a journey, going above and beyond their last outing together Sivaji-The Boss. The canvas and vision of the film is HUGE (yes, it deserves the capital letters). Absolutely nothing is understated in this film, and Shankar and Rajni don’t really care. They care about an explosion of entertainment and that is exactly what defines Robot. The film has holes and blemishes aplenty but with a film such as this, you want to watch it to be carpet bombed with the director’s larger-than-life imagination. That, and more special effects and CGI than you have ever seen in Indian cinema.

In terms of story, Robot is very simple and rather predictable. A genius scientist Vaseegaran (Rajnikanth) creates an android in his likeness and christens him Chitti. Soon enough, this robo-Rajni falls in love with his creator’s girlfriend Sana (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) and, with the connivance of Vaseegaran’s jealous mentor Dr. Bohra (Danny Denzongpa) goes Frankenstein and wreaks havoc on the world. Well, just Chennai. Those expecting the same charmingly silly humor of Sivaji–The Boss will be somewhat disappointed. The comic moments are relatively rare, the sexual jokes are crude, and the two lab assistant sidekicks to Vaseegaran (Santhanam and Karunas) fail to deliver the funny punches and are unnecessary in general.

However, Shankar fills Robot with creative plot developments and inspired moments. For instance, there’s a distinct change in Chitti’s character as he goes from emotionless to gradually evolving feelings, effectively expressing anger, sympathy, and his downfall, love. Also, in a masterstroke of writing by Shankar, the increasingly enraged Chitti outdoes the original villain Dr. Bohra, thus pitting Rajni the scientist against Rajni the robot for a climactic showdown. The film is also littered with very forgettable scenes and special effects – the fetus animation and the talking mosquitoes are just plain ridiculous, even for a film like this. Redemption comes in the climax, which is about thirty minutes of CGI gone wild. Watching hundreds of Rajni robots forming a giant cannonball, then a drill pummeling the ground, then a slithering anaconda, and many more such destructive formations is a sight to behold. It’s out of this world and keeps you gripped.

It is almost impossible for anyone to outshine Rajni in his films and that applies to Robot too. There really is no reason for Aishwarya to be in this film. Her role could have been played by anyone else and besides looking gorgeous she doesn't add much to the plot. She shrieks and whines as the damsel in distress, over and over again. Danny Denzongpa delivers perhaps the most restrained of all the performances in such an over-the-top film. He brings a cool and calculated cunning to his role. As for Rajni, the thirty-second title sequence at the beginning of the film announcing him as “Superstar Rajni” says it all. It’s his film throughout and he never lets you forget that. He essentially plays three characters in Robot – the brilliant but somewhat wimpy scientist, the adorably clueless “newborn” robot and the invincible destruction machine that he eventually becomes. My favorite has to be Rajni as the evil robot. His maniacal laugh, ridiculous wigs, and obsessive need to please Sana, are played to masala-film-villain perfection.

I have to salute Shankar for realizing such sensational vision and taking Indian cinema to a new level of mass entertainment. Robot has a very simple yet effective man vs. machine message at its core and, despite a loose script and a lengthy runtime, it is a cinematic spectacle. The action scenes and stunning song sequences explain why this is reportedly the most expensive Indian film to date. If the recent Dabangg was a storm, Robot is a category five hurricane! You can’t miss the experience.


17 Comments

  • ramasamm
    By
    ramasamm
    08.03.11 05:47 AM
    ONE SUN...
    ONE MOON...
    ONE SUPERSTAR...

    RAJNIKANTH...

    in this vast milky way galaxy...
  • Ranjini
    By
    Ranjini
    09.11.10 12:08 PM
    Hmm....what can I say, except that when I read you rreview, these are the very same things that went through my mind as I was watching the film! And yeah, Rajni, the evil robo was my fav too xD Aishwarya has made a trade out of being the whining damsel in distress and looking damn good while at it! Now shouldn't that be appreciated? lol! I thoroughly enjoyed the CGI FX and just for that I must admit that everyone should watch this film atleast once.If for nothing else, just to know how to make a film with a very ordinary, common storyline and still get away with it because of the very presence of a superstar like Rajni!!
  • Venkat
    By
    Venkat
    08.11.10 07:22 PM
    Hai folks, i love chitti s performence especially in the first half and its a great acting by my superstar. me and my friends really amazed by watching this movie .its so awesome style by chitti , director shankar,superstar and vfx had really done an extreme hard work for this movie hats off to them and i wish them to do more and more like this from the upcoming projects. If that happens again i ll feel happy once again after this biggest block buster hit :-)B-)
  • Drake
    By
    Drake
    29.10.10 04:02 PM
    Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and AR Rahman are the only reasons to watch the film. The overhyped climax is just blah. Shankar should make movies with a good storyline. And Rajni? He's fugly and he does not deserve to share screenspace with the most beautiful woman in the world, Aish.
  • Lisa
    By
    Lisa
    13.10.10 09:58 PM
    Hey people, Im from South africa..when it comes to indian movies my family n i usualy w8 4 it 2 come out on Dvd 2watch at home, But this m0vie Robot we said we just hv 2watch on da Big Screen so yesterday evenin we all watchd, My Mum went 2da m0vies/Cinema afta 28yrz nd my Aunt afta 25yrz Jus to watch 'Super Star Rajni' at hz Best! it was Super Awes0me, its m0re den w0rth it Aish is gorgus as ever! Sir Rajni u make us South African Tamilians PROUD 2 B TAMIL! Mwah!
  • Raju
    By
    Raju
    10.10.10 10:21 AM
    Read "Mandrake the Magician". You can read the same story of robots
  • HD
    By
    HD
    06.10.10 08:08 PM
    Movie Rasikan, do u have any idea what are u talking about? Sharukh Khan was never proposed for this movie. Shahrukh Khan is a 10 years old kid if you compare him to Rajnikanth dude. Rajnikanth is the biggest superstar in the Indian Cinema. He is the second highest paid artist in Asia (After Jackie Chan). If you do not have any idea about Rajnikanth, better do your self a favor by searching google.
  • Movie Rasikan
    By
    Movie Rasikan
    05.10.10 11:39 PM
    It was effort with great VFX but shankar missed out the script and story line. Now I understand why Sharukhan & other lead actors refused this movie. No logic, I can prove that his technical clarifications are rubbish ..... Anyway , u can't compare this movie with Terminator series, In terminator, there was a good script and logic behind it.
    Enthiran could be a first & last effort by an indian director.....
  • barath
    By
    barath
    05.10.10 06:18 PM
    awesome review buddy..i too felt de same bt rajni rocked through out the film...its awesome to watch and fanastic cinematic experience....hats off to shankar
  • Shrinidhi Hande
    By
    Shrinidhi Hande
    05.10.10 12:20 PM
    I feel it is a one time watch movie
  • kavitha
    By
    kavitha
    05.10.10 10:19 AM
    great movie...
    must watch the movie
  • Pulkit
    By
    Pulkit
    05.10.10 10:16 AM
    Thanks all for the comments!
  • Joseph
    By
    Joseph
    05.10.10 03:06 AM
    Awesome review,it looked like pro
    Kindly continue the good work
  • kiruthigan
    By
    kiruthigan
    04.10.10 03:54 PM
    woooooooooooooooooooow
    a best Review to Robot all the best & This Tamil movie Endiran film's Review on here..

    Thank you
    (where is ur voteing button indlii?)
  • Vishal Gaba
    By
    Vishal Gaba
    04.10.10 03:50 PM
    Absolutely agree with you...just loved the movie...the only problems were the length and the songs [cudnt understand them in Hindi]

    Amazing experience :)
  • Pulkit Datta
    By
    Pulkit Datta
    04.10.10 06:35 AM
    Haha, I'm glad you practiced your whistling skills, Karaika. And I'm also happy to hear it released in Germany as well. Thanks for the comment!
  • karaika
    By
    karaika
    04.10.10 03:40 AM
    Great to read your review of ENDHIRAN it raises my anticipation to the movie I am lucky to see tomorrow here in Berlin, Germany - Tamil version without subtitles (the pictures will do I think), 35mm copy,super sound system! Though I am not just a fan of SiFi - even I love TERMINATOR 2 - I am looking foreward to the big, big masala effect.
    I just practised today to whistle on two fingers to give an adaquat Tamil comment at the show.
    Liked your review - will read more of you!
    Cheers
    karaika

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