So what’s Chitti up to this time?

So what’s Chitti up to this time?

All eyes are on Chitti, the lovable robot-turned-monster, as he reappears in 2.0, the Rajinikanth block-buster releasing on Thurday

'2.0' will hit the screens this Thursday. 

One of the best scenes of Shankar’s sci-fi flick Enthiran (Robot) comes early into the second-half.

Chitti (Rajinikanth), the robot, has upset his creator Dr Vaseegaran (Rajinikanth again). Reason? A trust question. Chitti, from an innocent machine, has undergone a major transformation. He is invested with emotions. Vaseegaran’s joy of creating a special robot is however short-lived as Chitti begins to eye his girlfriend Sana (Aishwarya Rai).

“You can’t do this, Chitti! Sana is my girlfriend. This is treachery,” screams Vaseegaran.

“You can do this Vasi,” begins Chitti. “This is nothing but sacrifice. Give up your love for the sake of your research,” Chitti responds, in a flawed and cold-hearted tone.

Sana intervenes in the heated argument and politely tells Chitti why a relationship between a robot and human being isn’t possible. She hits him over the head by asking him to erase her off his memory. A heart-broken Chitti is shown taking a slow walk back. Cinematographer R Rathnavelu’s lighting is brilliant here. A R Rahman’s poignant background score lifts the scene further and Sujatha’s dialogues linger on. And we quietly tell ourselves: welcome to a Shankar film.

Sci-fi films, especially in India, generally adopt an action-heavy template. But Shankar fills Enthiran with this most important aspect required in movies of this genre: a giant-sized heart. Enthiran, released in 2010, had an equal share of wow moments and emotional sequences.

Mounted on a budget of Rs 150 crore, Enthiran, India’s then most expensive film, turned out to be a pan-Indian success. Eight years later, its spiritual sequel 2.0, carries sky-high expectations. The buzz around Shankar’s magnum opus has put Chitti, one of the iconic characters of Indian cinema, back in focus.

Chitti is a machine with unimaginable powers but it’s his child-like persona that wins our hearts in Enthiran. Like an infant taking baby steps into a world that’s big, bad and mostly unfamiliar, Chitti finds himself in situations that generate the laughs.

The pace of the narrative is slow but Enthiran doesn’t feel like a stretch thanks to the carefully placed VFX-aided action sequences that make a mockery of Bollywood superhero or sci-fi films. The action is slick in the first-half while it is jaw-dropping after the interval. The climax is a spectacle that only reiterates Shankar’s reputation as the biggest showman of the Indian film industry.  

At the interval block, antagonist Bohra (Danny Denzongpa) gives Vaseegaran a warning. “The game starts now,” he says. It does. In turning Chitti into a badass, Shankar offers a superb twist. The machine, now customized into a ruthless killer by Bohra, goes berserk and we fasten our seat belts. The ‘evil’ Chitti offers a riveting experience and that is a testimony to Rajinikanth’s comfort at executing villainous roles.

Shah Rukh Khan turned down the role of Chitti because of creative differences with Shankar. Rajinikanth, by his own admission, never imagined he would play a robot. He hesitated and doubted himself. But the veteran took the leap and today Chitti is unthinkable without the actor. Playing a robot, Rajinikanth gets the body language right. The voice modulation, especially in the climax, is spot on. “The climax brought a lump in my throat. I bow to your conviction and courage,” late legendary director K Balachander wrote in a letter to Shankar.

Many ironical scenes make Enthiran one of Shankar’s most meaningful films. The robot, that once called its creator God, attempts to kill him later. The scientist, who angrily breaks his creation into pieces, cannot watch his robot dismantle itself in the end. The android, once happy to have feelings, is relieved in the end to be naive.

“Prepare yourself for Chitti,” is one of the promotional slogans of 2.0. No doubt Shankar is a genius at handling technology. But like the first instalment, 2.0 will need a strong soul to escape the curse of sequels. Most importantly, fans await the Chitti they love.

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