Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Robot is a critic-proof film
I could write a regular review of the Rajnikanth-starrer “Robot” as I do almost every week. I could give you the story outline and list out the positives and negatives, talk about the performances. But that would make no difference because most people are going to watch this film anyway. And no matter how absurd the storyline might be, you cannot escape the sheer star power of Rajnikanth. He makes even the most ridiculous scenes and plot lines look entirely stylish and believable.
So, in a departure from the usual drill, here are some thoughts on ”Robot” rather than a regular review
- First, the story in brief. Rajnikanth plays three roles in the film. That of a scientist who creates a humanoid robot, the robot itself who ”falls in love” with the scientist’s girlfriend (Aishwarya Rai) and finally the “bad robot” who is out to destroy everything. That is pretty much all there is to the story.
- The action, special effects and animatronics in “Robot” are perhaps some of the best we’ve seen on the Indian screen. The climax sequence, though long drawn out, is especially impressive and you can understand why this movie cost the amount that it did.
- Rajnikanth seems ageless. You wouldn’t believe he is more than 60 years old from the way he jumps, dances and talks. Of course, it is also the result of some good make-up and special effects but I think I understand where all those Rajnikanth jokes come from.
- Aishwarya Rai looked more like the “Robot” than Rajnikanth did. Her expressions were entirely artificial and so were some of her costumes in the dance sequences. Also, this is the shallowest role she has done in a long time — she has nothing to do but kiss Rajni (on the cheek, mind you, this is a family film) and look good. And she doesn’t even manage to do that most of the time.
- The film is too long. Yes, I know it would have meant a little less Rajni but did we really have to witness a five-minute long conversation with him and a swarm of mosquitoes? A lot of the scenes are entirely unecessary.
- A R Rahman’s music is entirely ordinary. The lyrics on the other hand, are what you might call out of this world. One line goes “Mohenjodaro, jungle mein utaro”.
- Even though the film is all about the snazzy action sequences andhi-tech special effects, there is an underlying message — the man vs machine one — that gets through to the viewer quite effectively.
- Go watch this film anyway but I think one should watch it in Tamil. I have a feeling it’s going to be more fun that way.