March 15, 2011

So I Finally Watched 'Robot'

...and am I overwhelmed? Not really.

Entertained, yes. Very, very, very entertained.

So what if it's set in some mythical period where a Kargil war widow is still pregnant but Rajnikant has an iPhone? He probably created it as a toy and it took Steve Jobs 10 years to replicate it.

The stunning thing about this movie is... well, nothing. It isn't a Rajnikant movie in the true sense (or so I am led to believe, since I haven't ever seen a whole Rajnikant movie.)

For those of you who haven't seen it yet (there must be someone!), here's the story in a nutshell (it's full of spoilers, but who cares, you lot have seen this movie thrice at least. No don't deny it, I know who all read my blog, countable on the fingers of one hand and while I do love you all, you are vellas, aren't you):

Rajni (The Scientist) creates Rajni (The Super-Robot). The Robot is for the Indian army and is doing rather well at the Robot Pageant by strutting, showing off its skills and bowling everyone over until it starts messing up rather badly in the Human Judgement round.

At this point The Scientist takes him back to the lab to give him feelings. After this, The Robot falls in louwwwe with The Scientist's girlfriend. Meanwhile, Danny Denzongpa (who I had no idea was alive), a rival scientist, wants to build a similar robot for terrorists but can't, because he lacks the brainpower of The Scientist.

Somewhere along the way, The Robot also screws up his military tests badly (read: he sings odes to Aishwarya Rai and sticks a rose into a grenade when asked to throw it). The Robot is dismantled, then rises out of the Chennai Corporate Dumping Yard in Goosebumps fashion, assembles itself, finds Danny, gets a red destructive chip fitted into it, replicates itself, goes on a rampage, is finally stopped by The Scientist and finally dismantled in a court of law, but not before some moralistic science-vs-humanity preaching and Rajni-praising.

Complicated storyline? Maybe. Unpredictable? Haha no, but that's not what anyone's looking for anyway.

Now the highlights of this movie (and there are many!):

1. Aishwarya Rai gets a role that's made for her. Yes. Consider the facts. The lady is pretty, healthy, and behaves suitably dim-witted at most times. For any actress in any industry (but especially the South) that's perfect casting. Add to this, she is required to behave innocent, young, giggly, and wear outlandish costumes and dance to a song that calls her "Kilimanjaro, ladki parvat ki yaaron, aha aha", more or less a cross between a History lesson, Devang Patel and a Pepsi ad. See what I mean? Perfect for her. Someone show it to the Cannes jury though, it's a role of a lifetime.

2. Everything that Rajnikant himself does in his movies, a robot does in this one. Which, frankly, is nowhere as enjoyable. From the clips and bits and pieces I've seen of Supershtaar Rajnikant (chasing a butterfly through a field for lady love, two guns one bullet each, I'll-make-a-tornado-with-my-foot, etc) I did expect The Scientist to be doing most of the dhamaal here. But what to do. They're trying to adapt to changing sensibilities. Someone tell them that sensibilities haven't changed, Indian paablic is Indian paablic wonly, and a Rajni in hand is worth two robots in the bush. (Or, well, a million.)

3. When a mosquito bites Aishwarya, we're already halfway into the movie. I expected the robot to scan it for its genes/DNA (scientific people correct me if you like) and match it in the swarm of a few thousand mosquitoes that he finds when he goes hunting for the bite-r. But no, saar. The robot stands among the mosquitoes, turns on "Mosquito Mode" and begins a conversation with the mosquitoes. Yes, saar. Such is the brilliance. I am floored.

4. Everyone seems to have remote access to everything. But The Robot's creator does not have remote access to him. Such is life.

5. Aishwarya Rai's blondeness, carefully measured in most Bollywood movies, is given free reign in Robot. And man, does it pay off.

6. The Scientist works with the government but has piles of money, a convertible Mercedes, a bungalow, etc. Patents, I assume.

7. Joyalukkas is there! Nothing is more heartwarming than seeing the one thing you associate with South India, in a movie. It sort of reaffirms your arrogant belief that you've seen whatever there is to see out there.

8. Surprisingly forthright for a South Indian film (not that I would know, I've watched only bits and pieces of Meri Jung - One Man Army, Bajrang - The He Man, and so on).

9. Aishwarya Rai breaks up with Scientist Rajni by asking him to sign some papers (stamp paper, no less.) Now the dubbed version calls it "pyaar radd". I would love to know if the Tamil version makes more sense. Anyway, after this breakup (and patchup which occurs in two minutes), she becomes surprisingly supportive of his mad-scientist ways. Then again, who wouldn't be, if the scientist was Rajnikant.

10. Rajnikant needs only 2 assistants to create his SuperBot. Danny needs a few hundred evil-looking buggers, and still fails. Then again, Danny isn't Rajnikant.

11. Robots organise themselves into the best possible form for fighting an army of humans. Which is fine. But the arrangement begin from functional (massive spheres, spirals, etc) to purely mythical and terror-inspiring (massive pythons, arms, etc). Pretty cool strategy, if you think about it. First kill half your enemy. Then scare the remaining half out of their wits.

Will someone lend me a DVD of Sivaji - The Boss? Thankyouveryverymuch.


Abhishek said...

Watched the movie recently. It was less enjoyable than this post :)

saj said...

u r pretty prejudiced about the films from south. you haven't seen any of the films except those being shown in zee cinema and set max. u feel bollywood is prejudiced abt gujarathis and stuff like dat, it seems u r suffering the same syndrome nw. try to watch some good films frm south first