It's so easy to miss it in Endhiran: All the robots are played by the same Rajni. In effect, it's a triple-role. A serious Einstein-esque scientist, a stone faced good robot and the most diabolical robot.
That Rajni is an actor of epic levels is not in question - it's just been lost for a lot of years. Becoming a mass hero for nearly 20 years has taken its toll. I don't think the gradual transition to shun the 'superstar' image is an aberration - Sivaji the Boss had very few 'punch' dialogues with Vivek doing a few for him, this film has almost none('Ennai yaaralayum azhikka mudiyathu'). Whereas he would get the best entrances, his last two have been very simple - one behind bars and the other in a lab.
The best scene in the entire movie has to be the black sheep one - oh how I wish Rajni would act as a villain in a big budget movie - he'd set the benchmark for all future villains. The laugh(not everyone can laugh loudly and in progression - try it), the scowl, the sudden smile-to-frown, the walk - it's 'acting' at its best. More remarkable wearing the exact same costume but acting differently - the Vaseegaran in disguise and evil Chitti.
As far as the movie is concerned, it's worthy of a Hollywood production. The romantic angle(2 songs with Vaseegaran) is a stretch; the delivery of the baby is equally unnecessary. Shankar has written a very clever script - an exemplary scene is when evil Chitti gets 3 reports - the first on someone delivering food, the second on the video cam being disabled and then that his Highness has eaten - getting him to bring all his emotions ahead of other priorities - is genius. However, Shankar too, in his fantasy world, has decided that robots may not learn emotions - he delivers his to the robot via a quirk because of a lightning strike. What Do Women Want much?
Equally genius is the robots joining to form a sphere, a hand, a snake and a bigger robot. The first time I saw the trailer I was blown away.
It's pretty obvious Danny Denzongpa mouthed all his dialogues in Hindi. His actions in trying to derail Vaseegaran are a reflection of the real world, where minor flaws are blown to epic proportions so a competitor's plan does not succeed.
The graphics is excellent - though there are a handful of places where it could've been better.
Vaseegaran's lab is too clean to be a lab; NDTV's Sanjay Pinto makes a hilarious cameo - just words thrown in without much grammar - could be just headlines.
What's with the white guys amongst a group of rowdys trying to beat up Chitti and Ash on the suburban?
No matter how many movies he makes, Shankar never leaves his love for exploding cars behind. It's getting a little bit too boring.
There is one scene in which visuals and BG music line up beautifully - when Ash gives Chitti a kiss, his mouth opens in surprise and a draft slightly ruffles his hair, as a modified opening to 'Irumbile' plays(just before the intermission).
The mosquito scene is beyond present capabilities, so it well and truly falls into the realm of sci-fi. Which leaves a glaring mistake in the plot - why aren't the robots using solar power to charge their batteries? Non-solar robots fit into the movie's overall storyline but nonetheless it is a wee bit disappointing.
I remember reading an interview of Shankar, probably 7 years ago, when Boys released, where he lamented about his dream project involving robots being stalled because no-one was willing to spend 100 crores to make it. It's eerily similar to another person's complaints - James Cameron and Avatar. In his case it was that technology hadn't improved and no-one was willing to spend so much money.
AR Rahman's bg score is exemplary especially the trailing trumpet and the final hour or so - except for the '2.0' techno voice while evil Chitti faces the police while holding so many guns between his hands.
Shankar always finishes his movies with a message to the people - in this case it's that machines if used properly can aid mankind in his quest to do whatever.
Endhiran is one of the rare movies to get universal acclaim, including from the North-Indian press, which is suspicious, to say the least.
Whatever, the last 50 minutes, after the entrance of the evil Chitti are fantastic for anyone looking for a wonderful performance.
And Shankar's record of 100% hits with riveting climaxes continues. Still, it's Rajni's movie. What. An. Actor.