Enthiran (Tamil: எந்திரன், Entiraṉ ?) is a 2010 Tamil science fiction film co-written and directed by S. Shankar. The film features Rajinikanth in dual roles, as a professor and anandroid robot. Aishwarya Rai and Danny Denzongpa play other lead roles while Santhanam,Karunas, Kalabhavan Mani, Devadarshini, and Cochin Haneefa play supporting roles. The film's story revolves around a scientist's struggle to control his creation, an android robot whose programme was upgraded to give it the ability to comprehend and generate human emotions. The plan backfires as the robot falls in love with the scientist's fiancée and is further manipulated to bring destruction to the world when it lands in the hands of a rival scientist.
Dr. Vaseegaran (Rajinikanth), a professor specialized in robotics, creates a sophisticatedandroid robot in his own likeness after a decade of intensive original research. His mother (Revathi Sankaran) suggests naming it Chitti Babu.
At the International Robotic Conference in India, Vaseegaran introduces Chitti (also played by Rajinikanth) to the delegates. Later it is revealed that Vaseegaran's mentor, Dr. Bohra (Danny Denzongpa) was pre-occupied in a botched research project to create a similar superintelligent android robot.
Chitti endears himself to Vaseegaran's girlfriend, Sana (Aishwarya Rai) and helps her cheat in her medical school exams. They are caught, but Sana, fearing rustication, lies to the investitors that she does not know Chitti. Chitti learns that humans may choose to lie for self-preservation. Chitti's superhuman talents soon gain him a large number of fans, especially in the women's hostel housing Sana.
Vaseegaran prepares Chitti for a panel evaluation by the Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Institute (AIRD), which is headed by Dr. Bohra. The panel enquires whether Chitti's build conforms to the Three Laws of Robotics of Isaac Asimov. Vaseegaran replies in thenegative. During evaluation, Chitti almost stabs Vaseegaran at Bohra's command. Bohra convinces the evaluation committee that Chitti could not be relied upon in the battlefield because he could be easily manipulated to turn against his owners. Later, Chitti tries to rescue a bathing girl from a building fire emergency. Chitti carries her nude into the public and media focus. As she tries to run away from the TV cameras, she is fatally hit and run over by a truck.
Vaseegaran decides to modify Chitti's neural schema and embeds a positronic brain to allow him to understand human behaviour and emotions. Later Chitti successfully applies his text book knowledge of symphysiotomy to handle the complicated labour of Latha (Devadarshini), Sana's friend. The procedure is covered live by the media. Dr. Bohra arrives to congratulate Dr.Vaseegaran on the achievement. He also lets Chitti pass the AIRD's evaluation. But problems have only begun for Vaseegaran. Chitti begins to see Sana as its romantic interest and makes advances. This triggers a confrontation between Vaseegaran and Chitti at Sana's birthday party. Sana tries to explain to Chitti that she can love him only as a friend and asks him to forget her. Bohra tries to take advantage of the situation and tells Chitti that Vaseegaran is using him only for his personal benefits, and that he does not value Chitti's feelings. Bohra's words do have their effect on Chitti, who deliberately fails in an evaluation conducted by the Indian Army. Vaseegaran chops Chitti into pieces and throws it away in a landfill site.
Bohra, who had already struck up a deal with a German underground terrorist group through an Indian agent named Shah (Sabu Cyril) to sell them superintelligent robots, had failed to meet the deadline and is given an ultimatum by the group's leader. He retrieves Chitti's parts from the junkyard and fixes it up. He gives Chitti a new appearance, and embeds a "red chip" inside Chitti, thereby converting him into a ruthless terminator. Chitti gatecrashes Vaseegaran and Sana's wedding, kidnaps her, imprisons her in AIRD and threatens her with rape and creation of a cyborg by artificial insemination.
Vaseegaran establishes remote communication with Chitti via holographic projection and instructs Chitti to return to his lab. Chitti refuses to oblige and disconnects the transmission. Calling himself "Version 2.0" now, Chitti begins to create replicas. Dr. Bohra is killed by Chitti. Soon Chitti's army of robots cause mayhem in the city, and take over AIRD. Vaseegaran undertakes the responsibility to stop Chitti. Disguised as one of the robots, he successfully infiltrates the AIRD headquarters. Vaseegaran instructs the police to cut the power supply in the entire city, and Sana distracts Chitti from the problem by pretending that she had finally fallen in love with him. When Chitti and his army are about to run out of power, they find an alternate solution: they seize vehicles on the road and use their batteries to recharge themselves.
Chitti finds Vaseegaran, but as Chitti is about to kill him, the police force strikes AIRD. The robots assemble themselves into a sphere, snake, tower, and drill bit formations to defend themselves. One of the robots is immobilized by a grenade explosion, and is taken into custody by Vaseegaran. He uploads a computer worm into Chitti's network which temporarily brings down the robot army. Chitti identifies the source of the worm and sends a "self-destruct" command to the robot. The robots assemble in the shape of a giant and chase Vaseegaran's armoured bus. Vaseegaran uses the data he had backed up from the destroyed robot to de-magnetise the robot army, collapsing the giant formation. Chitti is pulled into the bus by a huge magnetic wall, allowing Vaseegaran access to Chitti's internal control panel, through which he instructs all the other robots to self-destruct. He then removes the red chip thus calming down Chitti.
In a court hearing, the jury rules capital punishment for Vaseegaran, citing the large number of casualties and damages to public propertycaused by the robot army. Chitti, explaining to the court that the law allows it to be treated as material evidence, if not as a witness, explains that it was Dr. Bohra who caused Chitti's deviant behaviour. He shows the court, using his eyes as 3D projectors, the video footage of Dr. Bohra installing the red chip inside him. The court decides to drop all charges against Vaseegaran, while concluding that Chitti should be dismantled in order to avoid further mishaps of the same kind in future. Back at the lab, in the presence of bureaucrats and police officials, an emotional Vaseegaran tells Chitti to dismantle itself. While taking off its parts one by one, Chitti apologizes to Sana and Vaseegaran for the problems it caused. A smiling Chitti then dismantles himself, with Vaseegaran, Sana, and all others around him, crying.
Twenty years later, in 2030, students in a science museum are escorted by a guide towards a showcase that has Chitti's body parts arranged. The guide tells the students that Chitti was the most advanced humanoid robot created, but it was dismantled due to "certain reasons". A curious student (Shriya Sharma) asks why, to which Chitti's head responds, "I started to think", implying that Chitti had not dismantled himself completely, and that he has been alive for 20 years.
- Rajinikanth as Dr. Vaseegaran and Chitti the robot
- Aishwarya Rai as Sana
- Danny Denzongpa as Dr. Bohra
- Santhanam as Siva
- Karunas as Ravi
- Devadarshini as Latha
- Sabu Cyril as Agent Shah
- Kalabhavan Mani as Pachaimuthu
- Revathi Sankaran as Vaseegaran's mother
- Delhi Ganesh as Vaseegaran's father
- Cochin Haneefa as traffic police
- Raaghav as college rogue
- Shriya Sharma as curious student
After completing Nayak: The Real Hero in 2001, Shankar announced a project with Kamal Haasan and Preity Zinta titled Robo, to be produced by the now-defunct production company Media Dreams. Despite announcing the project, due to a lack of backing, the project was canceled and Shankar began work on Boys. In 2005, Shankar made another project, Anniyan, which was mistaken to be the renamed title for Robot.
In early 2007, Shankar stated that his next project would be produced by his production house, S Pictures. Several websites claimed that he was set to take his maiden Telugu language film with Chiranjeevi, while others claimed that it was set to be with Mahesh Babu. Tabloid gossip columns reported that Ajith Kumar was considered for the film. Finally, in July 2007, Shahrukh Khan was signed on to be the male lead of Robot as well as the producer of the film. However, in October 2007, Shahrukh Khan and Shankar officially called off the project due to creative differences.
After further media speculation about Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan being roped in, official reports surfaced in early January 2008, that Rajinikanth was finalized for the project. Later in January 2008, Ayngaran International and Eros Entertainment agreed to become the producers of Robot. The film was unable to keep the name Robot in Tamil Nadu due to the English title. The government there exempts entertainment tax to films with Tamil titles. It was confirmed in September 2008 that the film has been renamed as Enthiran. The film's storyboarding and scripting was going on as told by Shankar in two interviews. It was subsequently announced that all those who have been committed for Robot should sign an agreement accepting that they will not commit themselves to any other project for the next two years of its production, with an exemption to the female lead, Aishwarya Rai.
In December 2008, Eros cited the failures of Drona and Yuvvraj for putting them under financial pressure. Soon, Ayngaran International too claimed that it was affected by the global financial crisis of 2008, forcing both production houses to transfer the project to Sun Pictures, who also attempted to negotiate a deal with HBO Films to release the film with English subtitles in the West. A final estimate of the budget was claimed to be 162 crore.
Apart from the original decided casting of Rajinikanth in the lead role, S. Shankar as director, and A. R. Rahman as film composer, who set a new record for the most expensive musician of India, the rest of the cast was named over the following year. Several heroines were approached to essay the lead female role with Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Asin Thottumkal, Trisha Krishnan, Shriya Saran, Priyamani, and Nayantara at the forefront. In late January 2008, Rai was announced as the heroine of the project and she later confirmed her appearance in the film to the news channel, Aaj Tak. In a subsequent interview, Rai expressed how much she always wanted work with Shankar and Rajinikanth, and was eager to work on the project. For the lead antagonist roleAmitabh Bachchan, J. D. Chakravarthy, Narain and Arjun Sarja were considered, but Danny Denzongpa was signed for the role. Comedians Santhanam and Karunas were signed up to portray important roles in December 2008.
Sujatha Rangarajan originally announced as the dialogue writer of the film, died during the production stages, with Madhan Karky Vairamuthu being named as his successor. Along with Shankar's usual directorial assistants, Manoj Bharathiraja, son of noted filmmaker Bharathiraja, was signed on to be an assistant director. Sabu Cyril was signed up as the art director, while R. Rathnavelutook up the post of the cinematographer, after K. V. Anand, Manikandan, Nirav Shah, Tirru, and Ravi K. Chandran all opted out.The music composed by Rahman would feature lyrics by Vairamuthu and Pa. Vijay, while Raju Sundaram would choreograph dance moves. The film would be edited by Anthony Gonsalves. Manish Malhotra and Mary E. Vogt, known for her work in Inspector Gadget (1999) and the Men in Black series, together would be in charge of costume designs. Along with Vogt, Yuen Woo Ping, the stunt co-ordinator forEnthiran, and the leading US-based Stan Winston Studios, who took care of the visual effects in the film, made their Indian cinema-debut.
FilmingEditRajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai at theMachu Picchu, filming for a song
Filming began on 15 February 2008 in Chennai, when portfolio photographer G. Venket Ram did a photo shoot with Rajinikanth. Following this initial shoot, S. Shankar and R. Rathnaveluwent on a world tour for location-hunting. The team visited Vienna, Austria; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Hanoi, Vietnam to pick suitable locations. The first three photo sessions were held with Rajinikanth in Mumbai and Chennai, with Aishwarya Rai featuring in the fourth session. The visual effects supervisor Srinivas Mohan revealed in a video interview that the film was a pioneer in India, incorporating previsualization techniques for seamless rendering of the computer-generated imagery and animatronics.
The first schedule of the film commenced on 8 September 2008 in Peru, where a song sequence featuring Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai was shot under the choreography of Raju Sundaramand Claudia Bruckmann at the historic site of the Machu Picchu. Other scenes for the song were finished off in the United States and then Brazil. Another song was shot in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Brazil. The shooting for the second schedule continued in the Indian state of Goa, where the initial talkie portions were filmed for ten days. The third schedule for the film included shooting in Himachal Pradesh for a song, which was then followed by scenes being canned in and around Chennai. Scenes featuring a Robotics conference involving Rajinikanth, Aishwarya Rai, Santhanam and Karunas were carried out at Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering and the Vellore Institute of Technologywith over four hundred students being used as extras.
During the final day of filming on 7 July 2010, the entire cast and crew, including Sun Pictures chairman Hansraj Saxena, took part in a celebration party commemorating the completion of the two-year filming process.
Although S. Shankar made an early claim that Enthiran would be a film for "everyone", including those who may lack computer literacy, the film makes reference to many scientific principles relating to the fields of engineering, computer science, and robotics.
Issac Asimov is mentioned several times in the film, including in the song "Boom Boom Robo Da" and in a scene in which Dr. Vaseegaran is asked if Chitti Babu was created with respect to Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, which Asimov first introduced in 1942 in his short story "Runaround". Vaseegaran responds to the question by saying that Chitti was not made according to those rules as Chitti's purpose was to kill enemy soldiers during war. The song "Irumbile Oru Irudhaiyam" further makes reference to many technical terms; a notable example is the line "en neela pallale unnodu sirippen", which transliterates to "I will smile at you with my blue tooth", alluding to the wireless technology. In the introduction of the film, Vaseegaran uses the popular programming test phrase "hello world" to test Chitti's speech ability.
Chitti's technical specifications are revealed during many scenes. Chitti often introduces itself by stating the clock rate of its central processing unit and its random-access memory limit, which is respectively 1 terrahertz (1012 hertz) and 1 zettabyte (1021 bytes). Chitti is also shown to be equipped with ZigBee, a wireless low-power communication specification. It is also revealed to have built-in Wi-Fi and medical imaging capabilities, which can be seen when Chitti uses ultrasound to screen Latha's baby during her childbirth. Chitti also possesses an ability to detect and remove malware within its system and in any network it may be part of, which is evident when Chitti remotely destroys a worm programmed by Vaseegaran during the film's climax to terminate Chitti's army of robots.
Chitti contains built-in wheels under its feet, which allow it to become a vehicle for faster robotic locomotion. Chitti is also able to recharge its battery by itself when low battery power is detected. This can be seen in several scenes of the film, especially when Chitti uses a transformer to recharge after fighting thugs on a train and when Chitti and its army of robots recharge themselves using car batteries during the film's climax. Chitti's body, made of titanium, is able to resist heat up to 1000°C (in comparison to pure titanium which has a melting point of 1668°C), which is evident during the scene when it rescues people from a burning apartment complex. Whenever Chitti is given a verbal command, it tends to take them literally, including slangs. This is evident during the beginning of the film, when Chitti is told to 'put' the television on, it results in Chitti picking up the television screen and dropping it on the ground. Chitti also is shown to strive to finish what it is told to do, and when not finished it would utter "task incomplete" to itself. Other unique abilities of Chitti include reading and memorizing books by rapidly scanning through pages, analyzing DNA and genetic decoding, communicating with animals, and rebuilding or dismantling itself.
SoundtrackEditMain article: Enthiran (soundtrack)
The film's soundtrack, composed by A. R. Rahman, was released on 31 July 2010. It coincided with a promotional event held at thePutrajaya International Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The soundtrack album's release rights were purchased by Think Music for 7 crore (US$1.6 million). After the second day of release, the album reached number one on the Top 10 World Albums chart on iTunes in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, making it the first Tamil album to reach the spot. The Telugualbum released on 6 August, while the Hindi album released on 16 August.
In August 2010, a few media reports claimed that Sun Pictures had sold the distribution rights of Robo, the Telugu version, to Telugu filmproducer Chadalavada Srinivasa Rao in Andhra Pradesh for 27 crore. The claim was later denied by Sun Pictures, who clarified that the company had not yet sold any distribution rights to anyone. After an initial unsuccessful attempt to take legal action on Sun Pictures, Srinivasa Rao lodged a complaint with the Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce against the film studio, claiming that they had cheated him. A formal investigation was launched following a police complaint from Sun Pictures and two individuals, Udhayakumar, a production manager, and Surendran, his accomplice, were arrested for illegally trying to sell the film distribution rights by creating a fake document that claimed the distribution rights of Robo were to be sold to Srinivasa Rao.
On October 1, 2010, the film opened in 2,253 screens worldwide including 555 screens in Tamil Nadu, 525 screens in Andhra Pradesh, 128 screens in Kerala, 45 screens in Karnataka, and 700 screens in North India. The film was released by Sun Pictures in Tamil Nadu; Gemini Film Circuit released the film across North India, while Seven Arts released the film in Kerala. The film opened in 300 screens overseas. Ficus Movies handled distribution of the film in its different languages in North America. The film was also screened at the 12th Mumbai International Film Festival and the 10th Tromsø International Film Festival. The DVD was released by Ayngaran International in January 2011, and is expected to be followed by a release on Blu-ray Disc.
A controversy regarding the film's plot originated near the end of August as Indian author Vijayarke claimed that Enthiran's story was similar to that of his 2002 science fiction novel, Man Robot, and demanded a credit for himself in the film. Vijayarke claimed that he realized the similarity after hearing S. Shankar narrate the plot during the film's audio launch, after which he emailed the director with his novel's story, seeking clarification. Yet another scandal broke out after the release of the film when a Tamil novelist, Aarur Thamizhnadan, made a complaint with the Greater Chennai Police against the director and producer of the Enthiran, claiming that they hadplagiarised the story idea from his novel Jugiba that was published in a vernacular magazine Iniya Udhayam in 1996. In 2007, the same group published the novel as the book titled Thik Thik Dheepika. Unlike the previous author, however, Thamizhnadan took the issue to the Madras High Court in November 2010. Following Thamizhnadan, other authors also claimed the story of Enthiran to be theirs.
Enthiran has received widespread critical acclaim. On the review-aggregation website ReviewGang, the film scored 7.0/10 based on 9 reviews. Behindwoods.com gave the film a 4/5 star rating, highlighting the film's direction and visual effects. On Rajinikanth's performance as an antagonistic robot, the website claims that "one feels no doubt whatsoever that no one other than Rajnikanth could have pulled off this character [...] he scores; exuding brilliance and charisma in every frame." About its Hindi version, Anupama Chopra ofNDTV says, "Robot rides on Rajinikanth’s shoulders and he never stoops under the burden. Aided by snazzy clothes, make-up and special effects, he makes Chitti endearing", while giving it 3.5 out of 5. Aniruddha Guha of Daily News and Analysis rated it 4 out of 5 and wrote, "The film has the best special effects ever seen in an Indian film. Never before could you imagine the kind of climax you see in Robot... Aishwarya is an inspired bit of casting. Her charm to be able to attract even a robot comes through and she looks like a million bucks. Thankfully, she gives a performance better than in all her recent films. Danny is efficient as usual... Robot, simply put, is one of the most entertaining Indian films – across all languages – ever made... This a Rajni fest all the way, and it’s not to be missed." Gautaman Baskaran of Hindustan Times rated it 2 out of 5: "Shankar’s work slips into a loud, overdramatic and exaggerated mess." Nikhat Kazmi of Times of India rated it 4 out of 5: "Robot is the perfect getaway film, guaranteed to give you a high with its heady over-the-top Tamil flavour. You might just overdose on the pungent masala fare." Vinayak Chakravorty of Mail Today gave it three and half stars out of five and cheekily called the film "Rajnificent!"
After a screening at the Mumbai International Film Festival, American film director Oliver Stone praised Enthiran as "crazy" and "very original". Likewise, Jon Landau, producer of Avatar (2009), termed Rajinikanth as "amazing" after viewing the film's trailer. In a personal appreciation letter to S. Shankar following the film's release, K. Balachander described Shankar as "India's James Cameron", Enthiran as "India's Avatar", and Sun Pictures as "India's MGM".
Box officeEditA poster advertising the film's 100th day of theatrical run in Tamil Nadu
Enthiran grossed 62 crore from all versions in the first weekend, and 117 crore in the first week, thus becoming the first Indian film to cross this mark in a week. The film netted 60 crore in Tamil Nadu, 30 crore in Andhra Pradesh, 8 crore in Kerala and 4 crore in Karnataka. In Chennai alone, Enthiran grossed a record 6.3 crore in ten days. During the first week, the film's Tamil and Telugu versions fared exceptionally well, while the business of the Hindi version (Robot) remained ordinary, and did not make as much impact as Enthiran with around 11.3 crore net business in the first week and 5.9 crore in the second week. The film did a bit better at select single screens in Maharashtrabut overall poor, especially in the regions of Delhi and Punjab. In the first week, Robotnetted 2.4 crore in Mumbai and Thane from 107 screens, 96 lakh in Delhi from 27 screens, and 56 lakh in Ahmedabad from 28 screens. In the second weekend, Robot netted 3.2 crore. The Telugu version Robo grossed 3.7 crore as share in Nizam in three days
In Malaysia, Enthiran grossed $1 million in the first weekend from 80 screens and $2.9 million in two weeks. In the United Arab Emirates, Enthiran grossed $301,000 in the first weekend while Robot grossed $86,000. In the United Kingdom, Enthiran was released by Ayngaran International while Robot was released by B4U Network. In the first weekend,Enthiran opened at 11th position in the UK collecting £295,148 from 30 screens while Robot opened at 21st position collecting £62,134 from 41 screens. Enthiran had accumulated $785,837 by the second weekend from 34 screens in the UK. Enthiran opened at 12th position in the US in its opening weekend collecting $1,520,108 from 64 screens, while Robo debuted at 17th position in its opening weekend collecting $481,680 from 36 screens and Robot at 34th position in its opening weekend collecting $164,390 from 39 screens. In Sri Lanka, the film lost its sheen at the box office as the audience found it "outlandish". According to Eros International, Enthiran had grossed 61 crore overseas—including 20 crore in the United States, 8 crore across Europe, 7 crore in theMiddle East, and 21 crore in South East Asia. The film is likely to be amongst the top five grossing Indian films in overseas markets. In Singapore, the film grossed S$2.5 million from 22 screens.
Ajay Vidyasagar, Chief Operating Officer of Sun TV Network maintained that Enthiran's revenue accounted for approximately 30% of the total revenue for the company's fourth-quarter in 2010. He also added that the film, produced on a budget of 132 Crore by Sun Pictures, has made 375 Crore. By those accounts, it has now become the highest grossing Indian film.