Subhash K. Jha speaks about Robot

This article was last updated on June 18, 2022

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At the cataclysmic climax point of this film hundreds of Rajnikanth clones (in custom-made wigs with scowls and grimaces to match) fill up the sumptuous screen space…one Rajni each for every member of the audience to take home? Bhai, hum aapke hain clone. No doubt about it. Does it make any sense to try to make sense of the Rajnikanth phenomenon? Break coconuts on your head in exasperation as his fans break them as auspicious omens. Rajnikanth isn’t going away anywhere. After playing the super-hero all through his miraculous rein at the top in the Dravidian belt Rajni (is there anything he Kanth?) now does the Superman act cloaked quirkily in a robotic saga that salutes Frankeinstein’s monster even as it creates an entirely new robotic prototype who can cook, look and even hook the resplendent Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. There is a delectable irony in the Robot and his Master (Rajnikanth, in a double role and we aren’t counting the climactic clones) wooing Aishwarya with unequal vigour. The scientist-inventor is a bit of a workaholic bore while his invention, the robot named Chitthi is a remarkably aggressive rogue, offering everything except, ahem ahem, sex to the comely leading lady who quite often looks bemused and amazed. Our response, exactly. Ever wondered what a really big blockbuster looks like when done as a 3-hour rollercoaster ride of kicks, grunts and squeals of delight….the last response evinced from the child within the audience. In the newly (re)invented Rajnikanth we have the perfect blend of the robotic and the humanistic. You can’t but marvel at the tone adopted to tell this tumultuous tale of two ceetees, one each for two Rajnis. Director Shankar leaves no stone unturned to provide the theme of the opposition between Man and Machine the dynamics of a doomsday prophecy done in a deliciously tongue-in-cheek style… non-stop. None of the goings-on is supposed to be taken seriously. But then none of this is to be taken lightly either. Robot is not an easy film to make. One can easily that. Director Shankar ventures into the sci-fi genre with the gusto of a child visiting a gigantic toy store in an alien country where foreign currency is not easily obtainable. The lavish spectacle that unfolds before our eyes especially in the last half-hour is a sight that leaves us open-mouthed. This is virtual reality that only Rajnikanth could carry off. He doesn’t need to ‘act’. He just needs to make his presence felt in ways that only he knows how. The scripting is far cleverer than it outwardly seems. The relentless stress on keeping the proceedings moving ahead of the audiences’ anticipation does not take away from the basic logistics and dynamics of an entertainer that defies all laws of gravity. Even if you are not a Rajnikanth fan Robot is a delightful time-pass entertainer with some walloping special effects and a whole lot of spoofy goings-on that don’t need to be probed, just experienced.
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