Endhiran (2010) (Robot)
Shankar’s Endhiran (2010) is the sort of material that would have proven gold in the hands of a director like Bertolucci or Hitchcock. It has been over a decade and a half since ‘Superstar’ Rajinikanth started playing himself in his movies, maintaining a Brechtian relationship with his audience wherein the actor would slip in and out of the context of the films on whim. And Endhiran only seems like a logical consequence of that choice. Watching the film, it would be useful to remember that the Tamil film and television industry fetishizes the Rajini image to such an extent that all spin-offs from it – spoofs, impersonations, derivatives and pastiches – are celebrated endlessly. New age actors imitate and try to emulate him all the time, with some of them even proclaiming that they’re the next ‘Superstar’. It has, more or less, come to a point where the Rajini image has assumed an immortal life of its own while the man responsible for it has been deemed a faint echo. Given this postmodern, post-Rajinikanth situation the industry is in, much of the premise of Endhiran – a grouchy, ageing, eventually-envious scientist builds a nearly-invulnerable android modeled on his younger self, which goes berserk and multiplies itself to the point where the original (copy) loses its value – feels faintly autobiographical. An affront in every which way to the generally revered tenets of Hollywood storytelling (and science) predicated on plausibility, causality and relevance – as if the writer-director has taken all those Chuck Norris-based Rajinikanth jokes to heart - Endhiran might just be the harbinger of something that was always within the reach of this industry: Tamil camp!
(Image Courtesy: SouthDreamz)