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by Venky

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A Hodge podge of Quantum Physics (with references to the forces of Gravity, Electro Magnetism, Strong and Weak Nuclear Forces), an introduction to the phenomenon of electrical coronal discharges that use the techniques of Kirlian photography, the true worth of the usually neglected science of ornithology all layered in with the crass and basic human emotion of greed coalesce together to form Shankar and Superstar Rajinikanth’s much awaited mega offering “2.0”.

In so far as the visual effects are concerned, 2.0 can give any Hollywood movie not just a run, but a very sprint for its money. However, in so far as the plot is concerned, the 140 odd minute spectacle is a clash of contradictions. Strong and susceptible in equal measure, the narrative grips but also meanders, enthuses but also enervates. But significantly, unlike a usual Thalaiva blockbuster does not hold you in thrall. The classic and unrivaled Rajini imprimatur is missing and such an absence is felt in dollops!

At the core and crux of 2.0 lies the proverbial tussle between the untrammeled rampage of technology and the battle to preserve the Planet’s eco system. Spurred on by the unceasing and ravenous appetite of 1.3 billion people, cellphone companies commence constructing a plethora of networks paying scant regard to the radiation courtesy the high frequency waves generated by the aural medium. Pakshi Raja (Akshay Kumar) is a famed ornithologist whose concern for the welfare of flying species extends beyond mere contributions to journals and lip service to technological hazards. Running from pillar to post, knocking on the doors of a myriad authorities, Pakshi Raja coaxes, cajoles and coerces the powers that be to bestow some sympathy on the birds. When all he gets for his efforts are brickbats, insults and a few blows to his body he decides to take things into his own hands and his roiling rage takes flight – literally. Transforming himself into a very embodiment of evil, the ornithologist steals cell phones from every user in the city of Chennai and harnessing its power rains havoc upon the inhabitants.

Enter Dr. Vasikaran (Rajinikanth). Heeding a call from the Government to rescue the public, Vasikaran resurrects his previously shelved robotic marvel and alter ego Chitti. Strictly obeying the three quintessential dictums of Issac Assimov’s laws of robotics, Chitti with the guidance of his creator, and another feminine humanoid, Nila (Amy Jackson) manages to contain the evil force that is Pakshi Raja. What otherwise seemed like a happy ending turns out to be the surreal lull before the ominous storm. When the dead and the buried are revived all hell breaks loose! Pakshi Raja makes a rampant and more vengeful appearance and this time it seems that there is no stopping him. Or is it?

Akshay Kumar as Pakshi Raja is stellar and executes his demonic role with sheer aplomb. A wrathful hell-raiser who is remorseless when it comes to intentions, he revels in his character leaving no stone unturned to make a mark in his Tamil debut. Standing toe to toe with Chitti, Akshay holds his own without even faltering once. The transition from the ornithologist Pakshi Raja to the evil wrecker in chief is exquisitely executed by one of the most bankable stars in current day Bollywood. If it is the intention of Akshay Kumar to make inroads into Kollywood, he has succeeded marvelously!

Amy Jackson has a meaty role to essay as the humanoid Nila and does justice to her role. The partner in crime of Chitti, she is torn by an irresistible attraction towards Chitti (human emotions are preprogrammed into her) and a call of duty.

But as may be expected, the heartbeat of the movie is Rajini a.k.a Chitti. Back with a thunderous bang, Chitti regales, resonates and reverberates with an ease that is effortless and with a style that is inimitable. The hideous and portentous laughter of Chitti Version 2.0 takes off from where it was last heard in Enthiran. Only this time instead of being directed at its creator, the mocking is exclusively reserved for Pakshi Raja. The Superstar of Indian cinema seamlessly slots into his niche and delivers a jaw dropping act that is delightful and delectable. However, it is not just Dickens’ Oliver  Twist who asks for more. One can be forgiven in assuming that the predilection of one of India’s premier Directors has been more towards Graphical effects than on his Great protagonist. This was an opportunity for Shankar to harness the blistering potential of Rajini and hurl his style and substance at his adoring legion of impossible and incorrigible fans. There is no semblance of doubt that at least in this regard, he missed the proverbial bus. At times the fact that true genius manifests itself in simplicity can be sorely and inadvertently missed.

Some of the dialogues are absolute sizzlers and no one other than Rajini could have done justice to them. The devilish intent and the disdainful show of respect for his opponent by Chitti 2.0 has glorious shades of “Moondru Mudichu” and “Moondru Mugam”  Chitti is a paradoxical concoction of innate sophistication and ingrained irascibility. More than anything else, he is Superstar Rajinikanth; he is Thalaivar; he is the emperor of style in Indian cinema. An emperor whose vicissitudes and prowess could have been lent a much wider lenience by Shankar than what he has resorted to in this instance.

While the background score has the usual flair and flamboyance of A.R.Rahman, Shankar has done a great job of going extraordinarily easy on songs with expansive sets. The cinematography is captivating and the dialogues a mix of the matter of fact and the macabre.

In a nutshell: 2.0 – RAJINI!

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