“2.0”… Shankar’s by-now tedious formula is saved by his imagination and a spirited Superstar

Posted on November 29, 2018

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Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/2-0-movie-review-rajinikanth-shankar-akshay-kumar-amy-jackson-baradwaj-rangan/

A meme popped up on my Twitter timeline this morning, saying that Rajinikanth is the only actor in the world who’s been in four kinds of films: black-and-white, colour, animation and 3D. I thought up another meme after watching 2.0, Shankar’s follow-up to Endhiran. Rajinikanth is the only actor in the world to do hundreds of roles in the same film, as both human and humanoid, in avatars that range from small to normal-sized big to super-big… But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 2.0 appears to pick up where Endhiran left off. If you remember, the ending leapfrogged 20 years, when Chitti (the good robot, whose rogue version gives this film its title) was an exhibit in a museum. So it surprised me, in this sequel, to see that Sana (Aishwarya Rai, who we see only as an image on a phone) is still the scientist Vaseegaran’s girlfriend. (Forget dating. This has begun to veer into the realm of carbon dating.) And she’s still as annoying, constantly sulking that Vaseegaran is not paying her any attention. At least, she’s not reduced to a garlanded photo on the  wall. Sorry. Scratch that. At least, she’s not reduced to a shimmering hologram whose backdrop keeps alternating between the seven wonders of the world. I forgot for a second that we are in a Shankar movie.

Instead, we have Amy Jackson as a machine named Nila. Is this Shankar’s cunning metaphor for the fact that the heroines in our commercial cinema are essentially mechanical creatures mooning around the hero — essentially a “domestic purpose robot”? But Nila, it must be said, does function as the brawn to Vaseegaran’s brain. She kicks some amount of ass, while still doing “womanly” things like watching mega-serials. I don’t judge her, though. You have to do something to not die of dullness around Vaseegaran, who is surely the most colourless protagonist in the Rajinikanth oeuvre. (He keeps jabbering about NASA, ISRO, and… Interpol.) Playing the bookish straight guy is one thing. Playing a flat-out bore is quite another. I mean, the cardboard cutout outside Kasi theatre has more life.

Continued at the link above.

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