Enthiran (2010)
November 10, 2018 10:38 PM - Subscribe

This is a two and a half hour long Bollywood/Tamil musical/romantic comedy/sci-fi epic about Dr. Vasi, a brilliant scientist (Rajinikanth) who builds a robot named Chitti (also played by Rajinikanth) to protect mankind. Problems arise when Chitti falls in love with Dr. Vasi's girlfriend (Aishwarya Rai). This film's sequel, 2.0, is scheduled to hit theaters on 11/29/2018.
posted by DirtyOldTown (19 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This is a film that goes over the top, blows the top up, quickly gathers the pieces of the top together, reconstructs them into a higher top, then goes over that, and repeats the process 37 more times.

It is positively bananas. It plays like someone has been waiting since age nine to make a special FX extravaganza, then, upon reaching adulthood some decades later, was given an impossibly large amount of budget, which they then used to bring onto the screen every single idea they'd had in the subsequent 25 years.

I will be in the theaters to see 2.0 if at all possible on opening weekend.

You have never seen anything like this.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:42 PM on November 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm just gonna say it, at this point Kollywood action movies are more fun than Hollywood action movies. If you liked this you might also want to check out the two Baahubali movies.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:59 AM on November 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

It has the most intensive tone whiplash of any movie I have ever seen. It's almost indescribably.. intense?
posted by Faintdreams at 2:10 AM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

And, of course, being Bollywood manages to work in a musical number or two... Also, Ra.One is a hecka of a treat too, if you like your action both plentiful and turned to 12 but with a bittersweet edge...
posted by Samizdata at 6:52 AM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Movies like this tend to play during big festivals/holidays on tv here, so, I have this indelible experience of watching this in the family home and trying not to lose it during the big climax and that giant snake robot Enthiran which is The. Best.

I wish Westerners are more aware of the differences between the various movie industries. This isn't Bollywood, though they also had their own version around the same time starring their stalwart star, SRK, the abovementioned RA.One, which came out like a year later iirc.
posted by cendawanita at 9:52 AM on November 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

I saw this a few years ago at the Boston 24-Hour Sci Fi Film Marathon, and it was an absolute blast.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:00 AM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Heh. I'll be happy to oblige soon, with a long post on the choreographer for that song as well as the others from the movie, the fantastic Prabhu Deva/Prabhudeva). (I've been slowly going through every one of his dances and movies to put a good post together and I'm almost finished. Suffice it to say for now that Deva is something of a master of chaotic excess that works towards tonal unity. Making sense of any element of his dances is less the point than the feel of the piece overall. There is just too much going on to summarize, much of the time, which is what makes them so oddly compelling.

Here's an earlier example of a dance he choreographed for Rajinikanth. (Rajinikanth is a great star but not for his dancing per se. He's enthusiastic enough, but doesn't so much dance as amble about rhythmically while swaying his arms.)
posted by gusottertrout at 10:24 AM on November 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

So this wouldn't be considered a Bollywood film?

I am definitely aware this is in Tamil and not Hindi. Is that what would preclude it from being Bollywood?

I'm definitely always trying to learn more about the distinctions. At this point, most of all I know about Indian cinema comes from seeing movies my Indian friends recommend. I don't always get a lot of context.

This is awesome though. On its own nutty wavelength, but ceaselessly entertaining.

Any pointers or links that will help me better understand where this film fits in would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:12 AM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

India has a number of different film centers Tamil language films are generally considered part of "Kollywood", Hindi films are "Bollywood", Telugu movies are from "Tollywood". Those are the three biggest centers of commercial film making in India, but there are others that correspond to the other main languages as well.

Bollywood is often used by those outside India to talk about the entirety of its film industry, but it really shouldn't be done. It minimizes the importance of the other film centers, and through that those speaking the languages, and it paints a false impression of Indian film, making it all seem the same and something of a caricature to Western eyes. India produces more films than Hollywood, exports movies to other countries, and has a proud film tradition. Commercial Indian cinema is a more complex industry for having different languages and centers of production. Some movies that are successful in one language will be remade in others, sometimes several others with different casts and crews all at roughly the same time, while other movies get dubbed from one language to another so there will be two or more versions of the same movie out, titled differently for the different audiences.

There's a lot more to it than that, but I'm not expert enough to go into all of it. It is often just better to say Indian movie industry than Bollywood or any portmanteau term since that covers all the bases and suffers no chance for confusion.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:40 AM on November 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

> gusottertrout:
"India has a number of different film centers Tamil language films are generally considered part of "Kollywood", Hindi films are "Bollywood", Telugu movies are from "Tollywood"....

Cheers for the clarification!
posted by Samizdata at 4:24 PM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

hello please enjoy one of my favourite songs from this glorious cinematic masterpiece

SO CONFUSED. Can people who have seen this movie or speak Tamil help me out?

I mean, the song is called Kilimanjaro. Which is in Africa. Which makes me think that maybe some of the costumes etc of the non-star dancers are meant to represent Kenyans?

But it's obviously filmed at Machu Picchu? Which is 12000 km away? And there are llamas (or similar camelids) and a Quechua-looking woman?

posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:23 PM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

don't worry, filmsong locations generally have no relation to the lyrics or the movie itself. it's literally 'for the aesthetic'
posted by cendawanita at 6:07 PM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

It is often just better to say Indian movie industry than Bollywood

and then you can get into the various movie rivalries! which is basically a subset of language and regional rivalries (eg Tamilians and Southerners get very salty with Northern/Hindi supremacy). (I kinda fall into this a bit whenever I see a random Baahubali gifset get tagged as bollywood on tumblr, despite not actually being a Tamil-speaker)
posted by cendawanita at 6:13 PM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

SO CONFUSED. Can people who have seen this movie or speak Tamil help me out?

that is also not actually them singing, they are lip syncing to javed ali and chinmayi's singing, who are two v famous playback singers that provide vocals for a lot of indian cinema.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:17 PM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

SO CONFUSED. Can people who have seen this movie or speak Tamil help me out?

This site has the lyrics to the song roughly translated into English, the accuracy of which I can't vouch for, but it scans kinda like I'd expect.

The short answer is there likely isn't any strong connection between the song, the location, and the larger story and wasn't intended for there to be. Movie songs are kinda things unto themselves in a lot of commercial Indian movies. Meant to as much be listened to out of context as within.

That isn't unusual, songs, particularly love songs, in commercial Indian films often are "transportive", showing the two potential partners in some exotic locale more befitting the idea of romance and love than having anything much to do with the story. It used to be common for it to be local mountains, fields, or a beach, sometimes during a downpour and/or in some abstract stylized set or props that meant nothing very clear but looked impressive. Then it seems that some movies got fancier with these songs knowing they were selling points in themselves, so they'd make some effort to find more unusual locations. I gather for Enthiran they spent three weeks scouting locations around the world including places like Germany, so they never really were that interested in Mount Kilimanjaro as a location. That they were able to get permission to film at Machu Picchu was something of a coup since the government of Peru doesn't allow much filming there.

It is also probably worth noting that many popular movie songs have lyrics that don't translate to anything at all, they are just used for their sound. I've read some sites that say that was what the composer A.R. Rahman was interested in, the sound of the word Kilimanjaro and used that as something of a building block in the song. For those of us who don't understand the languages the songs are written in, this is often a bonus, some popular Indian songs, like those from the West, have dreadful lyrics when you see them printed out, but hearing them sung without understanding them can be quite charming. Of course it also means missing out on the good lyrics, so there is liable to be some notable difference between outside favorite and native speaker favorite songs, but I imagine that's true for English language songs for other areas of the world at times too.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:35 PM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Not to derail the thread from discussing the movie, but as a comment on all of the many confusing aspects of the many "Ollywoods" and traditions of Indian cinema, it's really freakin' difficult to find good clear sources online that cover these things. Some of it is out there if you know what the right questions are to ask, like that of the different film centers, but knowing the right questions isn't a given since India does have a unique system of production.

Going beyond the basics is exponentially more difficult because almost no critics in the West have looked in depth at commercial Indian films, mostly focusing on a few more "arthouse" directors and some random extremely popular films like Sholay if they bother to notice anything at all. Indian film fans, however, are in great abundance on the web, which doesn't necessarily help matters in digging up basic info. There are so, so many sites and videos that offer the same info, mistaken or limited info, or just celebrate stars, movies, and songs without adding context that finding useful information sites for those trying to learn anything beyond the very basics can be exceedingly hard. That isn't on the fans or sites they support of course, but it does make sifting the sites for what you want to learn a major hassle and trying to figure out the reliability of the information you do find, even more of a pain as sites contradict each other or don't give adequate background to their claims.

For India being such a major movie hub, this is really frustrating. It leaves so much in the dark that one simply has to watch lots and lots of videos to try and make sense of it in even broad strokes. Sorry, I just had to vent since I've been immersed in looking for info on some movies and actors for a couple months, after thinking I could dig up what I wanted in a few days, so I just offer this as a word of warning and some regret over what's lacking.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:19 AM on November 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

this is really frustrating.

This is really the key unfortunately when it comes to Indian cinema, popular or otherwise. When I was first exploring Indian popular films in the 90s it was all but impossible to find any reliable information on cast or crew. Even the credits of the films themselves could have misleading or confused information. I recall renting VHS tapes, thinking I was getting one film and then discovering that I had an entirely different film on the tape. That happened a lot.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:57 PM on November 12, 2018

They loaded up the CGI machine and pressed “Shuffle.”
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:43 PM on November 12, 2018

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