2.0 : They Have A Marvel, We Have A Shankar.

That’s improvising on a Marvel quote but nothing could be more truer. Shankar once made a love story that had two Aishwarya Rais romancing two Prashanths and he brought in a dinosaur in the climax scene just for the heck of it. This was in 1998 and I still haven’t figured out what that T Rex was doing in the film, but it was indeed as good as Spielberg’s dinos. Dinosaurs that looked life like were quite the rage back then thanks to breakthrough CGI in Jurassic Park and The Lost World and Shankar just had to have one in his film. A perfect one that looked like it walked off from one of the screens where The Lost World was playing and decided to check out Shankar’s Jeans. That’s Shankar for you. Remember how as a kid you had your favorite toy and did all sorts of stuff you could imagine with it? That’s all Shankar’s doing with Rajnikanth. He tested the waters with Sivaji and showed us a spectacle in Enthiran. Now in the Enthiran sequel 2.0, he has just gone bersek with his imagination. He in fact wanted none other than Arnold Schwarzenneger to play the bad guy to Rajnikanth. That failed during talks but how’s that for thinking big?

2.0 is not Shankar’s best in terms of content but it is indeed his most ambitious in terms of  vision and execution. He has focused all his attention on delivering the grand action sequences, so much so that the rest of the film is almost a rush of customary proceedings reminiscent of his earlier films and  I’m not complaining because he just doesn’t give the viewer the time to do that once the film starts rolling. After all, you need to think, to complain. It’s one CGI extravaganza after the other till the end credits roll. The CGI is indeed the best we have ever come across on Indian screens and given Shankar’s imagination even Hollywood studios would have budget concerns if they were to bring them to screen flawlessly. Lyca has done more than their best here I’d say. Almost all Shankar films to date have a core vigilante theme around which he builds the rest of the story. Here that core belongs to Akshay Kumar.No, he owns it.And one wishes Shankar had spent more time on that character.The back story of Akshay Kumar’s character was poignant and compelling which evoked a sincere and touching performance from the actor too. The sensitive enviornmental threat being discussed here is indeed true , confirmed by reports from the Ministry of Environment and Forest. Yes, Shankar takes more than a few liberties and resorts to his hat when science can’t explain the proceedings on screen. He throws quite a fair share of bull about 5th force at the audience but I don’t recall anyone complaining about Adamantium or Vibranium. Just saying in case you can’t live without logic,ironical though considering you’re in for a movie. Though it’s unlikely that the system or the people in charge would change for good, the disturbing message when passed on a scale as large as this is something that lingers, even if it’s only for a short time.

Of the actors, Akshay Kumar is the one who stands out. The appearance of his character seems to have been heavily inspired by Salim Ali , India’s greatest Ornithologist and Akshay Kumar has played the role with conviction, I felt. While Rajni lights up the CGI laden scenes with his moves as 2.0 , Vaseegaran is almost colorless. The mood of the film changes when 2.0 makes his entry and he even does the goat baying thing which rocked the audience in Enthiran. Rajni is at his entertaining best when he plays bad guys.He did that in Chandramukhi with Lakalaka. He manages to do that here too despite the mind boggling CGI Shankar throws at the viewers. Amy Jackson plays a robot and she is at home in the role. No, her jokes dont work but you hardly have time to squirm when the next big CGI scene is always around the corner.And yes you have to watch this in 3D. That takes the experience to a whole another level. ARR is at his best as always with Shankar.For a first in a Shankar film, you hardly have any song sequences except for the one with Akshay Kumar and his birds and the one at the end credits. Pullinangal is vintage ARR with minimal orchestration, a throwback to his Rasathi (Thiruda Thiruda ) days for me. Shankar is an entertainer and he knows commerical cinema inside out.He doesn’t need CGI to hold the viewer’s attention. In his debut film Gentleman, the hero played by Arjun is engaged in a fight mid-heist with an old cop. The cop knocks Arjun down and coughs before he signals Arjun to get back up. He’s just an extra but the scene and the stuntman stay with the audience for eternity .That’s the Shankar we love and miss. Shankar has had his inspirations too here in 2.0 I couldn’t but help notice and that brings me to the fact that in a movie this big that hopes to give Marvel a run for their money, the biggest and most delightful surprise was the smallest one. Find out what I’m talking about for yourself. You may not love it but you definitely cannot help liking it.

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