Wednesday night my friends Nicky Drayden and Dave Chang and I went to see Endhiran, a 3-hour Bollywood extravaganza (well, there really is no other kind of Bollywood movie).

What’s so great about it is that it was a no-holds-barred bad robot movie, with singing and dancing and things blowing up, and the Indian army getting whupped up on by an evil robot with an evil laugh, who of course redeems himself at the end.The snake scene, with all the evil robots coming together, is the best robot snake scene in any movie, from now til eternity. I don’t care that it’s the only one right now. No other robot snake scene will be able to touch it.

The most famous Indian actress in the world, Aishwarya Rai, plays the love interest in a thankless role (weak, pushy, lives to shop, cheats on her medical exams, and is flirty and saucy but has no real moral code). But man, she can dance! And act! She was great! The lead, who played the mad scientist and the evil robot, goes by one name, Rajnikanth, and …eh. I mean, I know he’s super famous in India, which means to 1 billion people he’s a household name, but eh.

There’s some great social commentary about what women want in a man, including a robot man — he has to be able to cook and clean, and beat up on punks. But it’s ambiguous as to whether he could actually have sex (here we reference Star Trek TNG and Data’s assertion that he’s “fully functional”). There’s some nudging and winking about it, but I still thought it was unclear.

And in the end, Sana rejects him for the mad scientist even though basically the mad scientist a wuss, so there will be no tearing of the social fabric of Indian society in this movie!

Take a look at the trailer, which you can find on the link above. Ten minutes of unrelenting action.

And a robot snake.

Oh! And an inexplicable dance sequence in Peru, set among the Incas. (I think. There were llamas, so I’m pretty sure though.)

And my favorite bit of subtitling:

Mad Scientist: Shit!

Subtitle: Oh no!

And one of the best emergency birthing scenes ever.





admin · March 12, 2011 at 8:23 pm

It was everything that was advertised. 🙂 I’m looking at it on IMDB and noting that the movie basically broke even in India ($40M budget) and then made it up with worldwide revenues (the leaders being Malaysia and the US) to gross $90M worldwide.

Good observations about the moral subtext. The movie does sweat bullets to clean the doctor’s hands of the rampant bloodshed, but his love interest is indeed kind of annoying.

Also, I know Nicole was hoping that she would whoop some robot ass, but I’m starting wonder if the whole Chitti seduction was the movie’s equivalent of girl power. She proved her supremacy through overwhelming sexpotness.

admin · March 12, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Patrice Sarath · March 12, 2011 at 9:22 pm

I was thinking it was more the classic “traditional modern girl” theme. Sana was the ideal woman — just modern enough but in no way would she frighten the horses with her independence and drive. I know a few Indian women through work and man, they are nowhere near as prissy as Sana.

The more I think about it, the more the train attack scene was really distasteful.

I love that you are logged in as admin. Now everyone will know your secret identity!

NicoleMD · March 13, 2011 at 10:43 am

It definitely was a blast. I thought they did a great job pulling me immediately into the movie, got off to a running start compared to Hollywood where it takes 10 minutes to warm up. But I guess when you’ve got a 3-hour movie, you’ve got to cut somewhere.

I kinda liked that Sana had shifty morals. She should have gone with Chitti, though. I’m betting that he was “fully functional”.

Patrice Sarath · March 13, 2011 at 8:19 pm

That was my impression too, that he was ahem, functional. And you have a good point — would a virtuous Sana have been as interesting? Probably not.

Remember how we were like, we don’t HAVE to stay for the whole thing? I have to say, it didn’t drag at all, even though I for one was up way past my bedtime.

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