A little bit of ‘Khichdi’ amidst Rajinikanth’s ‘Endhiran’

This week science fiction comes alive with Rajinikanth-starrer 'Endhiran'. Also on offer for the first time, television serial 'Khichdi' on the big screen.

The much-awaited Endhiran, the most expensive film ever made in Asia, hit cinema halls in Bangalore last weekend.

The film that has superstar Rajinikanth in a dual role tells the story of Professor Dr Vasigaran’s (Rajinikanth) creation of  a super-intelligent android robot Chitti (also played by Rajinikanth). Complications ensue when Chitti discovers his human side. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan takes on the role of Sana, the professor’s lady love and Danny Denzongpa is the evil mind all set to steal his idea.

Like all Rajini films, this one relies on dialogues and punch lines delivered in the way that he tells them. So quite predictably, the essence of the film gets lost when it is translated to Hindi or viewed with English subtitles.

The inimitable Rajini does not disappoint, as he delivers punch line after punch line in the way that only he can. Who better than him to carry off the most incredulous stunts and pun laden dialogues in the most matter-of-fact robot like fashion, dressed in snazzy futuristic costumes to boot?

Equally fascinating is the use of technology to give us a film that sets the standards for Indian science fiction, a genre that has always been non-existent in India. Shankar is said to have spent ten years on the pre-production work involved in the film, and the effort shows.

So when Rajinikanth sends a bullet through his fingers to demolish his enemies, he no longer relies on style to pull it off. He now has the might and logic of technology, even when you retain a sense of amused disbelief.

Yet it must be admitted that the second half of the film could have done with crisper editing, and is saved only by Rajinikanth’s charisma. A R Rehman’s music is in keeping with the film’s futuristic theme. However, when inserted into an already lengthy second half, it does drag a bit.

Aishwarya looks ethereally beautiful as always but fails to emote at all the necessary places. On the other hand, Denzongpa is convincingly evil, and adds credibility to the tussle between good and bad that is central to the film.

So a rating of 3 on 5 for Endhiran. Definitely a good watch if you’re a Rajini fan and a huge leap forward for the science fiction genre in India. But be warned this is a film that is best appreciated in the original Tamil version, and not the re-told Hindi film.

Khichdi evokes the spirit of the television series

Keeping away from Hollywood and Bollywood’s big releases of this week, I bought a ticket to watch director Aatish Kapadia’s Khichdi, a film that looked promising but threatened to get lost amidst the hype and hoopla of the big budget releases.

The film has its genesis in the television serial Khichdi, set in the Parekh parivaar. It may also prove to be a trendsetter, as it marks the first time that an Indian television serial has moved to the big screen.

The film revolves around the attempt to create a dream love story for Himanshu (Jamnadas Majethia).  Helping him along in his search is the Parekh parivaar – Babuji (Anang Desai) Hansa Bhabhi (Supriya Pathak) Praful (Rajeev Mehta) and Jayshree Bhabhi (Nimisha Vakharia).  

As on television, Khichdi is a laugh riot, with witty dialogues that never fail to make the audience chuckle.

Yet unfortunately, the film also demonstrates that what makes for fun home-viewing may not always translate into a great cinematic experience on the silver screen.

So while the jokes are funny, the plot line remains predictable and the editing loose. While die-hard fans of the serial might still find it interesting, others could wonder about when they would get home.

So a rating of 2.5 on 5 for Khichdi. It’s a film with a great concept that could have been executed a whole lot better. Yet a definite one time watch if you want to re-live the fun of the television series. 

The ratings and what they mean

The ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and try to strike that difficult balance between cinematic critique and giving the regular film buff a peek into what’s playing in town and worth a watch.

1: Watch this film only if the director pays you

2: You could safely give this film a miss

2.5: A one time watch

3: Good cinema. Money well spent

4: Great cinema. A standing ovation

5: Simply speechless. A masterpiece

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