Shankar's 2.0 is, undoubtedly, the biggest movie of 2018. The memories of watching the mammoth Baahubali films are still fresh in the minds of viewers. Now, 2.0 is here to give us another variety of the big-hearted awesomeness in the science-fiction space.
Enthiran opened with the song Pudhiya Manidha, which played as Dr. Vaseegaran (Rajinikanth) conducted experiments on his robot Chitti; Eight years later, in the sequel, we're directly introduced to Nila (a humanoid robot played by Amy Jackson). Nila looks so lifelike that a research student tries to flirt with her. This scene isn't as funny as it's supposed to be, but you'll notice how Shankar gives you a sneak peek into the world of artificial intelligence before he dives into the actual plot.
If you've watched the trailer of 2.0, the plot of the movie will not offer many surprises. This takes away the element of the unknown from the viewers while also, in a strange way, preparing them to connect the dots in the movie hall.
From the moment Pakshi Rajan (Akshay Kumar in a whistleworthy avatar) enters the screen, Shankar unleashes one ambitious idea after another. Every time Rajan took on the form of a sea of mobile phones, I held my breath. The largeness of these ideas definitely demands a 3D viewing, for 2D doesn't do justice to the visual effects at play here.
In the first hour, we're taken through the killings of characters that are related to the mobile-phone business. Remember how in Anniyan, the docile Ambi became a bloodthirsty Anniyan and punished those who committed crimes? Shankar has used the same treatment in 2.0 to turn an ornithologist into a vigilante. For Ambi, the death of his kid sister was a turning point; for Rajan, it's the disappearance of the birds from the face of the earth.
In other words, 2.0 is the tried-and-tested Anniyan template in the body of Enthiran.
Rajan doesn't have multiple personalities like Ambi did. He has a neatly-written sub-story that deals with his transition from a senior citizen to a shape-shifting vigilante. You'll see a different Akshay Kumar in these scenes—his appearance as an ageing professor is a hundred times better than the makeover that Rajinikanth gets in the name of Vaseegaran.
Shankar's hero and anti-hero keep changing their looks to suit the pace of the narration. While Rajan shifts from a sea of phones to a bird, and then a bird-man, Chitti changes from an obedient robot to an ultra-fun avatar as 2.0, where he brings back the mirth of the villain Chitti from Enthiran. If you find the climactic stretch to be peppy, it's only because of the punch dialogues and body language of Chitti 2.0. There's no other Indian actor who shows as much pleasure as Rajinikanth in egging on his on-screen opponents (be it as Parattai in 16 Vayathinile; as Prasath in Moondru Mudichu; or as Chitti in Enthiran and 2.0).
The movie makes some room include Sana (Aishwarya Rai) in the form of just her voice. Shankar does sprinkle other characters and reminders of Enthiran on 2.0, but it does hold up as a standalone movie as well.
But Indian filmmakers still need to pump in more money to make multi-crore sci-fi movies some action scenes do look artificial to viewers used to watching Hollywood movies.
Shankar delivers his most ambitious project yet without deviating from the theme of the movie—there are no unnecessary songs; and Amy Jackson doubles up as a comedian, eliminating the need to rope in somebody for that role. Has this film been directed by Shankar 2.0?
The reviewer watched the Tamil version of 2.0. Read our review of the Hindi version.