Posts tagged endhiran
By Neville Bode, October 18, 2010 – 15:43 IST
With the enormous success of the South Indian blockbuster, Robot (Endhiran) has already made a benchmark in the evolution process of filmmaking in India. The Rajinikanth – Aishwarya starrer directed by S.Shankar, got rave reviews for its uniqueness in action and visual effects. With a budget of over a hundred and fifty crores, 25 % of the funds were allotted in executing the commendable work done in VFX that helped in the narration of the film.
The film revolves around Dr. Vaseegaran played by Rajinikanth who invents a High-end robot named Chitti, a mirror of his own image. The scientific body, AIRD, declines the approval of the robot stating that it does not have emotions and the ability to make rational judgment. An unexpected flash of lightning induces emotions in the robot, and Chitti is geared up for its integration into the human world. Chitti then falls in love with Dr. Vaseegaran’ fiancée Sana played by Aishwarya Rai and goes against his creator.
The film has already spread its wings across the globe with raking in massive box-office collections. V. Srinivas Mohan, the VFX supervisor of this film and CEO of the VFX studio – Indian Artists, utilized the innovative skin grafting technology that got laudable appreciation from critics for Sivaji. Shankar got him on board for his latest endeavor Endhiran. He has also worked with the director in Aparichit and Boys hence it was certain that the director would need the VFX extraordinaire in executing the science-fiction film. Along with him Frankie Chung of Kinomotive studios and Eddy Wong of Menfond Electronics & Arts, both from Hong Kong, also worked as additional VFX supervisors for their respective sequences.
Robot boasts of a mammoth 2000 visual effects shots in 40 scenes. The bulk of the VFX work was undertaken in Srinivas’ Indian Artists Computer Graphics Pvt. Ltd., Kinomotive Studios, Menfond Electronics & Arts, Pixion, Vensat, Firefly Creative Studios Hyderabad, EFX Prasad Studios, Oyster and Ocher studios also assisted in executing some of the VFX and post production work for the film.
Apart from the studios that were on board in this project, talented freelancers from London, Iran, Germany, France and Hong Kong were required for their expertise.
In this exclusive two part case study, BollywoodHungama gets to the bottom of the making and visual effects process that made this monumental film and Rajinikanth shine like steel.
Shankar the director called up Srinivas in the winter of 2007 and narrated the entire story to him for over four hours. Amazed and excited about the project since nothing of this nature was undertaken by any filmmaker in India before. The conceptualization and ideation was done entirely by the director. Following the preparations of the script, Srinivas explained to the director that pre-production and planning was needed to execute his ideas before production of the film began.
When Srinivas, the VFX supervisor, understood the script, a test was carried out to get a glimpse of the scene with visual effects. The director and Srinivas chose the train sequence for the test. With the shot divisions regarding the different camera angles in place during pre-production, an animator Sanath P.C. from Hyderabad was roped in to enhance the pre-visualization process.
Maya, an academy award winning software was used to create a digital set based on the script. Layouts of the train and characters were made using the software, although the team didn’t finalize any locations during the test, they used actual physical proportions of a real train. Once the director approved of the layouts, basic actions of the scene were carried out.
Srinivas along with the director and the director of photography blocked the camera angles for the scene using the software. Each shot had 2 to 3 versions of camera angles made to get a better view of the sequence. With the digital shots in place, temporary clips better known as ‘playblasts’ were extracted from the software to view the shots they made in real time. With these clips in hand, Anthony – the editor, was required to line up these clips according to the scene. This gave the team some room in improvising the shots that were made. Utilizing this method, the team planned out 40 crucial visual effects scenes of the film.
After the test
Shankar did the shot division of the script which he handed over to the supervisor for pre-visualization. With the pre-visualization sorted out, Srinivas who headed the visual effects team did the entire VFX breakdown of the film. With this the team had more clarity in terms of execution and knowledge of the different layers that consisted of live action, CGI and animatronics. Based on the breakdown, Srinivas started hunting for appropriate artists and talent they needed for the film.
Director of Photography
The D.O.P, R.Rathnavelu was instrumental in the pre-production stage; he helped Srinivas and the director in blocking the different camera angles that were required. This clarified what was needed in all the different layers involved in the shots. With his tremendous knowledge in visual effects, Rathnavelu pointed out the constraints in executing the shots in terms of lighting and other technicalities.
The opening shot of the film
The opening shot of the film where-in the robot gets assembled and the credits of the film are rolling weren’t decided in the script initially. Instead of the animation sequence seen in the film, the makers had initially thought of using live action for the introduction sequence. This didn’t go well for an opening shot. With this in mind, Srinivas consulted the director and suggested using an animation of the robot getting assembled in the scene.
He points out that this was a last minute decision which worked in their favor. Pre-visualization and implementation of the animation was done in a week. Pixion in Chennai did the opening credits and animation for the opening scene.
Animatronics is mostly used in filmmaking and other avenues of entertainment. It is basically electronic puppetry that simulates real life in front of a camera. This technology is used in a large number of films in the west. Srinivas insisted in using this unique innovation for Robot based on the visual effects break down that was made for the film.
He approached Legacy Effects formerly known as Stan Winston Studios in LA, to assist in the making of the film. The American studio worked in movies like Terminator: Salvation, Avatar, Alice In Wonderland etc. Srinivas points out that they utilized electronic puppetry in place of the actor for its realism. The scene where Rajinikanth places the eye on the robot was all executed by Legacy Effects. They also assisted in special make up that was required for Rajinikanth.
(Stay tuned for part two of Rajinikanth Amalgamation into Chitti)
Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; October 9, 2010)
Mumbai: Rajnikanth-starrer Endhiran has netted a collection of Rs 117 crore, surpassing the first-week collection of Bollywood’s highest firstweek grosser, Dabangg (Rs 82 crore).
Distributor and trade analyst Suniel Wadhwa said, “The film’s net collection is Rs 60 crore in Tamil Nadu, Rs 30 crore in Andhra Pradesh, Rs 8 crore in Karnataka and Rs 4 crore in Kerala. The Hindi version (Robot) has managed to collect Rs 15 crore. As the numbers suggest, the film has already crossed Dabangg’s two weeks’ net collection in just the first week of its release.’’
Incidentally, the entertainment tax structure and ticket-pricing formula are not uniform in India. “Ticket prices in south India are much lower as compared to other states in the country. This is the reason why boxoffice collection in the south pales as against the collection in northern states. Despite all this, the film’s BO collections prove the film has done remarkably well,’’ Wadhwa said.
Moreover, considering the fact that an additional 7% had to be paid as as entertainment tax to the government for being a dubbed movie, the collections are even more significant, an expert said. According to Wadhwa, the contribution of director Shankar too needs to be factored in . “Shankar is one director who has more brand value than Rajinikanth in AP. His films with Arjun, Prabhudeva and Vikram did wonders in the past. His last movie with Rajini did well at the box office though opinions were divided. Robot is an example of what a director like Shankar and a hero like Rajini can cumulatively deliver. ’’
Endhiran opened in 2,200 screens as compared to 1,400 for Dabangg. An industry source said, “More screens mean more revenue and this too has helped Robot. Also about 92 % of cinema halls are running the film and the collection continue to be rock steady,’’ another analyst said.
The film’s report in the Hindi belt too is quite good. Distributor Sunil Bohra said, `“The collection of the film in places like Jodhpur, Ghaziabad and Meerut is also impressive. The film is doing well both in single screens as well as at multiplexes.’’
Sources insist that though it is too early to speculate, the film has definitely grossed Rs 260 crore which is more than the entire collection of Aamir Khan starrer Ghajini.
The Hindi version of the film too has done a business of nearly Rs 30 crore in the first week. Amod Mehra said, “Robot has broken all the records of a dubbed film. I don’t remember any similar film crossing even the Rs 1 crore mark. In fact, Rajinikant’s last release Sivaji was a disaster at the box office.”
Meena Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 03, 2010)
If you join the dots from S Shankar’s first film Gentleman (1993) to his latest Robot (2010) you’ll notice a common thread. For one, he has the finger on the pulse of the mainstream cinegoer. Plus, he knows how to embellish his work with gloss and grandeur at a scale still unimaginable by most filmmakers.
Real Indian palaces, heritage sights, Machu-Pichu, seven wonders of the world…he’s exploited them all long before Bollywood found their address.
But to grant the devil his due - his movies are not just special-effects ridden; there is a definite plot with a message. Also, the budgets get more phenomenal each time.
His first blockbuster Gentleman (1993) (with its iconic Chik paku raile number that introduced the world to Prabhu Deva’s dancing skills) brought a new style of filmmaking but his 90s protagonist is just a different avatar of Bollywood 70s phenomenon - Salim-Javed’s ‘angry young man’.
Quite like Amitabh Bachchan, Shankar’s hero has invariably been taking on the system, film after film. But where he leaves his contemporaries way behind is his technical wizardry. A fact just reiterated by his latest Robot (Endhiran, Tamil).
Comparisons to West
Two days after the release of the Rs 150 crore film, Kollywood’s Shankar is drawing comparisons to none other than James Cameron.
Both are August born; both spare no expense when it comes to their budgets and cinematic vision. And quite like Avatar, the highest worldwide grosser, Robot too has opened to a thunderous start.
The filmmaker himself remains remarkably modest about being “India’s Cameron quotient.” “Stop pulling my leg,’’ he says. “I don’t need any more spotlight on me than that is already there,” he laughs.
But with an enviable track record of seven of the biggest hits in Tamil cinema, Shankar is on the verge of rewriting history with his eight one. Trade sources confirm that Endhiran, has broken the record of the highest box office collections for a Tamil film - the film, they say, will cross the Rs 250 crore mark.
Decoding the director
So what’s Shankar all about? Born in a fairly affluent family in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, he worked as a quality control supervisor till the movie bug bit him. On a telephone call he still introduces himself as, “Hi I’m Shankar, the director,’’ and when you incredulously ask him why he says that, he replies, “my films and I are twins, joined at the hip.’’
But while his on-screen heroes are the robust Robinhood-rascala amalgamation, Shankar himself is the anti-thesis. He’s more like a quiet mouse on set, rather than like a megalomaniac wielding the megaphone. And he lets his ADs have a field day liaising with Bollywood beauties and the crew.
But quiet demeanor apart, with his baseball cap and huge sun-shades, Shankar is the boss. He has worked with the legends of Tamil cinema - Kamal Haasan (Indian) and Rajnikanth (Sivaji-The Boss, Endhiran-Robot) but is neither in awe of his subject nor does he doesn’t brook any interference.
As he says, “Rajnikanth is the ultimate for any film-maker. His demi-God status aside, he’s the most obedient actor I’ve worked with. He doesn’t leave the set once he reports for work…and he still maintains a child-like curiosity about everything related to a film.’’
What makes him work
One of his assistant directors says the secret of his success lies in his engineering background - he goes about fixing each nut and bolt step by step while filmmaking. Robot was originally planned five years ago with Priety Zinta and Kamal Hasan.
The monies didn’t drop at that point. It was then revived with Shah Rukh Khan. Story goes when Shankar went to Orange County (with his wife, son, daughters Aditi and Aishwarya and team of writers) to give SRK a detailed narration, he had every colour scheme, every frame and other minute details worked out. SRK was visibly impressed but the deal fell through and the Rajni came on board.
He is also a tough cookie to please. A stickler for punctuality, years ago, when Manisha Koirala (Indian, Mudalvan) walked in just a few minutes late on a couple of occasions, he had turned shades of purple. And one has seen him lapse into complete silence after he and the Nepali actress had a slight altercation about a scene.
Of course all this doesn’t compromise his work relations. The next morning, he sorted the matter with Manisha and shooting progressed at a brisk pace.
A simple man
In personal life he’s a plain-dresser. Though he arrives in a high-end automobile (he earlier drove a Merc but after his association with SRK, switched to a BMW) he has no shenanigans attached to his name. He’s the kind of guy who has no hesitation to eat food at roadside joints, goes about his work-home-work routine and shuns parties save for the occasional awards function.
But his budgets are the opposite. Ask him about why his budgets always get more prominence than his reviews, and he says, “I don’t know the intention of the press when it highlights the budgets of movies. In my movies the money has always been well-spent. In Robot, the animatronics used is of the same calibre of The Jurassic Park, Terminator and Avatar. And since it was also done at the Stan Winston Studios in the US, the SFX cost huge money. I only put my money where my mouth is. Robot needed high-end technical effects. If Indian cinema had a wider release, then I would have spent at least half of what Avatar did on SFX. However, I’ve always believed in bringing in something new via technology in every film of mine. And it is because of the novelty element that my films have a repeat value.”
“I think it’s wrong to talk about my movie budgets constantly. There is an equal amount of blood and sweat invested in the effort. The film took two years to make and we had a huge foreign crew involved. Every member of my unit and the foreign crew has worked so hard on this film that the money pales in comparison to the effort put in.’’
The journey ahead
Fair enough, but one wonders whether it is personal angst that is responsible for the Robinhood characters he writes. Says Shankar, “I’m a common man. And I’m fully aware of what is happening around me. As a journalist you have a pen that you use to highlight injustice. As a director, I have another medium to do exactly the same.’’
But the films he patronises are vastly different from the ones he makes. A self-confessed Mani Ratnam admirer, the other three films that have left an indelible mark on him are Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Lagaan, Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai and Raj Kumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots. “When I’m in between scripts the only things I make time for are watching movies,” he says.
And though his movies leave gadget freaks gasping, he’s technologically challenged in real life. “All the technology is reserved for my films. I don’t even know what hidden features my cell-phone has,’’ he laughs.
As he gets into his vehicle to visit the local Chennai theatres for reactions, he adds, “People want to know what I’m making next. I usually have some idea stashed away in my head for my next film even before the earlier one has wrapped.
In 17 years I have directed 10 films. I guess I have been prolific. But, this time around I want to wait for the hangover of Robot to subside. What I really need at this point is to splash some water on my face, clear my head and go for a long drive and feel the breeze blow.’’
|(L) A still from Boys (R) Aparichit|
|(L) Sivaji-The boss (R) Robot|
The Tamil legend has reportedly refused interviews to promote his film
Meena Iyer | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; September 4, 2010)
Even as Bollywood’s biggest stars go from door to door like travelling salesmen giving interviews to promote their films, the Tamil supremo Rajnikanth, who enjoys the demi-God status in Tamil Nadu, and who is inarguably Asia’s biggest box office draw, has reportedly refused to give media interviews to promote his next film The Robot (Hindi) and Endhiran (Tamil).
A source says, “Rajni hasn’t done interviews for a long time. And he has also been busy. September 3 was his daughter Soundarya’s marrige which Aishwarya and Abhishek Bachchan attended in Chennai. And Rajni has told the Robot producers that he will see the film and then decide whether he wants to do any interviews. And as far as the South goes, he is not doing any interviews there at all. He doesn’t believe in that exercise.”
Apparently, Rajni’s 63,000-odd fan clubs keep a watch on his movies and the public of Tamil Nadu is fully aware of his upcoming films. So he doesn’t feel the need to knock on the media doors for publicity.
This must be the true definition of starpower!
The star, who is known to shy away from public appearances, makes a rare exception for the music release of his film Robot (Endhiran)
It’s true: there’s nothing called ‘Rajni can’t’. Indian mega star Rajnikant will treat his fans to a rare treat. For a change, this one won’t require him to defy laws of gravity. The actor is all set to fly to Mumbai on Saturday August 14, in support of his forthcoming film Robot (Endhiran).
Rajnikant is known to avoid public appearances and despite his astronomical fan following, the actor often shies away from people. He is a very private person and prefers to keep away from crowds.
But this time, the actor will make an exception for Robot (Endhiran). He will personally come for the music launch of the film in Mumbai. This will be his first appearance in the city after 15 long years.
Our source said, “Rajnikant was initially reluctant to attend the event. In fact, he kept insisting that he wanted to be kept of out of it. He doesn’t like to be anything that he is not in real life. And he is actually an extremely shy person. However, the marketing team felt that Hindi market has a very different sensibility. Eventually, Rajnikant agreed to go to Mumbai.”
Apparently, it was director Shankar, who convinced Rajnikant to go for the music launch. The team was in fact, quite shocked at his last-minute decision.
Incidentally, Robot (Endhiran) is the biggest-budget film to be ever produced in India. It was made on a whopping Rs 150 crore-budget. The trilingual film, releasing in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi simultaneously, has Rajnikant paired opposite Aishwarya Rai.
On account of a sudden and severe viral attack, Aishwarya Rai had to give Rajnikanth’s music launch for Enthiran/Robot a miss
The rampant viral fever in Mumbai is sparing no one. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was all set to leave Mumbai on Friday morning for the music release of the Telugu version of Shankar’s Enthiran/Robot.
But on Friday morning Aishwarya woke up with burning fever and was hardly able to move out of her bed.
Says a source very close to Ash, “She panicked on Friday morning. They had arranged a lavish function in Hyderabad for the music release. Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi was to be the chief guest. Aishwarya’s co-star Rajnikanth, who recently called her ” the female Rajnikanth” had personally requested her to come.”
Apparently, On Abhishek’s and mother-in-law Jaya Bachchan’s insistence, Aishwarya gave the function a miss.
At the function however, a recorded message from her was played for the crowd that had gathered to see her. She also sent personal apologies to Rajnikanth and Chiranjeevi.
Regretting her sudden illness, Aishwarya said, “I was so looking forward to being in Hyderabad. But due to high fever, the doctor insisted I stay home and rest.” Don’t worry Abhi, she didn’t forget to mention your name on purpose.
Their destinies continue to star-cross… even at the BO
Meena Iyer | TNN (BOMBAY TIMES; July 31, 2010)
Guess who’s taking takkar with Salman Khan at the box office this Eid? Not Karan Johar, the filmmaker prudently brought forward the release of his We Are Family to September 3, to clear the deck for Salman’s Dabanng on the 10th; but it’s Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who’s bilingual The Robot opposite Rajinikanth is believed to be slated for a simultaneous release.
The promos of Dabanng have created a kind of trade flurry. Bollywood’s enfant terrible in his Robin Hood act has captured the imagination of the tapori class and the tradewallahs. It is the film promo that has the highest number of hits on an internet site, says a television journalist.
As for the Rajinikanth-Aishwarya starrer in Hindi and Endhiran in Tamil, a trade source says, “ So far they have only said The Robot is coming in September. Whether it will come on Eid will be announced shortly. However, there is scope for both films. Dabanng will prove to be very strong in the Hindi belt and Rajnikanth, who is a demi God in Tamil Nadu, has the biggest patronage ever in the South.’’ Bollywood trade consultant Amod Mehra says, “The recovery pattern for a Rajinikanth film is very unusual. Besides the regular markets for South films, Rajinikanth also has a huge fan base in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, UK and Australia.’’
India’s costliest film
Rajnikanth’s price is still a mystery. Aishwarya is Bollywood’s highest paid actress even today because she has reportedly been paid Rs 6 crore for the two versions of Shankar’s The Robot (Hindi) and Endhiran (Tamil). Touted as India’s answer to James Cameron’s Avatar, this science-fiction entertainer has used animatronics technology which has been used only in films like Jurassic Park, Terminator and Avatar. “We realise that we have made the costliest Indian film but when it is Rajnikanth and Aishwarya, what else can we do,’’ says Shankar, who is known as the South’s most expensive director.
Aishwarya made a splash in the Tamil film industry with filmmaker Mani Ratnam’s Iruvar in 1997, but her lines were dubbed by a professional.
Since the actress’s mother tongue is Tulu, she wasn’t well-versed with Tamil. However, 13 years later, Aishwarya is working with the filmmaker again for the Hindi-Tamil bilingual Raavana, and she took up the challenge to dub for it herself.
A source says, “Just when Raavana was beginning, Aishwarya assured Mani sir that by the time the film was completed, she would be ready to dub her own lines for the Tamil version. Mani sir took the matter lightly and had arranged for a Tamil voice which matched the actress’ voice perfectly.
But Aishwarya had made up her mind. She kept laughing off Mani sir’s uncertainties about her ability to get the Tamil diction right, and continued working on her language skills.”
During the shooting of Raavana, a Tamil tutor coached the actress and the diligent student got her lines right within six months.
The official spokesperson for Raavana confirms, “Aishwarya has completed dubbing the Hindi version of Raavana. Now she has now begun dubbing for the Tamil version. No one can tell from her voice that she isn’t a Tamilian.”
Apparently, Aishwarya will also be dubbing her own lines for another Tamil film, Shankar’s Endhiran, co-starring Rajnikanth.
Cast: RAJNIKANTH, AISHWARYA RAI BACHCHAN, DANNY DENZONGPA
Hindi Version: ROBOT
Source: MSN, FilmySouth
Cast: RAJNIKANTH, AISHWARYA RAI BACHCHAN, DANNY DENZONGPA
Hindi Version: ROBOT
Source: MSN, FilmySouth, Wikipedia