It's been 8 long years to the month since the world outside of India was introduced to the legend that is Indian film giant Superstar Rajinikanth through the release of his blockbuster science fiction adventure film, Enthiran (Robot). That film's release on cinema screens in 2010 and subsequent rebirth as a viral sensation early the next year showed non-Indians what they'd been missing since the mid-'70s, a charismatic, cocksure movie star and the magic he was able to make when partnered with visionary director, Shankar.
Soon after Enthiran's release, rumors began - and were soon confirmed - around a potential sequel. That film, titled 2.0 in reference to the name of the villainous robot character in the original film, has been in production for at least four years now and has already set and re-set release dates at least four times. Touted as the new most expensive single film production in Indian history, Shankar's new film needed lots of time to complete what appear to be massive CG shots and scenes.
Not only has the amount of CG increased dramatically since the already very CG heavy first volume, the producers at Lyca Productions added additional star power to the film by including Bollywood star Akshay Kumar (Chandni Chowk to China) as the antagonist to Rajinikanth's protagonist(s). The film will also feature the very strong Adil Hussain in a supporting role as well as Amy Jackson, who co-starred in Shankar's last cinematic flight-of-fancy, I, presumably as a love interest, but I'm not quite sure for whom yet. Add to that some very talented 3D professionals from the west and Academy Award winning composer A.R. Rahman, and if nothing else, the film promises to be an effects spectacular.
The first real teaser below bears out that assumption, creating a world in which a nefarious evil force sucks up millions of cell phones into the sky in a tornado and reconfigures them into a gigantic predatory robot crow that attacks a city. The only thing that can stop them? Chitti 2.0, the villainous robot from the first film. Akshay Kumar appears as well, dressed up as a Satanic cyber-elf to help along the apocalypse.
The thing looks nuts, which is Shankar's calling card. One of the first directors to rely heavily on digital effects in India, he continues to push those boundaries alongside the Telugu film industry's S.S. Rajamouli. Sometimes, as with Enthiran, those experiments work out well. However, sometimes they lead to a bunch of hollow spectacle. I'm certainly hoping for the latter, but preparing for the former.
In any case, you can bet I'll be at the cinema, first day, first show, to see what kind of nonsense Shankar and Superstar have cooked up, ready to hoot and holler my head off. It's hard to accurately describe the kind of madness in the teaser, so I strongly suggest you give it 90 seconds of your day, because you'll be thinking about it for hours afterwards.
2.0 is currently set to release on November 29th, but I'm taking that with a grain of salt until the lights go down in the theater.