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Thursday, November 1, 2012

why did 'Chitti' wear coolers in 'Enthiran' ?

Often, Cinema is a great entertainer – some love to watch movies for their romance content, some for their story-line; some for the stunt; some for the special effects; some for the songs; music and still some…….. simply for the actress / actors ! – there are some Cinemas spoken off for their special effect and the use of technology. 

Bond – James Bond  books and movies have featured exotic equipment and vehicles, which often prove to be critically useful.  There have been ballpoint pens containing grenade; Omega Seamaster  wristwatch with built-in laser cutter and a remote detonator.  In one of his movies ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ is the concept mobile phone designed by Ericsson. The phone had a variety of features, including: - a stun gun, containing a 20,000 Volt shock to any unauthorized user, and is also handy at disabling a high tech door lock;  a fingerprint scanner/ analyzer/ transmitter that can also be used for opening high-tech fingerprint-identification locks; Antennae lock pick, which detaches from the phone and when inserted into a keyhole, hitting a key on the phone can then open the lock – and more…….  it became an expected scene in each film where Q would present and demonstrate Bond's assigned tools for the mission, and it was a near guarantee that each and every piece would be invaluable to Bond in the field.

Back home, the mega buster Rajini starrer – Enthiran hyped too much of expectations and raked in high moolah.  It was a grand Science fiction in Tamil co-written and directed by Shankar.   My favourite Sujata [Srirangam Rangarajan] who provided the thread and originally announced as the dialogue writer of the film, died during the production stages !

The film had Super Star Rajinikanth in dual roles, as a scientist and an andro humanoid robot, alongside Aishwarya Rai.   The story-line revolved around the scientist's struggle to control his creation, the android robot whose software was upgraded to give it the ability to comprehend and generate human emotions. The plan backfires as the robot falls in love with the scientist's fiancée and is further manipulated to bring destruction to the world when it lands in the hands of a rival scientist.  The film released worldwide on 1 October 2010, along with its dubbed versions: Robo in Telugu and Robot in Hindi.  Produced by Kalanithi Maran, it is believed to be India's most expensive film since its release.

In the movie, after it is manufactured,  the Prof. Vaseekaran takes the robot home and there his mother names it ‘Chittibabu’ – thence after called ‘Chitti’ – if you had observed throughout the movie, Chitti – the robot wears black coolers !  - if you ever thought that it was to differentiate easily between the 2 Rajnis or to exhibit Chitti as cool dude or something else…………. – there is another reason which none of us perhaps ever imagined…. Here is something very interesting  from Indian Express

If you thought director Shankar had visualised the Chiti character in Enthiran wearing shades to either make the robot Rajinikanth really cool or differentiate him from scientist Vasi played by the ‘Superstar’ again, you are wrong.

In fact, it was one of the three restrictions that VFX supervisor Srinivas Mohan imposed to make the film retain quality and stick to the budget. “It’s very tricky to animate the eyes, which means it’s time-consuming and would cost more. That’s why we made the robot Rajinikanth appear wearing coolers all the time. The other two restrictions were that his hair and attire should be static (the short hairstyle and thick leather coat of the the negative role played byRajini) and not have much movements,” he said at the workshop titled ‘Visual Effects Demonstration: Making of Enthiran’, as part of the FICCI-MEBC 2012.

Srinivas said executing the project within the budget was the biggest challenge. “The visual effects for Enthiran was planned to have been done at Rs 70 crore when it was supposed to be produced by Ayangaran International. Later, when Sun Pictures decided to produce the film, the budget was restricted to Rs 20 crore. So we had to skip some sequences and alter some, without losing out on quality,” he said. 

Srinivas said he used different techniques in scanning, camera movement and motion control in the film and involved technologies like animatronics and motion capturing. “Director Shankar understood our demands, requirements and restrictions. Other directors should also realise how much is possible within the budget and what technology should be suitable to meet the requirements,” he said. Srinivasan created a dynamic story board with rough movies figures to make everyone understand how the final output should be. Screening some of them at the workshop, he said, “It really helped us to be precise about what to do and we didn’t create any additional frame that was not used in the film,” he said.

Srinivas advised visual effects artists to be well prepared for challenges on location and said every minute details should be taken care of, in spite of other restrictions. According to him, the Indian visual effects industry largely worked only for larger productions from Hollywood and he expressed his desire to get more projects from our filmmakers. “Chota Bheem and Hanuman are some our good  products and the time should come soon when even a single frame of CG work should be of quality work,” he said.  [source for the 2nd half of this post :

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.


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