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Enthiran

Enthiran (Tamil: எந்திரன்) is a forthcoming 2010 Tamil science fiction film co-written and directed by S. Shankar. The film features Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai in the lead roles with A. R. Rahman working on background score and soundtrack. Produced by Kalanidhi Maran, it is known for being the most expensive Asian film ever made. It is also slated to make the largest worldwide opening for an Indian film, upon release.

After meticulous filming and production for over two years, the film is currently undergoing post-production work. It is expected to be released worldwide on October 1, 2010 along with its dubbed versions: Robot in Hindi and Robo in Telugu.[3] The film release will follow the film’s soundtrack release, which was held on July 31, 2010.

Cast

    * Rajinikanth as Vaseegaran and Chitti
    * Aishwarya Rai as Sana
    * Danny Denzongpa as Bohra
    * Karunas
    * Santhanam
    * Kalabhavan Mani
    * Cochin Haneefa
    * Devadarshini

Development

After completing Nayak: The Real Hero in 2001, Shankar announced a project with Kamal Haasan and Preity Zinta titled Robo,[5] to be produced by the now-defunct production company Media Dreams. Despite, announcing the project, due to a lack of backing the project was cancelled and Shankar began work on Boys. In 2005, Shankar made another project, Anniyan, this was mistaken to be the renamed title for Robot.

After a positive response from his previous project, Sivaji, there were speculations regarding Shankar’s next film. However Shankar stated that he was going to be involved with his production house, S Pictures for 3 months. Several websites claimed that he was set to take his maiden Telugu language film with Chiranjeevi, while others claimed that it was set to be with Mahesh Babu. Ajith Kumar was also considered for the film and several sources reported this news as confirmed but Ajith claimed that he was not yet approached. In July 2007, Shahrukh Khan was signed on to be the male lead of Robot as well as the producer of the film. However, in October 2007, Shahrukh Khan and Shankar officially called off the project. Khan commented that the script was “half-baked” and “dull” in comparison to his other films at the time. Shankar, on the other hand, reflected on Rajinikanth’s past commentary on Shankar being a “trusted” and “excellent” script writer.

After further indications that either Ajith Kumar or Aamir Khan were considered the film, reports surfaced in early January 2008, that Rajinikanth was finalized for the project. Later in January 2008, Ayngaran International and Eros Labs agreed to become the producers of Robot. The film was unable to keep its name, Robot, due to the English title in Tamil Nadu, whose government present tax exemption to films with Tamil titles. Likely titles suggested to proceed with Robot as the title, included Iyandiran or Iyandira, both literal translations of Robot. However it was confirmed in September 2008 that the film has been renamed to Enthiran. The film’s scripting was going on as told by Shankar in two interviews. It was subsequently announced that all those who have been committed for Robot should sign an agreement accepting that they will not commit themselves to any other project for the next two years of its production, with an exemption to the female lead, Aishwarya Rai.

In December 2008, a sudden turn of events led to the production and distribution rights of the film being substantially altered. Eros Labs cited the failures of Drona and Yuvvraj for putting them under financial pressure. Furthermore, Ayngaran International claimed it was affected by the global financial crisis of 2008, forcing both productions to sell the project. Immediately Sun Pictures bought the film from the previous producers, taking over all rights for the film. After Sun Pictures negotiated a deal with HBO to release an English subtitled version of the film in the West, it was confirmed that HBO would handle the release of the film in those areas. As of August 2010, the budget of the film was confirmed as Indian rupee190 crores.

Casting

Apart from the original decided casting of Rajinikanth in the lead role, S. Shankar as director, and A. R. Rahman as film composer, who sets a new record for the most expensive musician of India, the rest of the cast was named over the following year. Several heroines were approached to essay the lead female role with Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Asin Thottumkal, Trisha Krishnan, Shriya Saran, Priyamani, and Nayanthara at the forefront. In late January 2008, Rai was announced as the heroine of the project and she later confirmed her appearance in the film to the news channel, Aaj Tak. She stated that she was being paid Indian Rupee symbol.svg6 crores, becoming the highest paid actress in India with her salary for Enthiran. In a subsequent interview Rai expressed how much she always wanted work with Shankar and Rajinikanth, and was eager to work on the project. For the lead antagonist role Amitabh Bachchan, J. D. Chakravarthy, Narain and Arjun Sarja were considered, however Danny Denzongpa was signed for the role. Comedians Santhanam and Karunas were signed up to portray important roles in December 2008.

Sujatha Rangarajan originally announced as the dialogue writer of the film, died during the production stages, with Madhan Karky Vairamuthu being named as his successor. Along with Shankar’s usual directorial assistants, Manoj Bharathiraja, son of noted filmmaker Bharathiraja, was signed on to be an assistant director. Sabu Cyril was signed up as the art director while R. Rathnavelu has taken up the post of the cinematographer, after K. V. Anand, Manikandan, Nirav Shah, Tirru, and Ravi K. Chandran had all opted out. The music composed by Rahman would feature lyrics by Vairamuthu and Pa. Vijay, while Raju Sundaram will choreograph dance moves. The film will be edited by Anthony Gonsalves, with Manish Malhotra and Mary E. Vogt dually in charge of costume designs. Yuen Woo Ping will be the stunt co-ordinator for Enthiran, making his foray into Indian cinema, while Stan Winston Studios will take care of the animatronics in the film. Industrial Light & Magic will be working on visual and special effects.

Filming

Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai as pictured at the Machu Picchu in Peru, filming a song sequence

The film began on 15 February 2008 in Chennai when portfolio photographer G. Venket Ram did a photo shoot with Rajinikanth. Following this initial shoot, S. Shankar and R. Rathnavelu went on a world tour for location-hunting. The team visited Vienna, Austria; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Hanoi, Vietnam to pick suitable locations. The first three photo sessions were held with Rajinikanth in Mumbai and Chennai with Aishwarya Rai featuring in the fourth session.

The first schedule of the film commenced on 8 September 2008 at Peru, where a song sequence featuring Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai was shot under the choreography of Raju Sundaram and Claudia Bruckmann at the historic site of the Machu Picchu. Other scenes for the song were finished off in the United States and then Brazil. The shooting for the second schedule continued in the Indian state of Goa, where the initial talkie portions were filmed for ten days. The third schedule for the film included shooting in Himachal Pradesh for a song, which was then followed by scenes being canned in and around Chennai. Scenes featuring a Robotics conference involving Rajinikanth, Aishwarya Rai, Santhanam and Karunas were carried out at Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering and the Vellore Institute of Technology with over four hundred students being used as extras.

During the final day of filming on 7 July 2010, the entire cast and crew, including Sun Pictures chairman, Hansraj Saxena, took part in a celebration party commemorating the completion of the two-year filming process.

Soundtrack

The film’s soundtrack, composed by A. R. Rahman, released on 31 July 2010. It coincided with a promotional event held at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The soundtrack album’s release rights were purchased by Think Music for Indian Rupee symbol.svg7 crores (US$1.6 million). Co-hosted by Vivek and “Punnagai Poo” Geetha, the event was attended by most of the film’s cast and crew members, Kalanithi Maran, S. Shankar, Rajinikanth, Aishwarya Rai, A. R. Rahman, Santhanam, Karunas, Vairamuthu, R. Rathnavelu, Anthony, Sabu Cyril, and Yogi B. Other invited guests include Dayanidhi Maran, Radha Ravi, Vadivelu, Shriya Saran, Jayam Ravi, Ramya Krishnan, S. A. Chandrasekhar, Aishwarya and Soundarya Rajinikanth, Krish, and Sangeetha Arvind. Silambarasan Rajendar, Vijayalakshmi Agathiyan, and Poorna also made stage performances.

After the second day of release, the album reached 1st place on the Top 10 World Albums chart on iTunes in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, making it the first Indian album to reach the spot.

The release event of the Telugu version, Robo, was held in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India on 6 August 2010, which was attended by Chiranjeevi, D. Ramanaidu, Mohan Babu, Srinu Vaitla, Kajal Aggarwal, and Kamna Jethmalani. The Hindi version, Robot, released in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India on 14 August 2010, in which the invited guests included Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, and Aamir Khan. The film’s sound engineer and cast member, Resul Pookutty and Danny Denzongpa, respectively, also attended the event held in Mumbai.
Controversy

In mid-August, a few reports claimed that Sun Pictures had sold the distribution rights of Robo, the Telugu version, to Telugu film producer Chadalavada Srinivasa Rao in Andhra Pradesh for Indian Rupee symbol.svg27 crores. The claim was later denied by Sun Pictures, who clarified that the company had not yet sold any distribution rights to anyone. After an unsuccessful attempt to take legal action on Sun Pictures, Srinivasa Rao, who even made an advanced payment of Indian Rupee symbol.svg2 crores for the distribution rights, made a complaint to the Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce against the film studio, claiming they had cheated him. A formal investigation was launched following a police complaint from Sun Pictures and two individuals, Udhayakumar, a production manager, and Surendran, his accomplice, were arrested for illegally trying to sell the film distribution rights by creating a fake document that claimed the distribution rights of Robo to be sold to Srinivasa Rao.

Another controversy regarding the film’s plot originated near the end of August as Indian author Vijayarke claimed that Enthiran’s story was similar to that of his 2002 science fiction novel, Man Robot, and demanded a credit for himself in the film. Vijayarke claimed that he realized the similarity after hearing S. Shankar narrate the plot during the film’s audio launch, after which he emailed the director with his novel’s story, seeking clarification.

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