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My Movie - Robo
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4 October 2010

My Movie – Robo
maryada ramanna

I watched Robo today in Virginia. Touted as one of the most expensive movies ever made and boasting a lethal combination of the biggest mass hero of India and a top-most commercial & visionary director, Robo has been the most awaited movie of the year.

The only hero in the entire Indian film industry who can be ordained the tag of a SUPER HERO without any additional attire (like superman or batman) is none other than SUPERSTAR RAJNIKANTH. At the age of 60, this man’s chutzpah and appeal remains inconceivable. I don’t mind being referred to as a low class movie fan but if a director shows Rajnikanth stopping a train or a flight with his bare hands, I will believe it without any argument. This adulation is probably because of my excessive bias towards the Superstar who came from a very poor background and emerged into one of the most popular film actors of India ever.

However Robo is not a Rajnikanth movie. This is a movie where the director’s vision dominates the hero image. The aura of invincibility and supreme power associated with Rajnikanth is missing. However, the director very skillfully transferred those powers to the Robo character (played by Rajnikanth). The first half of the movie is good. The pace goes down in the second half and comes back to track during the last half hour. The biggest letdown is music. I don’t know if it was just me but for some reason, I felt the interlude placement was irregular and I observed this pattern in 3 songs. The re-recording was not catchy as well. The art and graphic work (especially in the second half) is top class.

Robo is worth a watch for the directorial vision. It will be a good treat for kids. It is a great privilege to see India’s most popular superstar allowing a director’s vision overshadow his unconquerable image. I hope our Telugu heroes (especially youngsters) follow the footsteps of the Superstar in this regard.

During mid-nineties, Star Plus telecast a sitcom titled Small Wonder. The series is about a robotics engineer (named Ted Lawson) who builds a robot modeled after a real human girl and passes it off as his daughter. As the series progresses, the robot, which is named as Vici/Vicki (played brilliantly by Tiffany Brissette), begins to display human emotions and becomes an inseparable and integral part of the Lawson family. In some episodes, the robot behaves snobbishly and is "shut down" and restored to a more harmless version by its inventor. As a teen and totally in awe of American lifestyle, I thoroughly enjoyed this series. One of the first things I did after coming to America was attempting to contact the stars of the show and I did succeed getting an email response from Emily Schulman who played the role of Harriet Brindle in the series.

I was reminded of Small Wonder episodes at least on 5/6 occasions while watching this movie. The Robo character scanning through the book and cramming its entire contents, turning its head 360 degrees, attracting guns/weapons through magnetic power and taking orders literally are some of the similar acts that I noticed in the above series. I also found similarities to Frankenstein movie.

A good director is necessarily a good observer. In one of his early interviews, Shankar mentioned that he makes it a point to watch Hollywood films and TV shows to derive ideas for story development. I will not be surprised if Small Wonder was one such TV show that enjoyed this illustrious film maker’s patronage. A great lesson to every wannabe film director is to keep their eyes and ears open. Be perceptive to every thing you see, every individual you meet – big or small. You never know what an itty-bitty thing could turn into!

Sreekanth Devarakonda
devarakonda at hotmail dot com

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