Sunday, September 26, 2010

Huge expectations? Enthiran won't dissappoint you! - Shankar assures!!

3D animation adds zing to 'Enthiran' climax

CHENNAI: The city may soon be riven between the haves and the have-nots (those who get tickets for 'Enthiran' and those who don't), but on Saturday, director Shankar is charming, tired and lively all at the same time.

"Three years of hard work went into the making of 'Enthiran', and I am happy I have made a film which is for both the man in a Lexus and the layman," says Shankar. How can he be sure that the technicalities of a science film will reach a composite audience, we ask him bluntly. "I am depending on the story to do that, and audience in India today are neither the refined ones of Hollywood, nor are they green horns, when it comes to technical wizardry," he says.

The film is, however, loaded with special effects. "Barring three or four scenes and the songs, the entire film has plenty of special effects," says Shankar. He has opted for 'Light Stage', a technique adopted in the making of Benjamin Button' where 80 lights were used to capture a series of shots. "These are used by special effects team to deliver whatever a scene demands including human emotions," says Shankar. Animatronics (a kind of mechanical puppetry) and a never before attempted 3D animation in the climax are the other highs of 'Enthrian', says Shankar.

Storywise, it is about a robot, created in a scientist's lab and the consequences of its interface with society, Shankar tells you sitting beside the huge fish pond in his T Nagar office. The gently swimming fish, especially the one he had named 'machchakanni' which sadly perished recently, have been a source of comfort, inspiration and a vitamin tablet almost in the years that he chipped away refining and redefining the script of a film which he penned ten years ago.

The science fiction film was originally written with Kamal Haasan in mind. "I even did a photo shoot with him, and Preity Zinta was to be the heroine," he adds. The director and the actor both had other commitments. "Each time I picked up the film, worries over recouping the budget would rear its head," recalls Shankar, with a laugh. So he looked northwards, and he held talks with Shah Rukh Khan for a Hindi production with SRK as the hero. A couple of road blocks later, Shankar took another road, this time with Rajnikanth. "After the success of 'Sivaji - The Boss', I was convinced that Tamil film industry is ready for huge projects, and the film rolled on September 8," he says.

That was three years ago, but the mere thought of the scope of such a film stunned the industry. "The art department wondered how to execute what I demanded," he recalls with a laugh. And since the film is happening in the current time frame -- not futuristic -- in Chennai, the background score had to reflect people and characters of the present. "Without too much of synthesizers," he says quietly. Music director AR Rahman thought in tandem and a symphony orchestra went into play for the climax scene.

Making the film was akin to standing at the foot of Mt Everest. "Mind-blogging. So, I said, let's take one step at a time, and that worked," he adds. So, where does this film fit in his kitty?

"I have been clear that 'Enthiran' should not be cleaved into either of the Shankar genre' of films," he says. So it will be neither a Gentleman' reflecting social concerns, nor a Kaadhal' kind of love story, he says. "It is a film which will have a linear narration, with plenty of action, and far fewer dialogues," says Shankar. Rajni fans need not despair, there will be plenty of Rajni one-liners. "Only they won't be like a refrain," he says with a smile. And this is a film that everyone can relate to, it is not region-centric, says Shankar. "Go watch the film without expectations, and you will be stunned. Go with expectations and you will enjoy the film," he says with a huge smile.