At one point in 2.0, Rajnikanth’s Chitti says, “No 1, 2 and 3 are games that are played by children. I am the only one,” and you’d see a Rajni cinema loving audience burst into cheers and claps. Even the superstar knows this, and so there is a pause in the screenplay – a pause to let the audience digest, yet again, that Rajnikanth is, after all, the greatest superstar.
2.0 starts off where Robot left. A dismantled Chitti is put to life again because a fifth force, Pakshirajan (Akshay Kumar) has come to fight off a battle against people who use mobile phones. He’s not against the general usage of this device but is bothered by the radiation over-usage emits. Being a bird love, Pakshi notices how this radiation is killing thousands of birds. He begs and pleads – to people, ministers, telecom industry tycoons – but non of them listen to him. And so, he becomes the fifth power to harm everyone who’s harmed birds.
The idea is sheer genius. The VFX even more so – credits to V Srinivas Mohan. It’s stunning to watch mobile phones fly in the air and come back, sometimes as haunting, murdering roads (yes), and most of the times as an evil bird, Pakshi. Honestly, 2.0 is a treat to the visual eye, it’s something Indian cinema has never witnessed before. But the screenplay! S Shankar’s idea is worth a million dollars, his ambition, commendable, but his writing is laid back, the screenplay, cluttered. There are smart and intentionally funny moments in the film, but they’re few. The first half is too stretched, Akshay Kumar gets an overtly long monologue. And while everything isn’t going in the right direction, the audience is rooting for the superstar. At the end of the film, even though I was complaining, the people around me weren’t. Everyone was as happy as the character artists in the film to have Chitti back. But the truth is that the film, at various places, is a mess. But do we need to make sense of a Rajnikanth film?
Amy Jackson plays Nila, another robot Dr Vaseegaran has created. And honestly, she seems so fit for the part. Her expressions are as absent as should be in a robot. Akshay Kumar as the antagonist is refreshing to look at at first, but you see him struggling to catch up to the screen presence of Rajnikanth.
Rajnikanth is in most of the film, as the doctor and different versions of Chitti. He even gets a 40 second name introduction in the opening credits of the film. He’s literally everywhere – in the lab, at meetings, running across the city, fighting Pakshi, romancing Nila and even Sana (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) – he’s doing it all. And he’s doing all of this with such grandeur. He’s definitely more than the superstar that he is.
All in all, had the writing and execution of the writing been a little well dealt with, this film could have matched the emotional quotients of Robot.