Like his previous film Kaala, the Rajinikanth starrer 2.0 is getting released this Thursday. Thursdays are considered auspicious for Sri Raghavendra devotees, and anyone who knows Superstar knows he is an ardent follower of the Madhwa guru. Going by the pre-release buzz, this much-awaited sci-fi, also starring Akshay Kumar and Amy Jackson in pivotal roles, has managed to recover more than half its production cost (approximately Rs 300 crore) even before the release. Expectations are high for 2.0 because Kaala and Kabali weren’t exactly the “Rajinikanth-films” that made his fans whistle and howl in theaters.
Initially, 2.0 was supposed to hit the screens for last year’s Deepavali, but the makers postponed the release citing the completion of visual effects work. Later, they were keen to get the film to theaters for Tamil New Year (April 2018). But couldn’t. For the first time in at least three or four decades, there was no Tamil release that day (April 14) due to the Tamil Film Producers’ Council strike.
Directed by Shankar, 2.0 is a sequel to Enthiran that comes eight years after the original. The film has a tagline that reads ‘World isn’t only for humans’. Sounds about right, isn’t it — considering the imaginative power of the director who is always given us larger-than-life movies?
With a budget of over Rs 500 crore, you could say 2.0 is the most expensive Indian film made till date, surpassing Baahubali which was reportedly made in a budget of Rs 150 crore.
The makers had a grand event in Chennai in November, where the trailer and songs were unveiled. The two-hour long event at Sathyam Cinemas had journalists from all over the country under one roof. They were given 3D glasses to experience the trailer.
Then, Akshay Kumar, amid thunderous applause, spoke a few words in Tamil. He said, “Vanakkam Chennai. Magizhchi. I am sorry if my pronunciation is wrong. I apologise if I get it wrong. I’ve been practising for 2 to 3 hours and I’m very scared to speak in a language that I don’t know. But somehow I’m trying.”
The programme also had our very own Superstar declaring 2.0 would be a “super duper hit”, after which he went on to praise Shankar as the “Steven Spielberg and James Cameron of India.”
The 2.0 teaser, released in September, hit 32 million views in 24 hours, and the trailer, launched in November, collectively has garnered over 140 million views so far.
2.0 is also a special film for Rajinikanth because, after decades, he appeared on television in an exclusive interview and had interesting things to say about how the film was made. He said Shankar, in fact, has an “excellent message” in the film.
How did it all start? Robot was planned two decades ago with Kamal Haasan and Preity Zinta, but the film was shelved due to “creative differences”. Shankar seems to have approached Shah Rukh Khan for the same, and it also didn’t work. In 2008, Sun Pictures bankrolled Enthiran, which was released, starring Rajinikanth in the lead as Chitti and Dr Vaseegaran. In 2015, Lyca Productions made an announcement they were producing the sequel. But nobody knew why Sun Pictures decided to back off and how team Lyca came in. Before Akshay Kumar was roped in as the antagonist, Shankar had talks with Aamir Khan, Vikram, Schwarzenegger and even Kamal Haasan.
At the trailer launch, Shankar revealed that 2.0 has about 2150 VFX shots involving 1000 VFX artistes and virtual camera technology. The makers of 2.0 claim theirs is the first Indian film to be entirely shot on 3D camera. In an interview, Shankar had said, “Many Hollywood films were made in 2D and then were converted into 3D in the post-production, but 2.0 has been shot directly in a 3D camera. More than a movie this film is an experience. The primary reason behind the film’s cost is the extensive use of CGI.”
Shedding light on 3.0, Shankar had said, “I don’t want to make another film just for the sake of the franchise, but I can’t imagine this without Rajini sir.”
Speaking of the songs, in another interview, AR Rahman had said the climax segment of 2.0 would be the highlight of the film. “Shankar is an ‘iron man’ who believes in shaping his vision with no compromises. First, we decided there’d be no songs in the film, but ended up adding one by one. Also, 2.0 is the toughest film to compose music for and with this, I’m trying to create something unique for India and the world.”
In Enthiran, Rajinikanth had a double role, and in 2.0, he will appear in four different avatars — Chitti, Chitti 2.0, the giant 2.0 robot and Dr Vaseegaran.
As for Akshay Kumar, he plays an eccentric scientist, Richard, who loses his appearance after an experiment goes awry. At the trailer launch, he had said how the role took a toll on his body. “My character needed around four hours of prosthetic make-up and one and a half hours to remove it. In my career, I’ve never put so much of make-up. But it was worth all the pain.”
Ever since the first look was released in November 2016, team 2.0 has left no stone unturned to retain the audience interest. Starting from interesting poster designs to releasing the latest single, Enthira Logathu Sundariye online.
Additionally, 2.0 has a strong technical crew. Apart from Ror Rodriguez, who has designed costumes for Supergirl and Daredevil, the film has Kenny Bates of Transformers fame on board. The VFX-related work has been done by a team which had contributed for Life of Pi. 2.0 will release simultaneously in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu and has three soundtracks for each language.