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Film / Robot

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Get ready folks!

The most expensive and third highest grossing movie in Indian history, Robot (Endhiran, in the original Tamil) is an action comedy about the brilliant scientist Dr. Vaseegaran (played by Rajnikanth) who creates an Artificial Human named Chitti (also played by Rajinikanth, though the two characters look very distinct). Intending to offer Chitti to the Indian army, Dr. Vaseegaran first has to teach his creation how to function in society. Though he's superintelligent, Chitti takes things very literally, and he has zero knowledge of social situations. Still, he tries to be as kind and helpful as possible. Dr. Vaseegaran and his beautiful girlfriend Sana (played by Aishwarya Rai) try everything they can to make Chitti into a real person — although Sana's slowly getting annoyed at how much time her boyfriend spends at work, instead of with her.

Unfortunately, Dr. Vaseegaran's old tutor, Professor Bora, is stricken with a rather nasty case of jealousy and sets out to prove that Chitti is unsafe. Chitti encounters further backlash when rescuing people from a burning building, due to his inability to understand Tamil cultural rules.

Instead of abandoning Chitti, Dr. Vaseegaran decides to teach the android how to feel emotions and make moral judgements. Dr. Vaseegaran succeeds beyond his wildest dreams, but begins to regret it when Chitti falls in love with Sana. All the while, Professor Bora watches, ready to exploit the tension and frustration between the three.

It gets worse. It also gets really, really awesome. See for yourself!

Robot pulls out all the stops when it comes to action, displaying a fantastic level of visual creativity. The film also has by far the most hilarious and dynamic special effects to ever come out of Bollywood.

Notable for being the only collaboration between monster-meister Stan Winston (whose most beloved creations include The Terminator and The Alien Queen) and Martial-Arts Luminary Yuen Woo-Ping, who is beloved for his works with Jet Li and his masterful combat-choreography on classics like Once Upon a Time in China and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

It's successs spawned a sequel known as Robot 2 or more known as 2.0 which was released in November 29, 2018, 8 years after the original was released.

This film provides examples of:

  • Badass Army: Chitti army is practically unstoppable and trying to defeat them in direct combat is practically suicide.
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the end, a reprogrammed Chitti convinces the court to not blame Dr. Vaseegaran for the destruction caused by his creation. However, the court decides that Chitti must dismantle himself. Chitti takes this in stead and complies, making peace with Sana and Dr. Vaseegaran as he does.
  • Bloodless Carnage: When evil!Chitti shoots down thousands of armed combatants and the only mess is from the rain of shells... it's just another day in Bollywood, really.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The Indian military rifles have enough ammo to rain on evil!Chitti, then used against the army themselves, and still have enough left for the evil!Chitti army to use.
  • Brick Joke: Chitti gets to scan the entire phonebook early on - during the presentation, he is asked to solve a complicated equation, and not only gets it right but knows whose phone number the answer is.
  • Butt-Monkey: Those Two Guys, either taking lip from the droids or Amusing Injuries from Chitti.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: A variation when Chitti's Ridiculously Human Robot instincts finally awaken.
    Chitti: "I have been built entirely by your specifications! If there is a problem, it is not with me, it is with YOU!"
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Dot."
    • "I am Chitti. Speed 1 terahertz. Memory 1 zettabyte." This one is even repeated during Chitti's cameo in RA One!
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Averted. Chitti helps Sana cheat on her medical (!) exams. When caught, Sana convinces the examiner that Chitti is just some random nut (easy to do, given Chitti's odd behavior), and is allowed to continue the test. Never one to leave a task incomplete, Chitti sneaks into the air vents and scans the relevant pages onto her exam, giving her the answers. She isn't caught the second time.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
  • Chekhov's Skill:
  • The End... Or Is It?: The dismantled Chitti is turned into an exhibit in a robotics museum in the future - one that responds to a child's question. Was he reprogrammed into a Q&A machine, or is he still in there...?
  • Evil Costume Switch: Evil!Chitti, complete with skunk stripe and Go Nagai Sideburns.
  • Finger Firearms:
    Chitti: Don't come closer. I will shoot you.
    Dude in car: Stop acting like a child.
  • Flipping the Bird: Taken to a weird new level, when the giant Chitti does this to the Indian Army. Since his middle finger is just another Chitti clone, it actually flips them off as well.
  • Gift-Giving Gaffe: Apparently Vaseegaran gave Sana "A Briefer History of Time" and "Freakonomics". Not as bad as the female razor, though.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Professor Bora is finally able to make Chitti incredibly murderous and evil. He doesn't realize how successful he is until Chitti kills him.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Although Evil Chitti serves as the Big Bad for the second half of the film, Professor Bora is ultimately responsible for the consequences because he planted the red chip in Chitti.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Bora realising evil!Chitti has built his own army. He shouldn't have waited till then, of course, and Chitti kills him for attempting blackmail him.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Chitti becomes this for Vaseegaran. It becomes a relevant plot point when Bora attempts to convince Chitti against Vaseegaran. He tells Chitti that despite being the most advanced robot in the world, the latter will always be treated as subservient to Vaseegaran and will never have the right to have his own dreams.
  • Hypocrite: Bora constantly puts down Vaseegaran for designing a robot for violent purposes... while secretly building robots to work in terrorist groups.
  • Hypocrite Has a Point: Professor Bora rejects Chitti's evaluation. Although he does it out of envy towards Vaseegaran, he does bring up valid points, stating that the robot's lack of moral discretion can endanger human lives. Then again, this is coming from a scientist who is secretly building robots designed for terrorism.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: The actor playing Dr. Bora is an Indian man from an ethnic group closely related to the people of Nepal, which confuses some westerners who think he looks "Chinese" instead of their idea of "Indian." He is from the Bhutia community which descended from the Tibetan people, muddling things even more.
  • Keystone Army: Zigzagged. Vaseegaran sends viruses into the evil!Chitti army by hacking just one of them. It doesn't quite take, until Vaseegaran finds evil!Chitti, captures him, and uses his system to send a autodestruct signal, which does the trick.
  • Kangaroo Court: At the end of the movie, the court sentences Dr. Vaseegaran to death, then Chitti comes in at the last moment (arguing that he himself is evidence) and informs the courts of the red chip and a clip of Dr. Bora saying he's the one behind everything. For pacing reasons, this immediately absolves Dr. Vaseegaran of all guilt then and there with no further discussion regarding the new evidence. They also decide to dismantle Chitti, which doesn't seem to be on their agenda at all until this point.
  • Kick the Dog: One of the first things evil!Chitti does is trash Vaseegaran's droids.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Professor Bora. He finds a way to turn Chitti evil, and evil Chitti proceeds to kill him.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Dr. Vaseegaran tries and tries to teach Chitti about emotions. It doesn't seem to take until Chitti is struck by a bolt of lightning.
  • More Dakka: Evil!Chitti is holding 50 rifles at once. Your argument is invalid. Actually justified with the evil!Chitti Ball-O-Death, since every Mook has one rifle.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Rajnikanth isn't just the first-billed actor in the OP, he's UBER-CREDITED as SUPERSTAR RAJNI, with every letter flying in the viewers face, one at a time.
  • Mundane Utility: Chitti ends up doing hair styling, henna hand art, a pedicure... All lampshaded when Bora starts misleading Chitti.
  • The Musical: Of course. It's Bollywood.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Chitti rescues a naked girl from a burning building. Traumatized by the exposure (and by the photographs taken by jackass reporters), she runs into the street to get hit and killed by a bus. Dr. Vaseegaran excoriates Chitti for not finding something with which to cover her. Being a robot, it never occurred to him that such a thing would matter. However, it didn't seem like there was much that he could cover her with, plus Chitti probably only had seconds to spare. This might also be a case of Values Dissonance for westerners, though they could still understand why the girl was so traumatized.
  • Plug 'n' Play Technology: Chitti can recharge from home power lines and car batteries, and stream his vision to TVs using wifi... and somehow needs to carry a handphone seperately.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Happy Diwali [Festival of Lights], folks!" *opens fire with fifty guns*
  • Police Are Useless: Downplayed. While the Indian military doesn't do well against evil!Chitti, their tactics are good by movie standards and they do at least distract him.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Dr. Vaseegaran proceeds to brutally "dismantle" Chitti, despite his pleas to be allowed to live, and no one sees anything wrong with it. In fact, he's the only one who seems to regret it and even then he states, it's only because he saw him as his greatest breakthrough. That's our hero, folks. What might make this worse is that he had been struck by lightning earlier and was behaving more human after this, possibly suggesting that a deity had given him life.
  • Renaissance Man: Renaissance Robot. Although Vaseegaran built Chitti for military purposes, he also programmed Chitti with the skills of one hundred humans. Chitti can perform martial arts, dance, play any sport, is fluent in at least thirty-two languages, instantly memorise entire books without opening them, cook dishes from at least twenty-five cuisines, and put makeup on women. If one looks closely at the scene where Vaseegaran transfers the data to Chitti, the hard disks are labelled as follows: martial arts, music, arts, science, sports, advanced mathematics, languages, and world geography. Chitti also learns gynaecology after scanning Sana's textbooks.
  • Scaled Up: One of the forms that evil Chitti and his duplicates take when they magnetize is a giant snake, which proceeds to do decent damage against the Indian army.
  • Serial Escalation: The action scenes. How much? After evil!Chitti makes duplicates of himself, he ends up having an entire army of totally obedient and nearly indestructible minions. At the final confrontation, they magnetize and come together to form a giant sphere of bullet-flinging death! Then they form a spinning column that trashes tanks and infantry alike! In the best tradition of multi-stage level bosses, they then form a giant snake that eats cars! But even this isn't enough, and the finale sees them take the form of a giant Chitti made out of hundreds of normal-sized Chittis. It has to be seen to be believed.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Isaac Asimov and his Three Laws of Robotics, and many, many ShoutOuts to the Terminator movies. Oh, and one of the more primitive robots is off-handedly referred to as R-2.
    • When Vaseegaran masquerades as an evil!Chitti Mook, he gives himself the serial number 42.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: One of the main reasons for all the drama. Bora's former student is able to create the world's most advanced robot, while Bora's robots can't even obey simple commands despite being programmed with 800,000 lines. Bora ultimately gets his hands on Chitti's 42GB large neural schema and is able to create a destruction program for the robot, only for evil Chitti to kill him.
  • Tempting Fate: When Vaseegaran is forced to destroy Chitti, Sana tells him "it's just a machine, you could make hundreds more". Well...
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Vaseegaran beats the evil!Chitti army by capturing one and hacking into it. It's designated no. 013.
  • Visual Pun: The evil!Chitti giant cobra attacks with rifles in its mouth. It's a spitting cobra - just spits lead instead.
  • We Have Reserves: Chitti eventually duplicates himself to an insane number and annihilates the Indian Army.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Vaseegaran's parents were thinking of naming their second child Chittibhabu if they had one. Vaseegaran goes with just Chitti.
  • Wilhelm Scream: Heard as the evil!Chitti army forms a pyramid tall enough to pull a pilot out of his own helicopter.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Rejected by the woman he loves and dismantled by his creator, Chitti is a good example of Woobie-dom. Then Professor Bora installs the destruction chip, and things go crazy.

Alternative Title(s): Endhiran