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2.0 Moive Review: Wafer-thin story, VFX overdose
For me, watching a Rajinikanth (Rajini) movie on the first day of its release at a local theatre along with fellow-Rajini fans soaking in the carnival-esque atmosphere is a ritual, which I have been religiously performing ever since I became an NRT, i.e. Non-Resident Tamil.

The latest in this saga is the release of the much-awaited movie 2.0, featuring the one and only Superstar of Indian Cinema, Rajini. That 2.0 was touted to be one of the most expensive movies ever made in Indian cinema and also featured the ever-dependable Bollywood star Akshay Kumar as the antagonist was an added attraction. 

However, 2.0, the latest offering from director S Shankar — who is renowned for his grand vision, scale and canvass, besides tech-savviness — is disappointing, to say the least. 

The movie has a wafer-thin storyline: a well-meaning individual, outraged by the insensitivity of the people around him to the wellbeing of the society/environment, decides, after his recourse to legal means fails, to take the law into his own hands and teach the people a lesson in the only way they understand — the violent way. 

This familiar storyline has by now become Shankar's template, which he invariably fills in with new names and new locales. Though the character of ornithologist Pakshirajan (Akshay Kumar) reminds you a bit of Kicha of Gentleman and Senapathy of Indian, it is essentially Ornithologist meets Ambi/Anniyan (Anniyan).  

If Ambi, in Anniyan, is upset with people's callous attitude to law and order and transforms into Anniyan to rein them in, Pakshirajan of 2.0 is upset with people's uncaring attitude to the wellbeing of birds that are getting killed due to radiation emitted by their use of cellphones and joins forces, after his death, with the negative energy of the dead birds to emerge as a Giant Bird/Birdman made of cellphones, pulling down cellphone towers and killing telecom service providers, cellphone sellers, and even a telecom minister.  

Such a story has to invariably depend on VFX to pull it off, and in 2.0, you get an overdose of it. VFX should ideally be used in such a way that it blends with the plot and enhances the narrative. Instead, in 2.0, it is ubiquitous and in-your-face and drowns out every ingredient that goes to make a good movie.  

In the process, except for lending their star value to the venture, Rajini and Akshay Kumar have pretty much nothing to do.  

Akshay Kumar, as the old ornithologist, shines in the flashback and wins your sympathy (Rajini rightly said before the release of the movie that Akshay Kumar is the real hero of the movie).  

Rajini as Vaseegaran looks as handsome as ever; as Chitti, he does not make the impact he made in Enthiran; and as microbot Kutty (inspired by Ant-Man), he is a caricature. 

Adil Hussain is wasted in an inane role (home minister). However, Amy Jackson does justice to her role of humanoid robot (Nila), though she gets very little screen space.  

AR Rahman's music is passable. Shankar wisely desists from inserting mandatory songs in the narrative. However, I do not understand how Shankar can allow a song that has lines like "Rajali nee kaali . . . Naragathuku nee virunthaali" (Eagle/Bird, you will be finished off . . . You will be guest at hell) — which plays in the background when Chitti (Rajini) takes on Birdman at the football stadium — in a movie that ostensibly seeks to pass on the message of bird conservation.  

Cinematography, designing, costumes, and animatronics are top notch. 

Since the storyline is flimsy and characterization superficial, the VFX-heavy film seems to interminably drag on (nearly 2 hours 30 minutes). The picturization of the song "Endhira logathu sundariye" which plays as the final credits roll, strangely comes as a relief.

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