By Haricharan Pudipeddi
Cast: Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar, Amy Jackson, Adil Hussain, and Sudhanshu Pandey
It's been a long wait for superstar Rajinikanth's "2.0", which has finally hit the screens, and it can be said with assurance that it doesn't disappoint. It takes a socially relevant environment related problem and gives it a science-fiction twist, which results in an insanely and illogically fun film that gets powered by breathtaking visuals and Rajinikanth in his effervescent self.
The wait and the hype have been worth it, and Shankar and Rajinikanth, in one of their most ambitious collaborations, hit this one out of the park and they do it in style.
Set in a world where birds are facing extinction due to high emission of radiation from mobile towers, an ornithologist (Pakshi Rajan), played by Akshay Kumar, takes it upon himself to fight for the cause as he tries to make everyone understand that the world is not just a place for humans. However, when he realises all his efforts are going waste, he seeks revenge and the events that follow form the crux of the story.
Given the scale on which it is mounted, "2.0" works magnificently and even the minor flaws are negligible.
It's the first Indian film to be shot entirely in 3D, and boy the visuals are a treat to watch on the big screen.
While there are no special elements that elevate the 3D viewing experience, but the visuals are fluid and top-notch.
For instance, the image of a zillion mobile phones giving shape to Akshay's character and moving like a wave on the ground and in the sky is not just exciting, but flat out terrific to watch and it warrants a 3D viewing.
It takes a visionary to even imagine something as outlandish as this and there isn't a better example than Shankar in Indian cinema.
"2.0" offers us multiple avatars of Rajinikanth and each version is better and funnier than its previous version. Rajinikanth returns as scientist Vaseegaran, a character he popularised in "Enthiran", the first part of the franchise. He also returns as Chitti, the robot who later becomes 2.0, an upgraded version.
Vaseegaran and Chitti don't quite make an impact and play their parts aptly, but 2.0 is the show stealer and Rajinikanth in this avatar charms us with his wit and energetic screen presence.
The action stretch featuring 2.0 and Akshay's Birdman avatar is undeniably the most insane sequence one could've seen in recent times.
Akshay Kumar makes a solid south debut in a negative role but one that tugs at your heartstrings on a few occasions. His flashback episode delivers an emotional punch to what's otherwise a science-fiction action flick with not much soul. There's solid reasoning behind his decision to turn evil, and if not for Shankar and his vision, it would've turned out to be a joke. The scenes where he transforms into a Birdman are absolutely thrilling visuals that deliver a big bang for bucks.
"2.0" is Shankar's glorious return to form after the highly disappointing "I" featuring Vikram. He draws us into a world of humanoid robots, artificial intelligence and electromagnetic radiation. Unlike most science-fiction films, 2.0 takes the commercial route to entertain, thus does come across as illogical at places but that's what makes it insanely fun.
Shankar knows how to go overboard without making his effort look superficial and he achieves it effortlessly in "2.0".