2: 0 A Mammoth Disappointment

2: 0

Starring: Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar

Directed by: Shankar

Rating: *(1 star)

With due  respects  to  The Thugs Of Hindostan it wouldn’t be wrong to call Shankar’s long-awaited spectacle about  Man, Robot and Radiation the  biggest letdown  of the year.

Take  a deep breath when you enter the theatre  to see this digital-age  mayhem.You need  extra  strength to make it through the cheerless cautionary  drama.

2:0  is  a work of FX-driven misadventure that screams for attention. The  larger-than-life combats between the robot Chitthi and  the rampageous  environmentalist Pakshi Rajan(so called , because he  loves birds, isn’t that subtle?) are staged with the frenzied  determination  of  religious rallies  on roads  orchestrated by red-eyed  youngsters who  don’t know any better.

There  is a  quality of desperate anxiety to please audiences which ultimately  reduces this film to an epic mess. When  a film screams for attention the audiences recoils in  embarrassment.  Director Shankar, never known  for subtlety goes for the sledgehammer  effect where every  thunderous thud is  driven home with a disdainful disregard for  the audiences’ visual and  aural sensory perceptions.

While the plot pleads for  environmental  to  be curbed  it  induces a noise pollution far more hazardous than any cellphonne related  catastrophe. The soundtrack is  obstreperous and Rahman’s music is sinfully  soul-less.

The anarchic narrative knocks you senseless with  its senselessness.What on earth is  the film trying to say about ecological imbalance? That the cellphones  of the world must be annihilated from  the world to save  the  planet?  This  thought- process is put through a grueling stream of  clumsily-staged  sequences showing  mobs being devoured by  thousands  of  cellphones.

The  villain Pakshi Rajan is not really a villain because….well…he’s played by AkshayKumar. So  the  character’s  outward  ferocity,  punctuated  by makeup borrowed  fromFriday The 13th, is given a sympathetic backstory  about a birdlover whose pleas  for   a reduction on cellphone towers is mocked  by  the powers-that-be.

There  is  a telecom  minister who  makes so many sneering faces I thought  the film had finally decided to  get satirical about its  message.But no. It’s all  a serious business.

This  post-intermission  interlude of about 15 minutes when we see Akshay as  the  caring  bird-lover   is the only chunk of  the sprawling  unwieldy narrative that has an emotional  grip. The rest  of the film feels as  robotic as Amy Jackson’s performance. That she actually plays a robot doesn’t matter. Every  actor seems to have been given the brief to pull out all stops.

The agonizing  film has hundreds  of junior artistes  who have  to look  startled/scared/traumatized. I’ve never seen a  mob of actors hamming so much, and enjoying it to the hilt.

Alas, we cannot bring ourselves to share the  mob’s enthusiasm even  when we get twoRajinikanths for  the  price of one.The novelty  of  the double deal wears  off within  15 minutes as  director Shankar’s  unleashes a bloodless  tide of  chaos and  incoherence  seldom witnessed and scarcely tolerated.


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