The Real Endhiran Review

2 min read · Posted on: Oct 8, 2010 · Print this page

This review has spoilers

Saw Endhiran yesterday in a theatre full of people many of whom didn’t even understand Tamil (you know, when they laugh only at the jokes in English!) It was a wonderful experience, minus all the wolf whistles and dancing seen in a typical Rajini starrer film. Partially due to the fact that it is a relatively tame multiplex audience in Karnataka and partially because it was not a typical Rajini movie with cliched punchlines and mannerism. Instead, it was a good Indian sci-fi movie.

Even though the theme is as old as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Endhiran shows the complexities that a sentient android robot, if ever built, brings in a form understandable even to the masses. It is a genuine attempt at bringing the moral issues of advancing AI technologies and how it can possibly impact our lives. The story or plot is rather an excuse to put together various engaging scenes and brings nothing entirely novel.

To say that Shankar has left enough interesting bits and pieces for the above-average audience would be an understatement. More on that later. I was expecting to a visual effects driven blockbuster movie and was instead surprised by the science fiction aspects of it. There is a lot of detail in the manner the robot manoeuvres i.e. magnetic attraction rather than dumb jet-packs.

The rest of the review has even more spoilers

The Geeky bits

As alluded previously, the movie is sprinkled with plenty of geeky stuff. The problems posed are really hard problems from the fields of machine learning and AI research rather than gimmicky questions. This shows the kind of homework that Shankar (or is it Sujatha?) has done for the movie.

Here is a sample of what the “Robot” can deftly handle and some other geek trivia:

Hard AI and machine learning problems

Hard Robotics problems

  • Bi-pedal motion
  • Accurate speech synthesis

Hard Math problems

  • Largest prime number
  • Determining if a large number is Fibonacci

Computer Programming

  • Hello World!
  • Worms for infiltration of a network rather than a Virus (Take that Hollywood!)

Science Fiction References

  • Asimov’s Laws of Robotics - The scientist has a clever explanation why it doesn’t follow them. Otherwise this would have ruined the plot.(Thanks Rindo!)
  • Various Star Wars droids - R2-D2 anyone?

Kudos to the Endhiran team for the laudable attempt.

PS: I wasn’t too far off :)

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Arun Ravindran

Arun is the author of "Django Design Patterns and Best Practices". Works as a Product Manager at Google. Avid open source enthusiast. Keen on Python. Loves to help people learn technology. Find out more about Arun on the about page.

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