Endhiran

Endhiran is a forthcoming science-fiction Tamil language film being directed by S. Shankar, who with Endhiran, directs his tenth feature film. Despite several rumours regarding the lead actors, Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai have been formally announced to portray the lead roles. The film is expected to cost 80 crores, one of the highest ever film budgets of the Indian film industry.

Initially titled and referred to as Robot, the project was launched by Shankar and producer C. Karunamoorthy, chief executive of Ayngaran International who were set to distribute the film along with Eros Labs. However, in December 2008, both production companies backed off, amidst filming schedules, due to financial problems led by the currently ongoing global market recession. Production rights have now been sold to the Chennai-based Sun Pictures. The music for the film will be composed by Academy Award winner and Shankar’s usual assosciate A.R Rahman.

Robot Shooting spot

Directed by S. Shankar
Produced by Kalanidhi Maran, Hansraj Saxena
Written by S. Shankar, V. Balakumaran, Sujatha Rangarajan
Starring Rajinikanth, Aishwarya Rai, Danny Denzongpa, Santhanam, Karunas, Kalabhavan Mani, Raghav
Music by A.R Rahman
Cinematography R. Rathnavelu
Editing by Anthony Gonsalves
Studio Sun Pictures
Distributed by Sun Pictures
Release date(s) August 2010
Running time 3 hrs
Country India
Language Tamil
Budget INR 165 crores

Development
After completing Nayak: The Real Hero in 2001, Shankar announced a project with Kamal Haasan and Preity Zinta titled Robot, to be produced by the now-defunct production company Media Dreams. Despite, announcing the project, due to a lack of backing the project was cancelled and Shankar began work on Boys. In 2005, Shankar made another project, Anniyan, this was mistaken to be the renamed title for Robot.

After a positive response from his previous project, Sivaji: The Boss, there were speculations regarding Shankar’s next film. However Shankar stated that he was going to be involved with his production house, S Pictures for 3 months. Several websites claimed that he was set to take his maiden Telugu language film with Chiranjeevi, while others claimed that it was set to be with Mahesh Babu. Ajith Kumar was also considered for the film and several sources reported this news as confirmed but Ajith claimed that he wasn’t yet approached. In July 2007, Shahrukh Khan was signed on to be the male lead of Robot and also the producer of the film. However, in October 2007, Shah Rukh Khan and Shankar officially called off the project. Khan commented that the script was “half-baked” and “dull” in comparison to his other films at the time. Shankar commented that Rajinikanth had commented on Shankar being a “trusted” and “excellent” script writer. Thus the two weren’t able to compromise on one another opinions.

After further indications that either Ajith Kumar or Aamir Khan were set to sign up for the film, reports surfaced in early January 2008, that Rajinikanth has been roped in for the project. The movie will be made at a cost of Rs. 165 Crores. Later in January 2008, Ayngaran International and Eros Multimedia agreed to become the producers of Robot. The film was unable to keep its name, Robot, due to the English title in Tamil Nadu, whose government present tax exemption to films with Tamil titles. Likely titles suggested to proceed Robot as the title, included Iyandiran or Iyandira, both literal translations of Robot. However it was confirmed in September 2008 that the film has been renamed to Endhiran The film’s scripting is going on as told by Shankar in two interviews. It was subsequently announced that all those who have been committed for Robot should sign an agreement accepting that they will not commit themselves to any other project for the next two years of its production, with an exemption to the female lead, Aishwarya Rai.

However in December 2008, a sudden turn of events led to the production and distribution rights of the film being substantially altered. The production company, Eros International, cited the failures of Drona and Yuvvraj for putting them in financial pressure. Furthermore, Ayngaran International were affected by the Global financial crisis of 2008, forcing both productions to sell the project. Immediately Sun Pictures bought the film from the previous producers for 165 crores, taking over all rights for the film. Sun Pictures is negotiating a deal with HBO to release an English subtitled version of the film in the West.

Casting
Apart from the original decided casting of Rajinikanth in the lead role, Shankar as director and A. R. Rahman as film composer,, who sets a new record for the most expensive musician of India, the rest of the cast was named over the following year. Several heroines were approached to essay the lead female role with Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Asin Thottumkal, Trisha Krishnan, Shriya Saran, Priyamani and Nayanthara being linked with the role. In late January 2008, Aishwarya Rai was announced as the heroine of the project, and she later confirmed her appearance in the film to the news channel, Aaj Tak for a fee of 6 crores, becoming the highest paid actress in India with her salary for Endhiran. In a subsequent interview Aishwarya Rai expressed how much she always wanted work with Shankar and Rajinikanth, and was eager to work on the project. For the lead antagonist role Amitabh Bachchan, J. D. Chakravarthy, Narain and Arjun were considered, however Indian actor, Danny Denzongpa was signed for the role. Comedians Santhanam and Karunas were signed up to portray important roles in December 2008. Sujatha Rangarajan originally announced as the dialogue writer of the film, died during the production stages, with Balakumaran being named as his successor.

Along with Shankar’s usual directorial assistants, Manoj Bharathiraja, son of noted filmmaker Bharathiraja, was signed on to be an assistant director. Sabu Cyril was signed up as the art director while Rathnavelu has taken up the post of the cinematographer, after K. V. Anand, Manikandan, Nirav Shah, Thiru and Ravi K. Chandran all had opted out. The music composed from A.R Rahman would feature lyrics from Vairamuthu and Pa. Vijay, while Raju Sundaram will choreograph dance moves. The film will be edited by Anthony Gonsalves, with Manish Malhotra and Mary E. Vogt dually in charge of costume designs. Yuen Woo Ping will be the stunt co-ordinator for Endhiran, making his foray into Tamil films, whilst Stan Winston Studios will take care of the animatronics in the film. Industrial Light & Magic will be working on visual and special effects.

Filming
The film began on 15 February 2008 in Chennai when portfolio photographer G. Venket Ram did a photo shoot with Rajinikanth. Following this initial shoot, Shankar and the cinematographer R. Rathnavelu went on a world tour to location-hunt. The team visited Vienna in Austria, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and Hanoi in Vietnam to pick suitable locations. The first three photo sessions were held with Rajinikanth in Mumbai and Chennai with Aishwarya Rai featuring in the fourth session.

The first schedule of the film was started on 8 September 2008 at Peru, where a song picturization featuring Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai was shot under the choreography of Raju Sundaram and Claudia Bruckmann, at the historic site of the Machu Picchu. Other scenes for the song were finished off in the United States and then Brazil. The shooting for the second schedule, continued in Goa, India where the initial talkie portions were filmed for ten days. The third schedule for the film included shooting in Himachal Pradesh for a song, which was then followed by scenes being canned in and around Chennai. Scenes featuring a Robotics conference involving Rajnikanth, Aishwarya Rai, Santhanam and Karunas were carried out at SSN College of Engineering as well as at the Vellore Institute of Technology, with over four hundred students being used as extras.

Endhiran completed
The words came from the horse’s mouth. Rajinikanth who visited government tourism exhibition campus few days back himself confirmed that ‘Endhiran’ will be an August release.

We had reported few days back quoting director Shankar that the film is complete but for one song. Now we hear even that song has been shot and the shooting comes to an end today.

‘Endhiran’ has six songs and one song was crooned by A R Rahman in the lines of “Athiradi” song in ‘Sivaji’. This song was the last one to be shot. Shankar wanted a massive hotel lobby to shoot the song and after trying number star hotels in the city he finally settled for a hotel still under construction near Anna Arivalayan in Teynampet. Shankar modified the hotel to his needs and started shooting on Monday. Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai participated.

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