Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Endhiran, which had production costs of Dh132million.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Endhiran, which had production costs of Dh132million.

Endhiran: beauty and the big-budget robot



ABU DHABI // The lure of robots, a former Miss World and the biggest budget in Indian film history has proved irresistible to audiences, with every cinema showing sold out since last week.

Endhiran, a science-fiction thriller starring the South Indian actor Rajnikanth and the former beauty pageant queen Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, is the most expensive Indian film made, with a production cost of about Dh132 million.

The Tamil film revolves around a robot called Chitti, played by Rajnikanth, who develops human emotions. He eventually falls in love with Rai Bachchan's character. Cinemas across the country scrambled to contain crowds after the film's weekend release. Many fans lined up to see the film for a second time.

Ramesh Viswanathan, 38, an IT manager and founder and president of the UAE Tamil Sangam, was one of the first to see the film in Dubai on Thursday. He followed it up with another viewing on Saturday in Sharjah.

"I went to the first day, first show," he said. "It was really excellent, so I went again." He had booked an entire theatre for the film's initial release date, September 24, but when it was postponed to October 1, Mr Viswanathan scaled back. Now he plans to arrange and pay for a viewing this Thursday for 40 men who cannot afford the Dh30 tickets.

"No one can make anything like it. The special effects are beautiful, unbelievable," he said.

In the capital, the El Dorado Cinema was packed throughout the weekend, even with two special shows added to accommodate overflow.

Each of the film's four daily screenings have already been sold out at the cinema, which seats 250, until Tuesday.

"In the 15 years of this theatre, this it the first time this has happened," said K Sura, a staff member at the theatre. "This is a record-breaking film."

Rajnikanth, known as "Rajni" by his fans, is one of the most successful and popular South Indian actors of his time. He is known for his stylised line delivery as well as a career in cinema that started in 1975.

With Endhiran, directed by S Shankar, Rajnikanth, 60, continues his string of leading roles opposite Rai Bachchan, 36. Santosh Kumar, 38, an executive with an advertising agency in Abu Dhabi and a self-confessed "Rajni fan", joined five friends on Saturday night to watch the film.

"I liked the movie. The special effects, the graphics," Mr Kumar said. "It is not a typical Tamil movie. It is more professional than anything I have seen. "I am a Rajni fan and his movies always break records. I expect this one to break even more."

Ahmad Golchin, the managing partner of Phars Films, the distributors of Endhiran in the UAE and the Middle East, said 15 theatres in the country were showing the film in Tamil and dubbed in Hindi. In Kuwait, two cinemas with one language each are carrying the film, and Oman, Qatar and Bahrain were all showing the film in one theatre in Tamil.

The film's box-office take in the three days since its release in the UAE and Middle East was 50 per cent more than all of the earnings from Rajnikanth's previous film, Sivaji, released in 2007.

"This film has been under production for a long time," Mr Golchin said. "Everyone was expecting something extraordinary." Mr Golchin said he had seen the version dubbed in Hindi, called The Robot, but spent most of his time in the theatre simply watching families, especially children, delight in the special-effects scenes.

Most Bollywood-made science fiction films have been disappointments at the box office, including films such as Love Story 2050. However, Mr Golchin said, Endhiran would be different.

"Science fiction is not much appreciated. They don't want machines, they want human emotions," he said. "But with this, there is Rajni appeal. They don't come to see the film. They come to see him."

sbhattacharya@thenational.ae

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

The Mandalorian season 3 episode 1

Director: Rick Famuyiwa

Stars: Pedro Pascal and Katee Sackhoff

Rating: 4/5 

The Specs

Price, base Dh379,000
Engine 2.9-litre, twin-turbo V6
Gearbox eight-speed automatic
Power 503bhp
Torque 443Nm
On sale now

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Emirates exiles

Will Wilson is not the first player to have attained high-class representative honours after first learning to play rugby on the playing fields of UAE.

Jonny Macdonald
Abu Dhabi-born and raised, the current Jebel Ali Dragons assistant coach was selected to play for Scotland at the Hong Kong Sevens in 2011.

Jordan Onojaife
Having started rugby by chance when the Jumeirah College team were short of players, he later won the World Under 20 Championship with England.

Devante Onojaife
Followed older brother Jordan into England age-group rugby, as well as the pro game at Northampton Saints, but recently switched allegiance to Scotland.

WHAT IS A BLACK HOLE?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS

Estijaba – 8001717 –  number to call to request coronavirus testing

Ministry of Health and Prevention – 80011111

Dubai Health Authority – 800342 – The number to book a free video or voice consultation with a doctor or connect to a local health centre

Emirates airline – 600555555

Etihad Airways – 600555666

Ambulance – 998

Knowledge and Human Development Authority – 8005432 ext. 4 for Covid-19 queries

The bio

Favourite book: Peter Rabbit. I used to read it to my three children and still read it myself. If I am feeling down it brings back good memories.

Best thing about your job: Getting to help people. My mum always told me never to pass up an opportunity to do a good deed.

Best part of life in the UAE: The weather. The constant sunshine is amazing and there is always something to do, you have so many options when it comes to how to spend your day.

Favourite holiday destination: Malaysia. I went there for my honeymoon and ended up volunteering to teach local children for a few hours each day. It is such a special place and I plan to retire there one day.

RECORD BREAKER

Youngest debutant for Barcelona: 15 years and 290 days v Real Betis
Youngest La Liga starter in the 21st century: 16 years and 38 days v Cadiz
Youngest player to register an assist in La Liga in the 21st century: 16 years and 45 days v Villarreal
Youngest debutant for Spain: 16 years and 57 days v Georgia
Youngest goalscorer for Spain: 16 years and 57 days
Youngest player to score in a Euro qualifier: 16 years and 57 days

Three ways to get a gratitude glow

By committing to at least one of these daily, you can bring more gratitude into your life, says Ong.

  • During your morning skincare routine, name five things you are thankful for about yourself.
  • As you finish your skincare routine, look yourself in the eye and speak an affirmation, such as: “I am grateful for every part of me, including my ability to take care of my skin.”
  • In the evening, take some deep breaths, notice how your skin feels, and listen for what your skin is grateful for.
TWISTERS

Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Glenn Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos

Rating: 2.5/5

What is cystic fibrosis?
  • Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas and other organs.
  • It causes the production of thick, sticky mucus that can clog the airways and lead to severe respiratory and digestive problems.
  • Patients with the condition are prone to lung infections and often suffer from chronic coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
  • Life expectancy for sufferers of cystic fibrosis is now around 50 years.
Red Joan

Director: Trevor Nunn

Starring: Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson, Tereza Srbova

Rating: 3/5 stars

The Book of Collateral Damage

Sinan Antoon

(Yale University Press)

STAY, DAUGHTER

Author: Yasmin Azad

Publisher: Swift Press

Available: Now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

LOVE AGAIN

Director: Jim Strouse

Stars: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sam Heughan, Celine Dion

Rating: 2/5

What is a black hole?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

If you go

The flights

Emirates flies from Dubai to Seattle from Dh5,555 return, including taxes. Portland is a 260 km drive from Seattle and Emirates offers codeshare flights to Portland with its partner Alaska Airlines.

The car

Hertz (www.hertz.ae) offers compact car rental from about $300 per week, including taxes. Emirates Skywards members can earn points on their car hire through Hertz.

Parks and accommodation

For information on Crater Lake National Park, visit www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm . Because of the altitude, large parts of the park are closed in winter due to snow. While the park’s summer season is May 22-October 31, typically, the full loop of the Rim Drive is only possible from late July until the end of October. Entry costs $25 per car for a day. For accommodation, see www.travelcraterlake.com. For information on Umpqua Hot Springs, see www.fs.usda.gov and https://soakoregon.com/umpqua-hot-springs/. For Bend, see https://www.visitbend.com/.

Captain Marvel

Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, Jude Law,  Ben Mendelsohn

4/5 stars

Asia Cup Qualifier

Final
UAE v Hong Kong

TV:
Live on OSN Cricket HD. Coverage starts at 5.30am

Teams

Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Sahibzada Farhan, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Khan Shanwari, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Corey Anderson, Mark Chapman, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Seth Rance, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.

Honeymoonish

Director: Elie El Samaan

Starring: Nour Al Ghandour, Mahmoud Boushahri

Rating: 3/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Co Chocolat

Started: 2017

Founders: Iman and Luchie Suguitan

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Food

Funding: $1 million-plus

Investors: Fahad bin Juma, self-funding, family and friends

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Consoles: PC, PlayStation
Rating: 2/5

TOURNAMENT INFO

Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier

Jul 3- 14, in the Netherlands
The top two teams will qualify to play at the World T20 in the West Indies in November

UAE squad
Humaira Tasneem (captain), Chamani Seneviratne, Subha Srinivasan, Neha Sharma, Kavisha Kumari, Judit Cleetus, Chaya Mughal, Roopa Nagraj, Heena Hotchandani, Namita D’Souza, Ishani Senevirathne, Esha Oza, Nisha Ali, Udeni Kuruppuarachchi

While you're here
Scoreline

Liverpool 3
Mane (7'), Salah (69'), Firmino (90')

Bournemouth 0

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

DC League of Super-Pets

Director: Jared Stern

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, John Krasinski, Keanu Reeves, Olivia Wilde, Kate McKinnon, Jameela Jamil

Rating: 3/5