It is ludicrous to expect logic in a mass movie directed by Shankar and starring Rajinikanth. We do know that he is going to be seen in every frame in the film, but how low do we set the bar for the portrayal of women in their films?
2.0, Rajinikanth and Shankar’s latest outing is no exception. The movie also sees Akshay Kumar as an ornithologist out there to take revenge on behalf of birds. Oh yes, you heard that right. From Padman, Akshay Kumar has graduated to being Birdman in 2.0. From giving social commentaries to mansplaining menstruation, Akshay birdsplains how technology affects the flora and fauna in 2.0. Rajinikanth plays Dr Vaseedharan, as well as the lecherous robot Chitti, who in one scene unzips, Amy Jackson aka NILA’s zipper. Amy Jackson plays a robot NILA who is given a breast-defining dress by the makers. The makers in the film have ensured that even though Amy is a robot, she basically has nurturing and sacrificial qualities just like a woman? Amiright? NILA gives her MPU to Chitti, when he runs out of power! Awww. And to think I had to watch Hallmark movies to get em romantic feels. You can see Dr Vaseedharan giving basic tasks to NILA of driving the car, reconstructing a robot, sneaking in laboratories, though I wonder why couldn’t he build her strong enough to take on Dr Pakshi Rajan aka Akki turned Birdman? Why does a male scientist need to build only male robots to take on the big bad villains in the universe? At the beginning of the movie, a bunch of students visit Dr Vaseedharan and the door to his lab is opened by NILA, who smiles coyly and gives out her number to a male student who hits on her shamelessly in front of his friends. She also proceeds to hand him over a can of Çoke, ( brand placement for the win). He loses interest in her the moment he sees that she is a robot and not a flesh and blood woman.
Dr Vaseedharan does not entrust NILA with coveted operations. He requires her though to romance Chitti, as if the only purpose of a female robot is to be ‘coy’ and romance her male counterpart. Throughout the movie, NILA is a sidekick to Dr Vaseedharan and well, Chitti too. There are casual sexist dialogues added here and there, because how can you make a mass entertainer without disrespecting women?
To talk about the story, it reminded me of a poem I studied in school Óf Men and Machines. You can make a guess, at how the movie is going to end, in just the beginning 30 minutes of the film. It is that predictable. And this is not even the worst part. There is going to be a 3.0. Meaning triple the misogyny and casual sexism.