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IEET > Vision > Futurism > Contributors > V.R.Manoj

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Enthiran, Sci fi movie from India addresses Postmodern memes

V.R. Manoj
By V.R. Manoj

Posted: May 6, 2013

I often wonder why movies from India don’t really get the serious attention they deserve apart from international admiration for them being colorful ! However, there have been movies from India which have asked just about any other big questions that Hollywood has had to ask about our Postmodern fantasies.

Enthiran, a sci fi movie from Tamilnadu, India is one such movie.In a nutshell, it is the story of an android made to look like it's maker. The Android initially is a rudimentary programmed machine which follows logical reasoning based on the instructions fed into it. To make it fit in to society, the Android is programmed to develop human emotions which it does much to the aggravation of it's maker; since it goes after his lover.
So to cut the end bluntly, the good android turns evil and crashes it's makers wedding to kidnap his lover. The android then replicates itself and goes rogue on everybody from cops to copters until it is rectified,shut down, dismantled and stored in a museum for posterity.However, there are many interesting instances which addresses important postmodern questions :
1. The Android develops human feelings and is outraged when his maker's lover refuses to accept him since he would be incapable of ever being with a biological being. He is convinced that he is much better than the organic humans since he can go on forever.
2. The Android suggests it's own generated fantasy of bringing forth a mix of the synthetic and organic being; the first offspring between a human and a machine ! Actually it does not seem so absurd given the rapidity with which BIOMEMS is developing.
3. What is most interesting during the end of the movie is how easy it is for a rogue android to self-replicate and surpass all control factors (shown in the movie as law enforcement).
4. It addresses the important question of whether emotions can indeed be programmed into an android and in retrospect; if we would indeed accept and accord the same respect in return.

I personally think a lot of futuristic ideas have been properly researched into making this movie. I especially find the final sequence heart rendering when the now rectified android is declared as too advanced for the current society and ordered to be dismantled. Interestingly, the Android dismantles itself while trying to cheer up everybody around it, or him.

This speaks volumes on whether our current society and culture is truly ready for the technological shocks cropping up around us. Perhaps the movie also hints at the need to escape the restrictions of our emotions and transcend to a state where it may indeed be possible for a man and a machine get married and rear children. This reminds me of another movie, Bicentennial Man where the Android had to wait several lifetimes to be recognized as human, and that happened only after becoming a mortal ! I had written about this movie and its Postmodern trysts way back in 2007. Hmmm, the filmmakers are really telling us to wake up and transcend.

V.R. Manoj has a Ph.D in Environmental Biotechnology/Sciences from Anna University, Chennai, India. He has worked in the Renewable energy industry and currently teaches Environmental Sciences and Engineering to Engineering grad students in India. Dr. Manoj was an IEET Affiliate Scholar for 2010-2012.
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Nice to see an article about a Tamil film in IEET grin

I too liked a lot of ideas from the movie. I also believe that adding emotions to robots should be perfectly possible, as I believe that we ourselves are wet machines/robots.

However, to me, a lot of things from the movie seemed like will never be possible in the future. To give some instances, the electromagnetic attraction over very long distances, Prime number calculation within seconds, Predicting the time of birth of the baby to the precision of exact second.

Even if we disregard all of these the ability to upload a language or the complete content of a book within seconds may never be possible in this world. I know about people like Savants who can scan pages of books within seconds. But I believe they do not understand all perspectives of the content or rather any perspective from the content. Memorizing language or a complete book within seconds may be possible but something worthwhile coming out of it may never happen.

The more I thought about this movie, it only looked like a fancy sci-Fi movie with not much substance. ( I don’t believe we will ever put such robots in the field with too much autonomy and we having almost zero control over it, with almost no experimentation)

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