Where good ideas come from. Is Chrome OS a good idea?

I recently read the book ‘Where good ideas come from: The Natural History of Innovation' by Steven Johnson. It was an exciting read. The book attempts to define seven primary patterns that recur in all innovative processes and ideas in Earth's history, both natural and cultural. The beauty of the book is in how elegantly the author relates ideas from different scales and environments. For example, he explores and derives analogies from varied ideas in disconnected environments like 'the idea of carbon based life by nature', 'the diverse life forms and the biological innovation of coral reefs', 'the idea of Twitter in Internet by humans'. By surveying various forms of innovations in human history and natural history, Steven gives a compelling case for the importance of all his 7 patterns. The patterns are Adjacent Possible, Liquid Networks, The Slow Hunch, Serendipity, Error, Exaptation and Platforms. I am going to concentrate on just the first pattern.


Adjacent Possible

At any point in time, the world is capable of only finite innovations. The innovations are the first-order combinations of the other ideas available at that time. In Steven’s words,

We have a natural tendency to romanticize breakthrough innovations, imagining momentous ideas transcending their surroundings, a gifted mind somehow seeing over the detritus of old ideas and ossified tradition. But ideas are works of bricolage; they’re built out of that detritus. We take the ideas we’ve inherited or that we’ve stumbled across, and we jigger them together into some new shape.

The new idea that can be reached by combining ideas currently available is called an “adjacent possible” (A term coined by theoretical biologist Stuart Kauffman). To use the simple Doors in the Adjacent Possibleanalogy given by Steven, imagine that there is a palace with an infinite number of rooms. Opening a door will lead you to a room with say 10 other doors. Opening one of these 10 doors will lead you to a room with few other new doors. So, to travel to a room at the second level, you should have opened a door at the first level and reached a room at the first level. It’s not possible for anyone to jump straight into the rooms at second or higher levels. Also, you can only travel to a fixed set of rooms at any point. As you open a door and enter into one of these rooms, you get new doors to open and you find new rooms in your ‘adjacent possible’. Ideas are like the rooms in the palace. An idea at the fifth level becomes possible only when we have traveled through the ideas in the first four levels. As Steven puts it,

What the adjacent possible tells us is that at any moment the world is capable of extraordinary change, but only certain changes can happen. The strange and beautiful truth about the adjacent possible is that its boundaries grow as you explore those boundaries.

I will explore two of the interesting examples for adjacent possible presented in the book - one from natural history and one from human history.


Why life was possible on Earth

Life is the single greatest invention of nature. We still haven’t cracked the rare chemical reaction that lead to the creation of life - “the point at which chemistry and physics gave way to biology”, as Steven puts it. However, we know that all life on earth is Carbon-based life. Even though Silicon has the same valence electron(four) as Carbon and occurs hundreds of times moreAlpha Amino Acid abundantly than Carbon, nature has favoured carbon-based life instead of silicon-based life. The reason turns out that silicon is not as versatile as carbon in making double and triple bonds that create the long chains and rings of fatty acids and sugars. Also Silicon requires far more energy than Carbon to form bonds and Silicon bonds readily dissolve in water (a major ingredient of prebiotic earth). In other words, carbon was ready to explore its adjacent possible and the environment of prebiotic earth with water encouraged the collision and exploration of new carbon molecules. The famous Miller-Urey experiment simulated the conditions of primordial soup (containing water, methane, ammonia and hydrogen) and used pair of electrodes to simulate lightning. Results showed that the Carbon atoms, present only in methane(CH4), were able to spontaneously recombine into many of the organic compounds essential for life: sugars, lipids, nucleic acids. Scientists were able to show that more than 20 different amino acids were generated in original Miller-Urey experiment conducted in 1952 and, from our latest understandings of prebiotic earth, if we included more possible prebiotic molecules, the experiment created more diverse molecules.


Once the first carbon-based single-cellular life emerged on earth, then evolution by natural selection took over. Unlike the origin of life, we have immense evidences for evolution by natural selection and we understand how it works. Evolution is one giant exhibition of exploration of the adjacent possible. There is a prevalent misunderstanding among the public that it’s improbable for a process like evolution to have created complex things. The fundamental understanding of evolution as an agent for exploring adjacent possible throws some light on how evolution could create seemingly improbable things like the human brain, a beautiful flower or a beautiful cuckoo sound. They were not created in one step. They are a result of a serious of billions and billions of steps of exploring the adjacent possible. As Steven points out in his examples,

When dinosaurs such as the velociraptor evolved a new bone called the semilunate carpal (the name comes from its half-moon shape), it enabled them to swivel their wrists with far more flexibility. In the short term, this gave them more dexterity as predators, but it also opened a door in the adjacent possible that would eventually lead, many millions of years later, to the evolution of wings and flight. When our ancestors evolved opposable thumbs, they opened up a whole new cultural branch of the adjacent possible: the creation and use of finely crafted tools and weapons.

As pointed in the above example, nature didn’t create a flying bird in one step. The possibility of a bird came into the realm of adjacent possible only when the velociraptor evolved to have the semilunate carpal bone. And it took millions of years of explorations of the adjacent possible (by mutations) to evolve a bird. If the semilunate carpal bone didn’t have a survival advantage (of more dexterity) and nature didn’t favour it, then wings would have never been in the realm of adjacent possible (and humans might have never got the inspiration to build an airplane!). Steven puts this in perspective when he says,

Four billion years ago, if you were a carbon atom, there were a few hundred molecular configurations you could stumble into. Today that same carbon atom, whose atomic properties haven’t changed one single nanogram, can help build a sperm whale or a giant redwood or an H1N1 virus, along with a near-infinite list of other carbon-based life forms that were not part of the adjacent possible of prebiotic earth.

Why the Father of Computer couldn’t build a computer

Like life in earth’s natural history, one of the greatest inventions in human history is the Computer. The mastermind behind the idea of a programmable computer is Charles Babbage and he is aptly called the ‘Father of Computers’. His ‘Analytical Engine’, proposed in 1837, was Incomplete Analytical Engine built by Babbagethe first programmable computer (The world’s first programmer was an English lady, Ada Lovelace, who wrote instructions for Babbage’s analytical engine). But unfortunately, Charles Babbage was never able to build his analytical engine. This is because Babbage didn’t have the ‘right spare parts’ to build his computer. In the nineteenth century, the analytical engine has to be built with all mechanical parts with moving objects. Building the complex analytical engine with mechanical parts was impossible. Babbage died without completing his dream computer. Eventhough the idea of a computer was available in 1837, it took more than a century for the first programmable computer to be build. We had to wait till the electronic-era for Babbage’s dream to be realized. In other words, a programmable computer was not in the realm of adjacent possible in 19th century. Babbage was “ahead of his time”. It’s as if he saw what was inside the 1000th level room in the palace of ideas, through his brilliance. But we had to wait till all the intial 999 doors were opened and building a computer was in the adjacent possible. As Steven’s elegantly puts it, 

trying to create an Analytical Engine in 1850 was the equivalent of those fatty acids trying to self-organize into a sea urchin. The idea was right, but the environment wasn’t ready for it yet.

Babbage’s Analytical Engine is still a vaporware.


Why is Chrome OS a good idea now?

Few days after I read ‘Where good ideas come from’, Chrome OS netbook (Cr-48) was launched and I was fascinated by Eric Schmidt’s (CEO of Google) closing speech in the launch event. You can read the transcript at Cloud Computing: the latest chapter in an epic journey. Eric explains how the idea of cloud computing is as old as 1983, when Sun introduced a diskless computer. Later in the 90’s after the innovations of Web, Oracle had introduced something called as “network computer”. It’s similar to a Chrome OS netbook. But the concept of Network Computer failed. Eric explains that the concept failed in the 90’s because 

the web couldn’t compete with the scale and power of the then-existing desktop applications, which at the time were Ole and Win32 and various Mac APIs.

And today, after 15 years, we have 1000 times faster networks, CPUs, and screens. AroundChromeOS Cr-48 netbook 2004, the advent of AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) enabled building powerful web-applications like gmail. Interfaces competent with desktop applications could be finally built. The model of cloud computing, where thousands of networked computers do complex operations, while the client(browser) provides high-quality user interface, became possible. As Eric explains it

we’ve gone from a world where we had reliable disks and unreliable networks, to a world where we have reliable networks and basically no disks… the kind of magic that we could imagine 20 years ago, but couldn’t make real because we lacked the technology.

To summarize Eric’s argument, Chrome OS is now in the adjacent possible. We can see the striking similarity between how building first computer took more than a century since its inception and how creating a Cloud computing platform took decades after its inception. Although the idea of cloud computing could be conceived years before, like the original idea of an analytical engine, we had to wait till Moore’s law would grow by a factor of 1000 for Chrome OS to be in the adjacent possible. Again “the idea was right, but the environment wasn’t ready for it yet”.

Moral of the Story

The important takeaway from understanding the ‘Adjacent Possible’ is as Steven says,

All of us live inside our own private versions of the adjacent possible. In our work lives, in our creative pursuits, in the organizations that employ us, in the communities we inhabit—in all these different environments, we are surrounded by potential new configurations, new ways of breaking out of our standard routines…. The trick is to figure out ways to explore the edges of possibility that surround you. This can be as simple as changing the physical environment you work in, or cultivating a specific kind of social network, or maintaining certain habits in the way you seek out and store information.


And talking about the kind of environment that creates good ideas,

innovative environments are better at helping their inhabitants explore the adjacent possible, because they expose a wide and diverse sample of spare parts—mechanical or conceptual—and they encourage novel ways of recombining those parts. Environments that block or limit those new combinations—by punishing experimentation, by obscuring certain branches of possibility, by making the current state so satisfying that no one bothers to explore the edges—will, on average, generate and circulate fewer innovations than environments that encourage exploration.

Finally,

The trick to having good ideas is not to sit around in glorious isolation and try to think big thoughts. The trick is to get more parts on the table.

The more number of parts - mechanical or conceptual - we are equipped with, the more ideas that are waiting to be explored in our Adjacent Possible.

P.S: This essay is dedicated to my friends who tease me for buying a Kindle. :P I have hereby proven that I have read atleast one book and purchasing the Kindle was useful. You guys can stop teasing me ;) And I also recommend interested people to read the book. After all, I covered only the first pattern. There is so much exciting stuff about the other 6 patterns.

God - The Outdated Theory

WARNING: The following essay might sound like ATH101: Introduction to Atheism.

Agnosticism is Meaningless

If you know me well or if you have not hidden me from your Facebook feeds yet, you probably know that I don’t believe in God. I developed a lot of interest in the subject of God for the past couple of years. The subject is so important and fascinating because majority of human beings seem to ‘still’ believe in some form of God and they live their whole life based on that ‘belief’. If you are among the set of people who didn’t find the time/need to think about God and have managed to lead a life till now here is a simple Theism/Atheism test.

Do you believe in a Super Power that can intervene and change the course of your life?

If you answered yes, you belong to the majority of people who believe in God. If you answered no, you are an Atheist. As simple as that. I never understood the need for the classification ‘Agnostic’, with respect to God. I personally find the agnostic state as a boring and meaningless state. The above question is a binary question and there is no middle ground. You just need to think hard enough and come up with your answer.

My feeling of Agnosticism towards God as a meaningless state is derived from the fact that the God theory proposed and followed by majority of humans is just outdated. By saying you are an agnostic you are just giving equal merit to the outrageous, medieval claims proposed by the God Theories(a.ka. Religions). Following are few of those claims: 

  • Creation - God created earth, moon, sun, man, women, marriage, animals, etc. Pick your choice from the countless creation myths from your choice of religion.
  • Morality - God is responsible for all the positive morals humans have. (i.e) why a person doesn’t kill, cheat, steal, etc.
  • Intervention - God can intervene into the human world and is capable of miracles. You have to regularly pray him and propose your ‘Request for Intervention’. 
  • Benevolence - God is our savior, epitome of affection and he is there to take care of humans.

Sure there could be many other characteristics for God. But these, I think, are the general qualities attributed to any God.

God - Enemy of Reason

There are many reasons one can hate the concept of God. The most popular complaint is that it just leads to some mindless, irrational behavior among humans like this or this. But one can argue that even without religion there could be other wars among humans based on various labels like race or language. Sure, humans are capable of various forms of harmful behavior in the name of various labels but religion is arguably one of the most powerful labels among them. Nevertheless, my primary hatred towards God is not because of these wars waged in the name of him by the religious zealots. The fundamentalists are only a minority. My problem is with the majority of normal people who are well educated who can otherwise think clearly and logically seem to believe in a God with the attributes listed above. Believing in such a God by knowledgeable people in the face of overwhelming evidence against a God is the greatest danger for mankind. God locks down the unique ability of humans to reason and makes them live in a warped reality. The fact that majority of people have this outdated view of the world and live their entire life believing in a mythical being, when there is a much grander, elegant and truthful view of world is the greatest tragedy of mankind.

Science - Enemy of God

Most people think that science and religion can co-exist. I think that is a gross misconception. The fundamental understanding and acceptance of science will inevitably lead to doubt God. The two most exciting fields of science that are directly deterrent to the belief in God are Evolutionary Biology and Astronomy.

Evolution puts an end to the creation myths once and for all. This, in my opinion, kills almost every major religion on the face of earth. Evolutionary theory (to put in crude terms) states that we humans are the result of genetic mutation over a period of several billion years. Since the time this idea was proposed by Drawin some 150 years ago(when he didn’t even know genes existed) there have been overwhelming evidence that evolution is true. Evolution is a fact now. If you understand Evolution you can never accept God as a creator of humans. Evolution shatters the human-centric view of all religions. Every theory of God is based on the idea that we humans are somehow important than say a dog, cat or a bacteria. From the evolutionary viewpoint every living thing on earth has descended from a common ancestor. Now, after understanding this how do you reconcile with the idea that we humans are created by God for a ‘purpose’?

While Evolution shatters the human-centric view of God theories, the second field Astronomy shatters the geocentric view. Portraying earth as the center of universe is a common aspect of any theory of God. This aspect of religion is pretty obvious because they were created by humans when they had no idea about the celestial objects and the vastness of the universe. Today’s astronomy gives a breathtaking view into the farthest corners of the universe and shows us that we are living in just a mote of dust. After understanding the scale and age of the universe how can anyone dare to say that we humans and the tiny ‘pale blue dot' called earth are the most important entity in the universe?

The Imaginary Friend

Many believers who are reading this post will be shouting inside “Of course I don’t believe in that kind of a god. Of course I know evolution is true and the universe is huge. My view of God is not the one written in the medieval scriptures. My God is more sophisticated. He is beyond religion. He is some kind of a single unknown power that drives this universe, He is like a friend to me.” If you are one of those people having similar thoughts, you are in someways atleast better than a fundamentalist who literally believes the religious scriptures. But do you still ‘pray’ to your God? Did you answer ‘yes’ to the Atheism/Theism test question I posed at the beginning?. If so, then you are still living in a limited reality. If you have true scientific understanding of the universe you can never believe in a imaginary supreme power, let alone pray to such an unknown being. You will never think that the good things happening to you are because of the benevolent supreme power and the bad things happening in this world are for the greater good decided by the supreme power. The world will no longer look the same when you stop believing in God. You will have a much more satisfying and grander view of the world and life as such.

The Ultimate Truth? 

So if there is no God how are we here? why are we here? what is our purpose? These are obviously difficult questions. Science is able to answer few of them to some extent. The ‘how’ question to some extent is elegantly answered by Evolution and Big Bang. However, we still don’t know how life ‘orginated’. Evolution only explains how we evolved into humans once life originated by some stupendously unique chemical reaction. We know that universe must have been a tiny point during the big bang and has been expanding for 14 billion years. We still don’t know what happened during the big bang. The ‘purpose’ question kind of becomes irrelevant to me once you understand Evolution and Big Bang. That doesn’t mean you should stop living and adopt a nihilistic view of the world. We are the only species in the evolutionary tree that can think, reason and analyze the universe. We are the only species on earth who can build a hubble telescope and see the galaxies several light years away from us and try to understand the very universe that expanded and evolved into producing us. The grandeur of our existence is real. The happiness of falling in love is real. The sadness that hits us when we see suffering is real. Our ability to create paintings, music, movies, architectures is real. We have every right to enjoy this life. We don’t need God to explain any of these. Any ultimate truth that is to be known and that can be known by humans will come out of science and science alone. When we stop filling our ignorance with God and start searching for enlightenment through science, the world would be a much better place. I’ll end this with a quote from one of my favorite speakers, Neil deGrasse Tyson (video)

"Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars, that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically…It’s not that we are better than the universe. We are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us"

That makes me smile. :)

Why you should watch Inception twice?

SPOILER ALERT: This post can spoil your second viewing of Inception! :)

The first time you watch any Christopher Nolan movie you become a part/prey of the plot. The narrative style to a great extent depends on the involvement of the audience. It is amazing how Nolan is able to pull this off even though his movies are mind-bogglingly complex. One might argue that his characters and themes are very bizarre that anyone would naturally be engaged in the story and Nolan is cunningly using it to hijack the viewer. It is partly true, but Nolan doesn’t cheat the viewer with the bizarreness of his story. There are movies that will entertain you from start to end but when you go back home and think about it nothing makes sense. Nolan’s movies are not one of those. In fact, every single one of his movies makes deeper sense when you watch it the second time and you enjoy it much more the second time. Here is my proof with Inception as my case study.

When I went in for Inception, knowing the premise of the story, I was already anticipating that Nolan would try and confuse between reality and dream as much as possible. The first two scenes did exactly that. But after that surprisingly the movie is quite explicit about dream and reality (except at the very end :D). The first time I watched the movie it was about being engrossed in the plot, keeping track of what is happening, going spell-bound by Nolan’s visual interpretation of dreams/dream-within-dream/etc. And to be honest, when the movie ended I was confused. I missed a few dialogues at the end, and had to ask my friend to understand what happened in the last 2 scenes. I knew I liked the movie, but was not able to officially accept it. :)

So within 24 hours, I convinced my friend to go for another show of Inception. Right after the third scene, I knew the second visit was totally worth it. Every dialogue and every action makes deeper sense the second time you watch it. Let me try and explain you how. The first time you watch, you just assume that Mal is some evil force and she is trying to sabotage the operation for some reason. Only later you come to know that Mal is in fact Cobb’s mental projection. Without knowing this piece of information, the initial sequence is still entertaining and riveting. But when you watch it for the second time, knowing that Mal is a projection of Cobb’s subconscious you enjoy the scene at a whole new different level.

1. The first dialogue Mal speaks goes something like “Will I die if I fall from here”. This obviously refers to Mal’s suicide in real world. This is Cobb’s subconscious guilt questioning him the perception of reality. It is as if Cobb’s subconscious is mocking at him that this is just a dream world where you don’t die and you only get back to reality if you fall off. Same reasoning Mal used but unfortunately from the real world (or is it?? :P)

2. Then inside a room, Cobb makes Mal sit in a chair, ties a rope around one of the legs of the chair, jumps off the window and descends down using the rope with Mal’s weight holding the chair down. First time I saw this I thought, “Is he mad?? she is obviously gonna stand and walk!!!” and it happened as expected. Again, your whole perspective of the scene changes when you watch it for the  second time knowing the extra facts. Cobb is just making the troubled part of his subconscious sit in the chair. He wants this part of his subconscious to stay away from his operation. It can be interpreted as Cobb expects Mal, part of his subconscious, would sit calmly in the chair if the life of his main consciousness depends on her sitting in the chair. One more interpretation would be that Cobb just wants to make sure that she is inside the room and he should know if she makes any move against him. Bottom-line, Cobb wants this part of his subconscious under control and to stay away. But the very fact that she walks away and Cobb falls down miserably shows that that part of his subconscious is not under his control.

3. The next scene where Mal shoots Arthur’s leg and tortures him, while Cobb shoots him and relieves his pain by killing him(in the dream world) was just awesome to watch the first time. We get introduced to the fact that dying in the dream will wake you up in the reality (or a dream one level above! :D). In the second viewing, knowing that Mal is Cobb’s projection, you get to know the horror of Cobb’s deeper psychological problems. One part of his consciousness is trying to torture Arthur while the other part is saving him by killing him.

As soon as the initial dream sequence ended, I had goose-bumps and I knew it was worth spending the extra $10 bucks on Inception. And then I watched it a third time! :)

(Trivia: This is actually the first ever blog post I wrote. Remember, I was out of Facebook for one month?. That’s when I watched Inception and I had to share my thoughts on the movie. Since I couldn’t say anything in FB, I ended up writing this post. :) I wanted to post this first but SuperStar’s Endhiran took precedence! ;))

Endhiran - A Milestone in Indian Cinema

(SPOILER ALERT: This article contains specific references to some scenes from the movie which might be considered as spoilers.)

Here is my take on Endhiran and the aspects I loved about the movie.

Science Fiction in Indian Cinema

A curious search in google for ‘indian science fiction movies’ pointed me to a wikipedia entry with a list of mere 12 movies. Out of the list I have only seen ‘Krrish’ which is a superhero 

movie and not technically a sci-fi movie. The only other sci-fi movie from last 2-3 decades is Koi Mil Gaya which is supposedly inspired from Spielberg’s ET and Sathyajit Ray’s The Alien. So, when we say sci-fi is new to indian audience, it is a gross understatement. Endhiran is the first ever Indian sci-fi movie that has a comprehensive sci-fi plot.

Human Emotions

The crux of the movie is about human emotions. What is the importance of human emotions? What would an all-knowing all-powerful robot without emotions do? How would it cope with emotional beings that need to lie for day-to-day survival? What are the dangers when emotions get programmed into such a machine? What happens when a machine starts falling in love, when it starts lying, when it betrays its own creator, when it starts destroying humanity for its own ‘selfish emotions’?. The movie tries to explore these questions. These are age old themes for Hollywood that have been explored for decades in movies like 2001:A Space Odyssey, Terminator, AI, Matrix, iRobot. Endiran is the first Indian movie to attempt to go into this territory and it does a very good job of staying honest to the sci-fi themes and keeps you continuously entertained. Capturing these unique plot themes and sci-fi elements inside the fixed format of indian blockbuster movies and doing a decent job out of it itself is a huge win.

God and Origin of Life

Two of the notable sequences that I enjoyed are the references to god and the origin of life. When Chitti, the Robot gets interviewed by the public for the first time, someone asks Chitti, “Is there a God?”. Chitti, who answers all previous questions shot at him convincingly, like an innocent child asks “Who is God?”. The questioner replies “God is the Creater of all of us”. Chitti quickly responds “Then there is God. Vasi created me and so he is my God”. The whole theater applauded for this sequence. I am guessing most people took Chitti’s answer as an acknowledgment to the existence of God. The atheist inside me obviously didn’t feel that way. :) If we know our basic sciences we would argue as ‘Chitti is a robot that is designed for a purpose and he has a creator. But we humans are deceived by the illusion of design created by Darwinian Natural Selection’.

Before we go into a different debate, my next favourite sequence is where they refer to ‘life and its origin’ without invoking God. It was a great scene when Vasi, the scientist tries to explain how human life is so unique and different to a robot who has just gained artificial emotions. Vasi’s explanation goes something like “Life is not just DNA. Life is a mere accidental miracle in this universe. A bacteria has life but a sodium doesn’t”. Chitti quickly asks “Do I have life?”. Before Vasi tries to answer Chitti suddenly gets hit by a lightning and falls down as if he is ‘dead’. The question is left unanswered and the answer is open to the interpretation of viewers. It is sequences like this with elegant scientific and philosophical references (kudos to Sujatha and Kaarky) that make Endhiran an exciting movie.

The Climax Action

The climax action in the movie is undeniably the most spectacular, grand cinematic sequence I have seen in indian cinema. I get sad and angry when people fail to appreciate the quality of the action and comment on it as having an over dose of graphics or having a lack of creativity or illogical. When I think about it I guess we Indians in general might have this fundamental low opinion about the creative knowledge coming out of our movies. We go out-of-the-way to try and understand a hollywood movie and try to come up with our own extended logics to patch up plot holes in them. When it comes to Indian movies, we think in the opposite direction. However good the movie may be, first thing we do is point fingers at the possible flaws in the movie. I thought the climax action in Endhiran was as original and creative as any good hollywood action. It was a fresh concept (atleast I have not seen this explored in any hollywood movies) and it reminded  me of this video of swarm-bots pulling a child. Given the sci-fi premises of the movie, the concept of the climax action was very creative, logical and gave way to some mind-blowing action. A simple search in youtube for ‘swarm robots’ showed that there is active research going on in robotics related to Morphogenesis using a group of intelligent robots , how they can connect via electro-magnetism and how they might have a mind of their own. I am sure people who couldn’t appreciate this sequence, wouldn’t find any problem in enjoying T-1000, a nanomorph made of ‘liquid metal’ whose nano-particles had a mind of their own and intelligently combined together to recreate the robot in the classic climactic sequence of Terminator2. There would be no questions asked here because the director is the great James Cameron and we are supposed to enjoy the ‘science fiction’ movie with extraordinary CG action and stop asking questions. For the record, I am a great fan of T2. I am just trying to show the fundamental bias we have when it comes to creativity from hollywood and Indian Cinema. Probably it’s because we are used to watching a lot of bad movies here and we miss to notice the greatness when some rare movie like Endhiran shows up.

The SuperStar

The only man who has the power to capture enough crowd to even recover the budget of the movie is Rajinikanth. At 60, he pulls-off a stupendous performance portraying four different shades of characters (Vasi the scientist, Chitti without emotions, Chitti in love and Chitti v2.0) and assures a mega-success for the movie.

The Dreamer

Big thanks to Shankar for dreaming a science-fiction project and for not making it like his usual preachy, vigilante action movies. Instead he stays truthful to the genre and manages to satisfy all categories of audience. There is something for everyone in the movie. Sujatha and Kaarky have done a great job in transforming the complex science-fiction themes into simple, elegant, meaningful dialogues. The technical team with many Oscar winners in it have worked hard to take this tamil movie to the international stage. The movie is not only going to get back its humongous budget but also is going to break all Indian box-office records.

Endhiran is India’s Avatar DOT