Film Review: 2.0 has an important message but woven into a clumsy script

A still from the film '2.0'.(Supplied)
Updated 31 December 2018
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Film Review: 2.0 has an important message but woven into a clumsy script

CHENNAI: Despite its meandering 148-minute narrative and a clumsy script, the newly released 2.0 has an important message that the world can ill-afford to ignore. The film, starring Akshay Kumar and Rajinikanth and directed by Shankar, highlights the dangers of mobile telephone tower emissions, and many Indian cities have already begun to feel this. The house sparrow, for instance, has virtually disappeared from Chennai and other places, and it is suspected that the high level of radio waves emitted by the proliferating towers is the cause. In 2.0 (in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu), renowned ornithologist Pakshirajan (played by an unrecognizable Akshay Kumar) hangs himself from a tower after his desperate attempts to save birds hit a wall.

The movie turns into a sci-fi fantasy with Pakshirajan mutating into a giant bird out to destroy every single mobile instrument and tower, leaving Chennai furious and frustrated. In steps the mad scientist, Rajinikanth’s Dr. Vaseegaran, who is asked to bring back to life his look-alike robot Chitti to battle the evil unleashed by Pakshirajan. Along with Nila (a female robot played by Amy Jackson, the British model turned Indian actress), Vaseegaran sets to work in a nail-biting adventure with plenty of special effects. It is fascinating to watch the way telephone instruments make strange patterns in the sky as the huge bird, breathing fire and venom, sets about ridding the city of this pollution.
Shankar’s ploy to make his latest feature film an all-India attraction by roping in Kumar appears to have worked, with 2.0 grossing 5 billion rupees (approx. $800,000) worldwide in the first few days. Kumar’s role is very short, so his fans may well be disappointed. However, Rajinikanth, who is considered a demi-god in southern India, surprises by an extremely subdued and subtle performance as a scientist who in spite of his crazy ways (in an earlier film he had created Chitti, the robot that finally went berserk killing men) endears himself to a city in distress.
But these alone do not make for compelling viewing, and the 3D computer graphic imagery (with all the clanking metal) can only help so much, especially when the writing is so unimpressive.


Archaeologists find mosque from when Islam arrived in holy land

Updated 18 July 2019
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Archaeologists find mosque from when Islam arrived in holy land

  • Authorities estimate the mosquer dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries
  • Rare to find house of prayer so ancient whose congregation is likely to have been local farmers

RAHAT, Israel: Archaeologists in Israel have discovered the remains of one of the world’s oldest rural mosques, built around the time Islam arrived in the holy land, they said on Thursday.
The Israel Antiquities Authority estimates that the mosque, uncovered ahead of new construction in the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev desert, dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries.
There are large mosques known to be from that period in Jerusalem and in Makkah but it is rare to find a house of prayer so ancient whose congregation is likely to have been local farmers, the antiquities authority said.
Excavated at the site were the remains of an open-air mosque — a rectangular building, about the size of a single-car garage, with a prayer niche facing south toward Makkah.
“This is one of the earliest mosques known from the beginning of the arrival of Islam in Israel, after the Arab conquest of 636 C.E.,” said Gideon Avni of the antiquities authority.
“The discovery of the village and the mosque in its vicinity are a significant contribution to the study of the history of the country during this turbulent period.”