Saturday, June 24, 2006



Ok, so there’s something to be said for having an ambition and fulfilling it. Even if it something as modest as bringing Hollywood-style special effects and stunts to a Hindi film. Rakesh Roshan’s Krrish has spectacular, not-seen-before-in-Bollywood sequences, which will impress the armies of kids who made up the fan following of Koi Mil Gaya. But Hollywood and international cinema buffs may get a strong sense of deja vu at seeing yet another attempt to pick up tricks from Matrix of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

With its huge promotion, and the goodwill carried over from the well-deserved success of Koi Mil Gaya, Krrish will sail over the box-office like its protagonist soars over rivers, hills and treetops, but you know what?--the desi aspects of the film appeal much more than all the wirework and fancy superhero shenanigans.

Indian filmmakers, Roshan included, are good at romance and relationships, but flounder when it comes to science. The villain (Naseeruddin Shah), for instance, wants to be God by getting a computer that can see the future. That’s silly even by comic book standards—you don’t need technology for that, any good pundit could tell you the future.

You create a hero with special powers, and what does he do? Rescue kids from a circus fire! How many Bollywood heroes have done this without mask and leather overcoat, and without importing technicians from abroad.

But when Krishna (Hrithik Roshan) is cavorting in the hills, there is a captivating beauty to the film, and to the character who is unaware of his power. His grandmother (Rekha) has hidden him away from the world, so that he doesn’t end up like his genius father (Rohit from Koi Mil Gaya), dead in the computer lab of the evil Dr Arya.

His love for Priya (Priyanka Chopra, vapid) takes Krishna to Singapore where he discovers the meaning of heartbreak (Priya, the TV reporter, saw him just as a piece of saleable news) and a way of using his power without revealing his identity. He wears a black overcoat and mask to become Krrish, but lets a Chinese man, coincidentally called Cris Lee (talk of script contrivance) take the credit.

Krrish appears too late in the film, and does not get a chance to do much more than the circus act and beat up a set of hoods who stole Priya’s purse and ring, before he is pitted against Dr Arya. Like the Hollywood superheroes he does not develop a secret identity and he is not a masked crusader. His fight against Arya is more personal than a matter of saving the world.

Still, everyone is so eager to please and impress, that you can’t help applauding the effort. The first half of the film is visually stunning and some of the action sequences—like the pre-climax helicopter vs Krrish race is exciting. Indian audiences, who do not see foreign films, will find novelty and their money’s worth of thrill in Krrish.

Hrithik Roshan, whose performance in Koi Mil Gaya was awesome, does a repeat here – he just makes everything else fade into the background when he’s on screen. Can’t imagine anyone else among the current lot of stars who could pull off such a mix of physical agility and emotional vulnerability.


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