Koi… Mil Gaya (2003) & Krrish (2006)
Dir: Rakesh Roshan
In the U.K. Channel 4 used to show late night Bollywood movies, and being a night owl I would sometimes find them on and watch. One night about 9 years ago I stumbled across ‘Koi… Mil Gaya’, and I loved it!
Scientist Sanjay Mehra (director Rakesh Roshan) has been trying to communicate with intelligent life in the universe, but his attempts are mocked by the scientific community. However he was right, and a spaceship causes him to lose control of his car and proves fatal for him and disastrous for his unborn son, who is born with brain damage. Rohit (Hrithik Roshan) is developmentally disabled and even when fully grown has the mental age of a child. When an alien visitor gets stranded on Earth, the two become friends and the alien bestows physical and mental abilities on the young man, helping him woo the lovely Nisha (Preity Zinta) and protect his magical blue friend.
I really must review ‘Koi… Mil Gaya’ a little, though it’s not exactly a Superhero film itself it does lead into ‘Krrish’ and does contain some superhuman abilities. Often likened to ‘E.T’ it’s inspired by the unfinished 1960’s Indian film ‘The Alien’ that was also rumoured to be an inspiration for ‘E.T’. The other link I noticed to Spielberg is Father makes a short sequence of tones that he transmits into space, that really reminded me of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’.
The film is full of all the things you might expect from a Bollywood production, with a nice element of sci-fi thrown in for good measure. Mixing the two in a wonderful way are the songs and dancing. My favourite bit is regarding hiding the alien who is called Jadoo (Magic), in one scene they are saying “we must keep you hidden and secret”, then in the next scene children are literally dancing on a hillside singing about him! Interestingly, Jadoo has pre-axial polydactyly (two thumbs on one hand) as a minor plot point, as so does Hrithik Roshan. It’s something that’s rarely shown but you’ll spot it in certain shots.
The sequel, ‘Krrish’ follows on with the next generation of the Mehra family, developing on the sci-fi themes and adding in aspects of the superhero genre, as Krishna Mehra is born with the powers that his dad Rohit got from Jadoo in the first film. When he meets tourist Priya (Priyanka Chopra), on holiday in his area, he shows off some of his abilities impressing her, and she invites him to visit her in Singapore with the intention of advancing her career by revealing him to the world. Krishna takes on the masked and cloaked persona of Krrish out of the need to use his abilities to help, while trying to keep his identity hidden, and finds himself involved in .
I love the Bollywood use of music in this to add drama to what are meant to be shocking lines of dialogue, though they are often not that shocking by usual standards. One of my favourites is, “he has done another boy’s homework”… Duh Duh DUUUUM! The score is there adding emotional cues almost throughout, including a lovely use of the theme from ‘Koi… Mil Gaya’ when it delves into a nice recap of the preceding film and the events that occurred in the interim involving Krishna’s parents.
There’s much more action in this film, as the last was mainly a romance with some fun sci-fi, this has more fights, chases, and showcases of Krishna’s amazing abilities. Some of the sequences really work, his style of running and jumping is very similar to wuxia films like ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’ and ‘House of Flying Daggers’, which is quite befitting for the setting of Shanghai and seems to suit it well. However, some other sequences are overly edited and veer more into ‘The Matrix’ territory, over exaggerating his powers and looking far too cheap.
The storyline itself is pretty excellent. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done before in western cinema, but it’s all incorporated into the Bollywood style, and with the benefit of what came before in the first film, which really helps to distinguish it from other superhero films. It’s not a film that should be analysed in comparison to Hollywood superhero films, it’s a different entity entirely. When you consider for a moment that it was made for little over $7 million, the effects were never going to be absolutely perfect, but it’s just so much fun! I mean.. how many Hollywood superhero films have a man racing his horse home for a glass of chocolate milk?…