2006; Hindi with English subtitles; 154 minutes
I was looking forward to Krrish because I hoped it would showcase Hrithik Roshan’s skills as a dancer and his physical prowess. Krrish does illustrate Hrithik’s admirable physique, and his grace and agility in cinematographically beautiful settings that include a variety of delightful special effects. But, except for the introduction of Hrithik’s character, Krishna, the storyline flounders and few of the secondary characters are adequately developed to elicit sympathy.
I have always defended Bollywood filmmakers when they made a story similar to a Hollywood story because I felt they kept the universals of the story and made the characters, settings, and conflicts sufficiently different. Sadly, with Krrish, it was like watching a compilation of several movies. In Tarzan-like fashion, Krishna meets in his love interest in the forest. A ghost story gimmick seems to mimic the Blair Witch Project. The bad guy, Dr. Arya, wants to invent a computer that can see into the future, much like Paycheck, and who had an enormous facility on an island like Dr. No. Then, there were the alien communications like ET and Close Encounters.
I am aware that in many Bollywood movies images, bits of dialogue, snippets of songs and more from other movies are inserted to add entertainment value and pay homage to well-loved movies but I never felt that whole sections of the referenced movies were inserted into the current movie like I did with Krrish.
In Krrish, few of the usual underlying moral premises are stated clearly – familial loyalty is there and occasionally the idea that fighting for a good cause is heroic is stated but for the rest of the movie the characters seem to be sensation-seekers out for money, fame, or power.
Unfortunately, I have come to a place in my Bollywood film watching where the novelty is wearing off and I have begun to expect more. This is not always good. It is easy to criticize. Movie making is a tough business. I recognize how hard it is for a director to film a story for far-flung audiences with wide-ranging, changing expectations.
Krrish is a sequel to Koi…Mil Gaya and the previous story is woven into the present story. Krishna is the son of Rohit, a man who encountered an alien and was changed physically and mentally. But, at Krishna’s birth, disaster struck and he lost his parents. Krishna’s grandmother has taken him into the countryside to keep him from public view for fear of his safety. As the child grows, he exhibits extraordinary powers but while he enjoys using them, his grandmother continues to warn him about appearing different.
Priya, Krishna’s love interest, played by Priyanka Chopra, is portrayed as a vain, stupid girl who lacks integrity. She is not an intrepid reporter like Sridevi’s Seema Sohni in Mr. India. Nor does she have the backbone of Manisha Koirala’s Meghan in Dil Se. There is little drama in various obstacles to Krrish’s love for Pryia which I missed because Pryia’s character never developed beyond a pretty girl more worried about her clothes than any conflicting values in her life. Again, it is easy to criticize – few women can handle the stunts required for Bollywood movies, but I wanted to see something like Rani’s zest, she throws herself into her roles, while she is beautiful, she is more physically comfortable with wild and wacky stunts. I missed Madhuri’s wide range of emotional expressions. I missed Kajol’s joie de vivre. I missed Nagris’s melodrama. Chopra is more like eye candy for males. It was hard for me to maintain interest in the story when Priya kept getting Krishna into trouble with her lies.
The bright spots were when Hrithik was on screen. Hrithik appeared to enjoy doing the various stunts. He is a gorgeous human being. He has an abundance of grace and style. I will never get tired of watching him move. He is a splendid dancer and a great martial arts student. I hope Hrithik finds a character or theme where he can continue to demonstrate the beauty of his well-kept physique. On top of all that – he a good person and it comes across on screen much like Shah Rukh Khan.
While the ending was sappy, it was still tearful. While the Krrish character was original, the story was not.
Regrets: Missed the full-blown emotional tug-of-war and the lack of originality in the story.
Pleasures: Watching Hrithik dance and do martial arts stunts; the countryside scenery and the scenes shot in Singapore. Also, the circus scenes were fantastic and seemed to stand out from the rest of the movie.
Director and Producer: Rakesh Roshan
Writing credits: Screenplay -- Robin Bhatt, Sachin Bhowmick, Honey Irani, Akash Khurana, and Rakesh Roshan; Dialogue -- Sanjay Masoom
Cast: Rekha, Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Sharat Saxena, Puneet Issar, Hemant Pandey, Manini De, Naseeruddin Shah, Preity Zinta, Kiran Juneja, Archana Puran Singh
Music: Salim Merchant, Suleman Merchant, Rajesh Roshan
Cinematography: Piyush Shah, Santosh Thundiiayil
Art Direction: Samir Chanda
Visual Effects: Marc Kolbe, Craig A. Mumma
Stunts: Siu-Tung Ching (choreographer and stunts), Shyam Kaushal (stunt coordinator)