Sep 6, 2003

Free ticket mil gaya ...

... is the only excuse I can trot up for having watched Koi Mil Gaya a few days ago. The movie is such a hit that I'm still smarting from the pain.

I really wonder how and why so many people liked the movie so much that it has become a moneyspinner. Most people who don't mind the movie were impressed by Hrithik Roshan's performance. Add the prefix "over" to this description and I will be mollified a little bit. My biggest grouse with KMG is that as I had suspected, it is comfortable in sticking to the stereotypical characterization of the mentally challenged child as a perpetual grinner. Only if I had been HR's orthodontist would I have been ecstatic at the display of his canines and molars. I find it difficult to be as tolerant as many other people on these matters: earlier, this wouldn't have bothered me so much, but why do these guys only copy aspects of the plot from E.T, Forrest Gump and (if you observed the similarities in the aliencraft's effects on the township) Close Encounters of the Third Kind? Why not take a leaf out of the acting dept. too? Once you've observed what Tom Hanks did in Forrest Gump, it is a little difficult to accept bad quality. Not that Indian cinema is hopelessly bad at this, evidence Naseeruddin Shah in Sparsh. But if the excuse is that Indian audiences will not accept underplayed and realistic portrayals, then it is a sad comment, isn't it?

Anyway, HR's attempt to alter his voice is commendable (shades of Kaho Naa... Pyar Hai), but I found the result grating. Preity Zinta shows no inclination to evolve as an actress. Because of what Karan Johan did to Bollywood with K2H2, every commercial film with a brood of kids must have a Sardar kid mouthing strange dialogues. Rekha is tolerable but why Johny Lever chose to play a Sindhi cop with one joke in a role that someone could've done anonymously is a mystery. The villains (led by Rajat Bedi) are reduced to objects of ridicule, especially their habit of turning up everywhere (even in a disco) with a basketball with which to bully the man-child Roshan. This manifestation cannot be over-emphasised, for they do turn up every 15 minutes with a basketball. Seeing is believing. Mukesh Rishi will have to keep playing the Muslim policeman after Sarfarosh, poor fellow.

If Hollywood aliens are green, our's are blue. These aliens have magical powers that they can transfer to others, but cannot use to save their own butts. These ecologically aware beings only work on solar power, and have an inbuilt indicator on their foreheads to show the charging process. Nevertheless, a decent attempt, unlike some earlier Bollywood sci-fi attempts (KMG is not the first) which only had dwarves with coloured makeup as aliens. (KMG also has a well known midget actor Chotu Dada (Indravadan Purohit) in a much better alien suit).

The scenes of the basketball match were hopelessly contrived, which is pretty representative of the whole screenplay which actually features four well known screen writers (Honey Irani, Robin Bhatt, Sachin Bhowmick and Rakesh Roshan). There was a brief flicker of redemption in the plot when HR knows he would lose his powers when the alien Jadoo returns, but helps him to escape anyway. This tyaag would have been a poignant way to end the movie, but just as we were getting out of our seats, the last frames show HR getting his powers back and a brief shot of the lighted spaceship is offered as explanation. Sad! And like most desi movies that feature computers in their plots, the result is often unintentionally hilarious (like Home, Joy, Jug-Dish). A huge plus is the photography and the splendid locales.

The songs were mostly awful (except for the title song) and why HR the child is considered to be a bad dancer in the pre-alien days is not clear, considering some of the steps he executes in some of his songs. Actually the only time I was enthused was when Rohit (this name joining the ranks of Raj, Prem and Vijay) the Restored goes into what I call his KNPH mode where HR can give vent to his amazing talents as a dancer and his attributes as a Bollywood hero.

I think HR is a talented performer, and liked his work in Mission Kashmir. But if only films like KMG are going to prosper, I won't be surprised to see him further shy away from doing better quality work. There weren't too many people (my first visit to the first multiplex in Pune, City Pride) in the hall, so might the distributor have said on spotting us: "Koi Mil Gaya!"? Not really, for the film has done well indicating that not many people agree with my views.

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