Friday, August 19, 2005

all the vibrations in the universe were bound to have some sort of interesting effect: Koi... Mil Gaya

Even after reading in my favorite Bollywood forum (Bollywhat) about this movie, I still have no idea what to make of it. At all. Is it a heart-warming sci-fi tale for 7-year-olds? A love story? A Coke commercial? A male fashion before-and-after nightmare? Advocacy for disability rights? An underdog sports story with some action sequences chucked in for good measure? Or is it simply a hodge-podge of every warm, fuzzy movie cliche ever made?

Basically, our hero, a mentally disabled man who has the mind (and heart, the subtitles point out) of a child, accidentally signals outer space with an old computer that had been created by his "space scientist" (not astronomer, apparently, thank you subtitles) but now deceased father (played by the actor's actual father, who is also the director, ha ha). The aliens land in an idyllic little town in the foothills of the Himalayas (Kasauli), and one of them gets left behind as the others are all running back to their ship while being chased by elephants, and our hero finds him and hides him in an old barn. The hero, his girlfriend, and their gang of friends (all actual children) have some fun adventures and the alien gives our hero some powers that make him "normal," advancing him to the highest grade in his school, giving him super dancing abilities (although to me he still comes off a cross between Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor), and freakish, special-effects strength. Which I think was just an excuse to show off the actor's insanely large, veiny biceps.

Meanwhile the police or army or something, I don't know, some men with blue berets and guns, have figured out one of the aliens is still here and they look for it, and they are clued in to its location by the unusual antics of the new-and-improved main character, who in turn protects the little alien from the baddies with a series of ridiculous punches, kicks, and other stunts, all fuelled by his new strength but also his heart of gold. This includes putting him in a bag and riding with him on a razor scooter and a bicycle, jumping across a big ditch or something, flying against the night sky - sound familiar? Alien goes home, boy keeps girl, boy keeps new powers - all ends well. So well, in fact, that there is a sequel in the works (Krrish). Why not - it was the biggest grosser of 2003?

I would be fascinated to know how this movie was received among people who have experiencne with and/or are advocates of the mentally disabled. My intial reaction to this character was that just because someone has brain damage, they are not necessarily a cartoon character. But many of the reviews I read said this was a thoughtful, touching performance, so who knows. Despite laughing out loud a few times at how absurd this movie is, as usual I got over it after an hour or so and just settled in to enjoy the romance and dancing and triumph of decent humanity.

Speaking of which, a quick word about the dancing. A lot of our hero's moves just looked weird - not impressive, not sexy, just weird - the leaps a little too high, the toes a little too pointed, and the flung-out arms and spread-finger hands a little too much. Think rhythmic gymnastics. Maybe part of this had to do with costumes - the actor is relatively tall and I think putting him in super-tight bell-bottom pants and pirate-type sleeves just accentuated the distance from his feet and arms to the rest of him. The geometry was all off. Of course, he was supposed to be a child most of the time, so maybe that's why the moves were so jerky.

It is amazing what a bad hairstyle, strained facial expressions of bugged-out eyes and clenched jaw, a shirt buttoned to its top button, and a sweater vest

can do to one of the world's most physically perfect specimens, don't you think?

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