Minutes before the packed preview screening of Krrish 3 in Mumbai yesterday, I felt a tap on my shoulder. A young mother with a cute 10-year-old girl in tow asked me if I thought Hrithik Roshan would show up at the screening. “I don’t know, perhaps.
His father’s here,” I replied, pointing out director Rakesh Roshan, who was standing a few feet away. The Krrish 3 director’s presence didn’t impress the little girl. “I only want to see Hrithik,” she grumbled.
Rakesh Roshan owes the success off the Krrish series to kids like her and to be fair, he hasn’t taken the fan following enjoyed by his son Hrithik and the franchise lightly. Roshan spent three years and Rs 115 crores making Krrish 3. It hopes to score with the legions of Hrithik and Priyanka Chopra fans, and as per the tried-and-trusted Bollywood mantra, the film has action, emotion and inspiration. Add to that the mysterious absence of any high profile releases for the next couple of weeks, and Krrish 3 has all the makings of a Diwali blockbuster. A still from Krrish 3. IBN Live.
In fact, do you hear that high-pitched ringing in your ears? That isn’t just the sonic remains of Salim-Sulaiman’s awful, background score as it bleeds out of movie theatres; it’s the sound of cash registers ringing loud and clear. Seven years since the last film, Krishna Mehra alias Krrish (Hrithik) now lives in marital bliss with his wife Priya Mehra (Chopra, whose 2013 tally of Simpering Damsel In Distress is now at two, after Zanjeer), a journalist, and his mentally-challenged-yet-genius-scientist father Rohit (also Hrithik). They live in a Mumbai that looks unusually sanitised and more dotted with ads, if such a thing were possible. Krrish 3, like its predecessors, may just be the world’s greatest ‘Spot The Product Placement’ drinking game (chug your drink in less than 30 seconds if you spot the airplane that bears its own fictional logo as well as another existing airline’s logo). The antagonist is Kaal (Vivek Oberoi), who lives in an impenetrable fortress perched upon unspecified snow-capped mountains.
He is wheelchair-bound but possesses the power to manipulate all kinds of objects with his mind, making him the love-child of Professor X and Magneto from Marvel Comics’ X-Men series. Since plagiarism must never be half-baked, Kaal, who has been conducting experiments on humans for two decades to cure his handicap, also lords over his very own band of mutants, all of whose abilities have been ripped off from the X-Men universe. They’re called ‘maanvars’ (“Maanav + Jaanvar = Maanvar! Dude, yeh toh sorted hai!”
exclaimed all six of the film’s writers in unison one day, following which they all laughed, high-fived each other and treated themselves to a long lunch). One of said maanvars is Kaya (Kangna Ranaut), presumably named so for her flawless skin. Like Mystique from X-Men, she possesses the ability to assume the physical characteristics of any human being she touches. Her role is pivotal because, apart from rocking a tight latex outfit that leaves little to the imagination (not a complaint), she is the only maanvar with a speaking part and a song. The screenplay is essentially a series of developments and set-pieces inspired by many Hollywood films: Mission: Impossible 2, The Avengers, Iron Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight trilogy and more.
There are a couple of satisfactory original twists, but most of it is far too familiar to make any impact. The much ballyhooed special effects, touted to be a game-changer by Bollywood standards are precisely that: a game-changer only by Bollywood standards.
The sequences in Kaal’s lair look pretty good, as do some shots of Krrish flying as well as general destruction; however, many others simply don’t look seamless. The worst offender is an especially tacky shot of Kaya jumping off a building – it brought back fond memories of playing Tomb Raider on a Windows 98 PC. Krrish 3‘s flaws could have perhaps been salvaged had the dialogues and performances been at least engaging. After all, the Iron Man franchise owes a lot to Robert Downey Jr’s charisma. However, Hrithik, Priyanka and Vivek play their parts with neither wit nor charm. Add to that the hefty helpings of cheesy one-liners, expository dialogue and a thunderous, tuneless soundtrack that has been shoddily mixed to almost guarantee a headache for the viewer. But who cares? Not the lakhs of Hrithik and PC fans, like the little girl and her mum I met at the start of the show. Not the vast number who aren’t bothered about Hollywood and to whom Krrish and Kaal’s antics in this movie will seem original. Not those who figure it’s Diwali and they have to take the family to the movies (what else is there to do?) and that’s that.