The woes of a superhero hits home and turns bad to worse in "Krrish 3", the artificial, yet familiar tent-pole destined for massive ticket sales.
In the middle of "Krrish 3", the perplexingly titled sequel to "Krrish" (there never was a 'Krrish 2'), the townsfolk of Mumbai gather around praising "God, Allah and Bhagwan" in sing-song. If one can brook the song’s corny setting (and the lyrics), whose only real attraction is star-actor Hrithik Roshan doing a bit from "Koi Mil Gaya..." – the E.T. impersonated flick that started this franchise – then "Krrish 3" isn't that bad a bargain.
So most of it is tiringly clichéd, ripped off from Marvel and DC comics (Krrish’s Superman worship is rather blatant) and stick-glued together, it is startling when director Rakesh Roshan's underlying Bollywood-emotionalism compensates the flimsiness of the awkward superhero element from his last film.
Here the senior Mr. Roshan, who also pens the plot, is adamant about putting family-first – a similar emotion mismanaged by Shah Rukh Khan's "Ra.One", a parallel whatchamacallit superhero movie chock full of high production values and little rationality.
Unlike "Ra.One", which shooed-off its own premise rather tactlessly, there is a familiarity here: We know Rohit, Hrithik Roshan's simple man-child turned genius, who has curiously changed professions since the last movie (if I remember he was working with laws of quantum physics, not bio-regeneration). Rohit's son, Krishna, also played by Mr. Roshan, is still a different kind of simple as the Adonis-bodied, backwoods straightforward guy (with a stiff hair-do); Years later, he still has trouble adjusting to city life and the tailbacks of being the only super-powered guy in the world (the poor guy can’t hold a straight job, even if he wanted to).
In the first of his full-blown action sequences Krrish hops over buildings and slingshots straight into the half-open malfunctioning front wheel of an airborne 747. Though, brilliant in this particular sequence, as I said before, Mr. Roshan's fascination with Superman is working full-throttle, re: Superman and Superman Returns. This, however, is the least of inspirations: Krrish gets his powers – which include a whole lot of super (super speed, super strength, super immunity) – from the Sun (Kryptonians are powered by our Sun too).
Krrish’s nemesis is a science-wiz in a wheel chair bent on world domination by his "will" (he can telekinetically manipulate objects) and a money-spinning pharmaceutical company that secretly makes killer viruses, labeled as, um, "Virus". The baddies’ "other" scheming experimentation are human/animals cross-breed henchmen (Manimals? actually they are called "Maanwars"), who look like they came out of a Commander Safeguard episode. No, don't laugh. Sometimes they are as ridiculous as the animated anti-bacterial campaign.
The climax, which includes Kaal, the chief baddie played by an unblinking Vivek Oberoi in white-washed makeup and a tin-can ripped suit, has everything from "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" to Superman's tussle with Doomsday (keen-eyed comic fans can spot a referencing panel where Lois Lane is hugging Superman after the climactic battle that temporarily killed him).
Some of the visual effects produced by Mr. Khan's VFX house Red Chillies (also the team behind Ra.One) hit without impact or emotion despite being serious eye-candy. There is no rush when Krrish lands a plane, helps spread a vaccine for the infected (the virus labeled "Virus" sets out a contagion), or when he fends off multiple baddies who attack daddy dearest one night.
Stepping away from the action and the two other ho-hum songs by Mr. Roshan's brother Rajesh Roshan (and the Spider-Man inspired score by Salim-Sulaiman), "Krrish 3" manages the next to impossible by keeping one's attention fixed in place. Rohit is still at his most lovable, while Priya (Priyanka Chopra, so-so), is less annoying as the Lois Lane-esque (read: rip-off) reporter. Krishna has about as much lure as he did in "Krrish" (his superhero avatar fares none the better) while Kaal’s global agenda, and personal disposition, is as barefaced and single-dimensioned as Naseeruddin Shah’s evildoer from the last movie.
One of the better turns, however, was Kangana Renaut's Kaya – a shape shifter femme fatale with a woman's heart. While Ms. Renaut, or the rest of the cast, propose nothing new, Mr. Roshan’s Rohit and the family in trouble angle is enough to help whiz the nearly three hour slot away in a jiffy.
"Krrish 3" is family-friendly stereotypical entertainment. The formula only works every now and then; Mr. Roshan should thank his lucky stars that it did.
Released by Eros and Filmkraft Productions Pvt. Ltd
Directed by Rakesh Roshan; Screenplay by Honey Irani, Robin Bhatt, Akarsh Khurana, Irfan Kamal, Mr. Roshan (Story by Mr. Roshan); Produced by Mr. Roshan; Executive Produced by Shammi Saini; Production Design by Sabu Cyril; Choreography by Chinni Prakash, Raju Khan, Remo D’Souza; Action Choreography by Tony Ching Siu Tung, Sham Kaushal; Cinematography by S. Tirru; Editing by Chandan Arora; Music by Rajesh Roshan with Background Score by Salim and Sulaiman Merchant.
Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Kangana Ranaut, Vivek Oberoi.
"Krrish 3" is rated U/A for cartoony violence and half-baked threats. The film has product placements like you wouldn't believe.