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A masked avenger vanquishes bad guys in Bollywood musical billed as the third in a trilogy.
No disclaimer flashes onscreen at the beginning of Krrish 3 stating that "cigarette smoking is injurious to health.”
The Indian superhero movie is far too wholesome for that. This third film in a sci-fi trilogy following Koi … Mil Gaya (I Found Someone, 2003) and Krrish (2006) is billed as a family film, and its major marketing push has gone out across India and the diaspora to attract Diwali holiday crowds.
But although a Diwali opening will propel Krrish 3’s fortunes to record revenues, only viewers with low standards will be impressed: Krrish 3 has a lot wrong with it that even super powers can’t save.
Krishna, a mild-mannered young man hiding his secret identity as superhuman Krrish (Hrithik Roshan), lives happily in a hillside cottage outside Mumbai with his wife, Priya (Priyanka Chopra) and his father, Rohit (Roshan in a double role), a mentally challenged man whose earlier encounter with an alien has turned him into a scientific genius.
Telekinetic baddie Kaal (Vivek Oberoi) develops a virus designed to wipe out major world cities unless his victims pay billions for an antidote. We know the pathogen is a virus because Kaal keeps it in a stainless steel tube engraved with the word "virus.”
Kaal — who seems to speak only in long-winded, ominous tirades — unleashes his minions, including an evil-yet-strangely-hot shape-shifter named Kaya (Kangana Ranaut) and a supervillain with a Cro-Magnon forehead and a 30-foot tongue.
Parts of Krrish 3 are shockingly inappropriate for small children. In one scene, a seven-year-old virus victim dies, weeping, her face disfigured and bloody. In another scene, actual news archive footage shows African infants covered in oozing, bloody sores and covered in flies. Kaya’s face literally melts into that of Krrish; and the villain’s tongue often shoots out straight at the screen (the film is in 2D).
Roshan’s departure from the current trend of fast cuts, loud music and vulgar humor may be welcome to some, but the film’s music, by his brother Rajesh Roshan, has a tendency to sound hopelessly corny. Hrithik Roshan’s phenomenal dancing is the film’s sole saving grace.
Another disturbing aspect to Krrish 3 is Rakesh Roshan’s blatant, bordering on shameful, tendency to pad his bottom line with product placement deals, as he did with the previous two films.
Embedded marketing is ubiquitous in Hollywood films, too, but in Krrish 3 it is particularly flagrant, riddled with references to brands such as Tata motor cars (in an early scene, the hero and heroine hold an entire conversation leaning on a Tata sedan parked in front of a Tata dealership festooned with a huge Tata logo) and Bournvita chocolate milk drink (one character eats the powdered drink mix by the spoonful, its label prominently displayed).
The superhero genre is still relatively new in India; Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra.One did not live up to expectations at the box office, but Stan Lee is developing an animated super character called Chakra for Indian television that shows promise.
Roshan has made a point in interviews that all of the VFX, by the Indian firm Pixion, are home grown. The effort is admirable and the effects are certainly adequate, but can’t compensate for uninteresting, drawn out action scenes; childish logic and uneven acting, especially by Hrithik Roshan, who as Rohit mouth-breathes and toddles around with his head cocked to one side.
Worst of all, the movie is devoid of that one secret ingredient that makes audiences love superhero films: It just isn’t cool.