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Koi …Mil Gaya

Bollywood goes sci-fi with "Koi ... mil gaya," in which a retarded geek meets an extra-terrestrial and gets a second shot at life and his girl. Well-packaged family entertainment, pic has proved a runaway success in India since release Aug. 8 and looks headed to become the year's top earner.

Bollywood goes sci-fi with “Koi … mil gaya,” in which a retarded geek meets an extra-terrestrial and gets a second shot at life and his girl. Well-packaged family entertainment, with the masala formula easily incorporating aliens and a mother ship, pic has proved a runaway success in India since release Aug. 8 and looks headed to become the year’s top earner. Though not quite as polished as it could have been, this would still make a decorative entry in Bollywood film weeks abroad, where buffs can spot the homages.

Aside from his comic turn in the recent super-souffle, “Main prem ki diwani hoon,” this is among Hrithik Roshan’s better perfs since the young George Chakiris look-alike made a splashy debut back in 1999 with “Kaho naa … pyaar hai,” which also spun on a double role. Helmer then, as now, was his father, producer-director Rakesh Roshan; and, as well as putting some badly needed bounce back into Hrithik’s career, pic also confirms Preity Zinta as one of Mumbai’s more colorful young actresses.

Dr. Sanjay Mehra (Rakesh Roshan, in cameo), a scientist in Canada obsessed with finding life beyond Earth, makes contact with aliens, is laughed at by his Western colleagues and dies in a car crash. His pregnant wife, Sonia (vet star Rekha), survives, but her son, Rohit, who’s raised in northern India, turns out retarded.

The adult Rohit (Hrithik Roshan) has the body of a 20-year-old but the mind of a 12-year-old, and is allowed to attend a Catholic college only because of the principal’s respect for his mom. Befriended by a group of seven kids (among pic’s casting delights), but bullied by the college’s sports jock, Raj Saxena (Rajat Bedi), Rohit gets into trouble when he meets and falls for Raj’s intended, Nisha (Zinta).

Lightly played, and with Zinta especially good as a romantic lead who’s more of a friend than a lover to our retarded hero, Part One is a whole movie in itself, with three charming musical numbers that showcase the two leads’ ease with the kid cast and (in a lovely rain number) with each other. Arrival of a huge spacecraft — cleanly done with minimal but OK f/x — and its abandonment of a small alien sets up Part Two.

Post-intermission is more action-filled, as Rohit, Nisha and the kids become pals with the little blue alien, nicknamed Jadu (“magic”). In return, Jadu lends some of his super-powers to Rohit, so the wimp can fight back at school.

The local police chief, however, has alerted the scientific authorities there’s an alien loose, so it becomes a race to get Jadu back to his own kind before the Western authorities cart him off to the U.S. Catch is that if Jadu leaves, he takes his super-powers with him — which is bad news for the newly empowered Rohit.

Western auds unfamiliar with how much Roshan is playing against type may tire of his exaggerated “child” perf in the first half. But like that of the alien (a simple animatronic figure with limited facial expressions), it’s a good-natured, largely comic perf that grows on the viewer. Just when it looks like it’s running out of gas, Rohit’s character is transformed into a parody of some of the star’s previous hunk-of-the-month perfs, with a splashy nightclub number at the two-hour mark that’s a pure Bollywood moment.

Tech credits are above average, music and choreography more character-based than usual, and the mountain locations well used. Hindi title means “I’ve Found … Someone.”

Koi …Mil Gaya

India

  • Production: A Yash Raj Films release of a Film Kraft Prods. (India) production. Produced, directed by Rakesh Roshan. Screenplay, Sachin Bhowmick, Honey Irani, Robin Bhatt, Roshan, Javed Siddiqi.
  • Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Sameer Arya, Ravi K. Chandran; editor, Sanjay Verma; background and song music, Rajesh Roshan; lyrics, Dev Kohli, Ibrahim Ashq, Nasir Faraaz; art director, Sharmishta Roy; sound (Dolby Digital), Jitendry Chaudhury; action director, Tinu Verma. Reviewed at Warner Village West End 2, London, Aug. 23, 2003. Running time: 172 MIN. (I: 85 MIN., II: 87 MIN.)
  • With: <b>With:</b> Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta, Rekha, Johny Lever, Rajat Bedi, Mukesh Rishi, Prem Chopra, Rakesh Roshan. (Hindi dialogue)
  • Music By: