Since it's nearing summertime and everyone is in kind of a crazy mood (ever try to teach school in the month of May? Thank god I get to teach drama and not, say, math), here's an extra-silly selection for Bollywood of the Week.
Koi . . . Mil Gaya, 2003
Directed & Produced by: Rakesh Roshan
Starring: Rekha, Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta, Rakesh Roshan
It's Kinda Like: ET meets Flowers for Algernon, aka Charley, meets The Nutty Professor. There are also parts that remind me of The Sound of Music. Crazy-squee!
The title means "I've . . . Found Someone," which is pleasingly ambiguous in reference. To whom do you refer, O mysterious I? Your wanna-be girlfriend? Or a Visitor From Beyond . . .
Hrithik Roshan, awesome dancer extraordinaire, plays Rohit, our simple-minded hero. Left thusly, we are led to understand, from a car accident resulting from his father's obsession with UFOs, he nevertheless leads a mostly peaceful and adorable existence living with his mom and playing with all his 11-year-old friends. (Roshan is super cute and appealing in this role, too. Awww!)
He's also got an awfully pretty lady for a friend: Nisha, played by Preity Zinta. She's fond of him in the same way that she'd be fond of a neighbor kid. BUT, of course, all that changes when . . . the ALIENS come. Because they've been accidentally PHONED. From HOME. And one alien gets left behind. (Sounding familiar, film fans?) Vocab lesson: Rohit and Nisha call their adorable blue alien friend Jadoo, which means MAGIC. You will learn this when they sing the hilarious song of the same name. And you will not be able to forget it afterwards, so insistent are they on saying that word. Jadoooooooooo . . . . .
Just like a certain alien whom Terry Pratchett has observed resembles a friendly turd in a bike basket, Jadoo is good at things like healing . . . including maybe brains? Begin Flowers for Algernon segment of plot. And both plots unfold together, more or less as you would think. (With pauses for Sound-of-Music-like jaunts with adults and children through the lovely green and mountainous Canadian landscapes -- riding on adorable scooters. Awwww!)
This movie is kinda super silly -- the alien's animatronic and CG nature is hilariously lo-tech (even F.T, aka Friendly Turd, is more realistic), and the song they sing with the aliens kinda made me laugh uproariously and not in the good way. And it also turns into The Nutty Professor, complete with basketball game. Whaaa, you ask? Whaaa indeed.
That being said, Hrithik is very appealing and endearing in his role, and Preity Zinta is always fun too. Plus the kids are great -- and it's fun to watch him interacting with them as if he's just one more in the gang. He moves well both as a dancer and an actor, and the dances (choreographed by the cheeky Farah Khan) are pretty adorable as well. This dance was apparently the one that garnered Farah Khan her award (note the references to classic Hollywood dance sequences -- part of why I love her!). He's just now starting to gain some surprise physical dexterity, from his helpful alien friend:
(Plus: in 2003, this actually won BEST MOVIE at India's Filmfare Awards --their Oscars-- as well as Best Actor for Hrithik with an extra Best Performance award, AND Best Director and Best Choreography. Is this movie, therefore, better than I thought? They even made a SEQUEL, I've just learned. I. Must. See. This. Sequel.)
The Verdict: Silly as all get-out, but silly in that old-kids-movie-you-used-to-love way, and similarly endearing. Like watching an old 80s movie. You know it's cheesy, and you know you love it.
Here's the trailer, for your viewing pleasure: