Hrithik Roshan meets E.T.’s cousin just about sums up this film. Directed by Hrithik’s father Rakesh, who directed his successful debut Kaho Na Pyar Hai, Koi Mil Gaya is being promoted as India’s first science fiction film. I don’t agree as director Shekhar Kapur’s 1987 release Mr. India featured Anil Kapoor as an invisible man in a film which also had sci-fi elements. However, this film is the first, to my knowledge, to feature spaceships and aliens. Unfortunately, they are the weakest part of an otherwise enjoyable film. Luckily director Roshan, knowing possibly that the effects work in his film is average at best, uses it sparingly.
The first half of the film is completely absorbing and showcases a terrific performance by Hrithik. He plays Rohit, a child in an adults body. This as a result of a car accident which kills his father and injures his mother, pregnant with him at the time. Hrithik’s acting skills really come to the fore in many scenes and you feel for his character every step of the way. His interaction with his classmates, all much younger than him as he has never progressed at school, his affection for the new girl in town (Preity Zinta), his treatment by the town bullies, coming to terms with his father’s dream of finding life on other planets and finally meeting an extra-terrestrial. Until interval this film is truly a magical experience.
The film slides post interval as we see more of the alien and the special powers it gives to Rohit and his young friends. These scenes are drawn out unecessarily. There is also a spate of unfunny scenes featuring comedian Johnny Lever which could have been left out completely. While this type of humour might work in India, it doesn’t travel well.. Perhaps it’s time that Bollywood producers consider releasing two versions of their films, one for India and another for the rest of the world.
It’s hard to imagine that four of the most experienced Bollywood scriptwriters (Sachin Bhowmick, Honey Irani, Robin Bhatt, Rakesh Roshan) couldn’t think of a more novel storyline than merely copying two of the most famous Steven Spielberg films of all time, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and E.T. The Extra –Terrestrial. It is quite obvious that while director Roshan is quite adept at handling the conventional Indian story themes, he is no Spielberg. The alien, who is called Jadoo, is no match to Spielberg’s E.T. While some may say that is an unfair comparison, I reckon if you going to copy something then do it properly. The alien in this film looks like a blue dolphin with a big nose and the performance is as wooden as Pinocchio before he became a real boy. While E.T was obviously not real it had a lifelike quality. Jadoo on the other hand is as lifelike as a plastic toy.
The film was shot largely on location in Calgary, Canada and these locations are breathtakingly beautiful. The photography by Roshan regular Sameer Arya and Ravi K. Chandran (Dil Chahta Hai) is another plus in this uneven film. Music by the director’s brother Rajesh, another regular contributor to his films, is not as good as his earlier works.
The cast, including 70’s heroine Rekha (as Rohit’s mother) aquit themselves quite capably especially the child actors that play Rohit’s friends. They are very natural and are quite delightful in their scenes. Ultimately, what carries this fim is Hrithik and he is the main reason you should see it. This is a performance that needs to be rewarded with a Best Actor award.