Spare a thought for the Indian superhero. Unlike his Western counterparts – Batman, Superman, Iron Man – our guy can’t be dark or brooding. There is no room in his narrative for irony or angst. Not only does he have to save the world, he also has to sing and dance. He has to propagate family values, convincingly overact in thundering melodrama, defeat a villain who, like most villains in Bollywood, laughs a lot and he must cater to and eventually seduce an audience that has grown up without a superhero comic book culture. And he must do all this on a fraction of the budget that Hollywood superheroes enjoy.
It’s a damn hard job and nobody does it better than Hrithik Roshan. He’s earnest, righteous and drop-dead gorgeous. And when you see him in that black mask, standing guard over Mumbai, you can’t help but cheer out loud. Filmmaker Rakesh Roshan deserves a round of applause for giving us a homegrown superhero. Krrish 3 is ambitious and exciting. Sadly, it’s also derivative, clumsy, convoluted and far too long.
The two main flaws are the story and the music. Five writers have been credited with the screenplay of the film, including Rakesh Roshan. Clearly, too many cooks spoiled the broth because the narrative is clunky and over-wrought. In the second half, the energy deflates considerably because there is just too much going on, including an unintentionally comical love angle and a dream song. One of the big themes here is that each one of us has the potential to be a superhero but it isn’t organically woven into the story. It’s pasted on with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. And dialogues like “Jahan crisis hai, wahan Krrish hai” don’t help. You will also need to overlook the many product placements and the blatant efforts at merchandising – don't miss the Krrish bracelet.
The action is terrific but the special effects range from tacky to impressive. As do the many villains. I enjoyed Vivek Oberoi and Kangana Ranaut but the rest, including Antman and Frogman, have zero personality. The film ultimately belongs to Hrithik, who is especially endearing as Rohit, Krrish’s child-like father.
Krrish 3 isn’t a patch on the best superhero films made in Hollywood but it is a step forward for Bollywood. Somewhere in the future of this franchise, the superhero concept and the requirements of mainstream Hindi movies will merge seamlessly. Until then, cut the Roshans some slack and enjoy.