Finding a winner all the way

A scene from "Koi... Mil Gaya", now showing across Delhi.  


(At Delite and other Delhi theatres)

HOW DO you recognise a winner? By his looks. By his talk. By his walk. With "Koi... Mil Gaya" Rakesh Roshan has found a winner. The film has class, it has elegance, it has a feel good factor, and it keeps the aspirational tank running. It imparts some warm moments, and provides just the kind of fare to chill out with your family. It has Rajesh Roshan's lilting music score that blends perfectly with the background score. It has a couple of songs that leave you tapping the armrest of your seat, songs with no pretensions to poetic acme but quite hummable in their way. It has special effects the like of which you may not have been seen in Bollywood. Not quite "ET" or "Forrest Gump", it has its own appeal, marrying as it does science and technology with human emotions, with love, longing, sweat, tears, jealousy. It has the elation of achievement and the contentment of effort.

It also has a neat little story of a 20-year-old boy with the mind of a kid half his age but importantly manages to step beyond. And in Hrithik Roshan, Rakesh has a guy who has come of age with this role. As a youngster with special needs, Hrithik has given a special performance and manages to rise above the film, which by itself is quite an enjoyable fare. For the first time in all these years, he wears an emotion beyond a smile and a scowl. The new found malleability is quite endearing.

Yes, there is child-woman Preity Zinta too. Less covered than the kids she prances around with, she is just as lovable. She does not have an hourglass figure, but who cares when with each shifting grain of sand there is a fresh dive into pleasure, when with each smile infinity seems intelligible. She is just herself here, and just perfect for Hrithik's overgrown boy. Her relentless energy rubs off on the young man who gives the best performance of his nascent career.

But hey, it is not that "Koi... Mil Gaya" does not have its faults. It has. It has an alien who is just so lovable as to induce any fear. And takes to human beings as normally as the clich�d duck to water. It has a couple of kids who need an urgent crash course in manners. It has Rekha who does absolutely nothing to make her walk-on role stay in the memory of cinemagoers. It also has Rajat Bedi whose skirmishes with the hero, and the dalliance with the heroine are a definite inducement for favouring the cinema canteen. And somewhere down the second half, Rakesh Roshan loses his grip on the storyline. But, importantly, he recovers in time to have the youngsters rooting for their hero in a basketball match here, clapping their hands at his dance performance there, siding with the alien in his struggle with the humans. Where Rakesh actually deserves credit is the maturity he displays in handling the climax. No, we won't tell you what transpires at the end of this boy-loves-alien tale. Enough to say that it gives all of us a reason to smile, and our hero to do much more, immature mind and all that notwithstanding.

Yes, go ahead watch "Koi... Mil Gaya". You won't find too many better opportunities to take your family out this season.


(At Priya, Shiela and other theatres)

YOU ENTER this film expecting a roaring, deafening hulk, one who would slay opponents with the ease of a hot knife piercing through butter. Instead what you get is a whimper. The film starts with one, continues with many until your patience runs out and you realise the folly of your decision. Yes, Ang Lee's new slow, very slow offering, whatever "Crouching Tiger... " people say, is a long meandering exercise that thrills with the magnanimity of a famished man offering food. It has no bark, no bite, few barbs and plenty of boredom. As for emotions, well, when was the last time, a blinking computer, a dangling wire evoked emotions?

The film, touted to be an action-thriller with fine special effects, does not live up to its promise even partially. It starts off as the story of a scientist keen to make his son `formidable' for the challenges of life. His attempts at regeneration bear fruit, but he is jailed for defying the law. His son grows up without a father, only to discover that he has some traits which make him as different from others. But the challenges are few and far between and too tepid to make for good viewing.

You can safely stay away from "The Hulk"; you won't miss any nerve-jangling, blood-curdling fare.