Monday, November 4, 2013

Krrish 3: A League of Extraordinary Losers

It occurred to me after watching Krrish 3 that all the four leads - for Vivek & Kangana here are nearly as important, and arguably more interesting, than Hrithik-Priyanka - are talented people in their own right, and neither has got their dues as actors.

Hrithik Roshan - good looking to a fault and reasonably talented, very few of his films outside of dad's productions have done well enough to perch him securely on that superstar pedestal. That obnoxious giant Krrish statue in the film might as well be a metaphor for Roshan Jr's Bollywood dream. It's not like he isn't getting meaty roles - in fact, he only ever gets very meaty roles - but have you noticed that the guy is actually so good at playing ordinary, flawed, evolving guy-next-door roles? Still, other than the Akhtar siblings, everybody tends to cast him in these uber dramatic, larger-than-life characters in an attempt to make the most of his gorgeous looks. And you thought only actresses got pigeon-holed in pretty-girl roles!
Every few years, Papa Roshan has to pull up his socks and come up with yet another Hrithik vehicle, and also nudge Uncle Rajesh Roshan out of slumber for one more soundtrack, and the Hrithik boat floats for a while. But the older Roshans are getting... old now. If the insipid music in Krrish 3 is any indication, Uncle Roshan is tired. I may have been hallucinating, but I almost heard strains from Koyla in that weird song where everybody was dancing around the Mayawati-like statue of Roshan Jr. Please Hrithik Baba, let your old uncle retire in dignity and make a career on your own like a grown up man.

Priyanka Chopra - whether all that gossip about star wives conspiring against her is true, or there are just not enough good roles for the girls, but this talented actress seems to be doing only glam-doll roles of late. Not that there is anything wrong in looking that gorgeous. But unlike Kareena who keeps doing some interesting films once in a while, Priyanka seems to have regressed to doing the kind of roles up-and-coming starlets would give an arm and a leg for. In Krrish 3, she doesn't even seem interested in making the most of the few villainy bits given to her, and instead spends her screentime looking perfectly blow-dried and manicured. That her part here is imminently replaceable is underlined by scenes where she is literally replaced in the film by the shape-shifting Kaya.

Vivek Oberoi - once again, the guy shows how much acting he has in him if he only got the chance. The paraplegic scientist-genius Kaal is just the showcase for Oberoi Jr's acting chops, and he plays it with gusto, channeling the full force of his emoting abilities through is face. There is something tragically meta about the scene where he uses his whackado machinery to suck the mojo out of Hrithik to gain full mobility so he may unleash his full telekinesis powers - if only Vivek had had the opportunities Hrithik got in his career, how much more he could have achieved by now!
This just might be the turning point in Vivek's career, if he is open to playing more negative roles, because God knows we haven't had interesting villains in a while. If it wasn't for some incredibly stupid lines thrust upon him, Kaal would have become one of our most memorable super-villains yet. For now, Amjad Khan and Amrish Puri can lie peacefully in their graves, because Gabbar and Mogambo are under no threat from the guy who couldn't come up with anything more badass to say than, "I like it."

Kangana Ranaut - she showed so much promise when she first appeared on the scene, playing bold, pivotal characters in unusual stories. Somewhere along the way, the actress got typecast, ridiculed, and somehow reduced to playing forgettable roles in forgettable films. Now a superhero flick may not be the best place to exhibit emotional nuance for actresses, but it is a place to cash in on your remarkable screen presence, which is just what she does here. She digs her teeth into some truly 70's style bad girl mannerisms, and gets them just right. Also, a vamp role in such a film is the stylist's wet dream to run wild with their runway fantasies, which is just what Ms. Ranaut's stylists here do. The result is... um.. interesting.

Krrish 3 is a fun watch, I just could not hate the film the way I expected I would, and the grouses I do have with it, seem to be deliberate creative choices to keep the film easy on the brain, rather than creative negligence. Still, it is far from the best showcase for its four leads (the need for any more actors in pivotal roles is pretty much eliminated by having two of the main roles played by Roshan Jr). Each of these actors is capable of doing a lot more, a lot better and I sincerely hope to see more from each of them very soon. Hopefully without masks, metal or crotch harnesses.

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