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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
Bollywood launches its superhero

By Monica Chadha
BBC News, Mumbai

Krrish billboard
Krrish features an Indian-style action hero

Dressed in chic black attire and face covered with a trendy mask, he runs like the wind, leaps over treetops and skyscrapers and fights evil forces with the help of his supernatural powers.

He is Bollywood's very own superhero, in the film Krrish which will hit Indian screens a week before Hollywood's Superman Returns makes its debut.

Well known film director Rakesh Roshan's latest offering has his son and popular actor Hrithik Roshan starring in the film.

Krrish is a sequel to his previous 2003 blockbuster, Koi Mil Gaya (I Found Someone).

Inspired by Steven Spielberg's 1982 feature E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Koi Mil Gaya was about a mentally-challenged young man who meets an alien and is granted supernatural powers by the extra-terrestrial.

Krrish takes the story forward and revolves around the man's son, who is born with similar extraordinary powers and uses them to fight an evil scientist.

New genre

Set in Singapore, the film has the trademark Bollywood song and dance sequences.

I had to take these steps, try something different and raise the bar
Rakesh Roshan
Director Rakesh Roshan told the BBC News website that he decided to explore the new genre of an Indian superhero because "nobody else seems to be trying out anything unusual".

"Most of the films revolve around family subjects, dramas and love themes and no one seemed to move away from it," he said.

"I decided I had to take these steps, try something different and raise the bar, increase the standard of films being made here."

Roshan also said a film around a larger-than-life character was possible now because Hrithik fits the bill perfectly.

"Before Hrithik, there was no one I could think of who could play a superhero. His personality and physique made it possible for me to conceptualise such a being," he said.

Eagerly awaited

Indian films have traditionally starred heroes who are capable of extraordinary feats such as fighting any number of men at any given time to emerge victorious. They are also seen jumping out of fast moving trains with as much alacrity as getting atop a galloping horse.

But this is possibly the first time an indigenous hero styled after Spiderman and Superman is being introduced to Indian audiences.

Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan
Hrithik Roshan - set to fit the bill perfectly
Roshan hired foreign technicians and signed on well-known Hong Kong-based action director Tony Ching Siu-tung, to choreograph all the action sequences.

Siu-tung has already gained recognition for his work in films such as The House Of Flying Daggers, The Hero and Shaolin Soccer.

Krrish was made on a budget of 450 million rupees ($10m) a big-budget film by Bollywood standards.

Trade analyst Vinod Mirani says it is one of the most awaited films of the year because of its novelty and the successful track record of the director.

"We've never had anything like this before.

"Our version of a superhero was Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, who was constantly portrayed as the saviour of the people. Now film audiences have grown and I think we are ready for something new," he says.

He adds: "Rakesh Roshan has delivered some great hits because he understands the audience and makes even the most unlikely scripts plausible to the people. If he succeeds in doing so with this film as well, then this one will also be as big a hit as his last release."

Krrish is scheduled for release on Friday.

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