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Mothership Masala: Close Encounters of the Bollywood Kind

Yet another landmark in the Indian film industry's recent streak of big-budget productions, Koi . . . Mil Gaya(Found Someone) delves into a genre that Bollywood's notoriously omnivorous masala films have rarely touched: special-effects-laden science fiction. Starring heartthrob hunk Hrithik Roshan in an atypically geeky role, Koi . . . Mil Gaya concerns a mentally deficient lad who befriends a space alien with mind-boosting abilities. With the help of a Goonies-esque band of misfit kids, Roshan battles bullies, excels at school and basketball, and wins the heart of the new girl in town. The film is being released simultaneously in India and abroad, and producers have already planned soft-toy tie-ins.

Will Koi . . . Mil Gaya court a Lagaan-style crossover? It's unlikely. Ultimately, it's a Hollywood science fiction plot wrapped around a traditional boy-meets-girl Bollywood core, and the song-and-dance numbers are for the most part merely serviceable. (One exception is a Latin-flavored disco number, in which the alien-powered protagonist discovers the newfound ability to pop, lock, and boogaloo.) But the '80s-style special effects, Moroder-inspired synth score, cheesy faux-science dialogue, and nonstop plagiarism from classics like E.T., Star Wars, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (including a homemade SETI computer that sings "AUM") indicate that at least one key niche market may embrace it: namely, nerds.

 
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