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Hrithik passes PM test, over to box office

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AVIJIT GHOSH   |   Delhi   |   Published 03.08.03, 12:00 AM

New Delhi, Aug. 3: The hysterical teenage girls have long since vanished. And the two bouncers who escorted Hrithik Roshan to the dais in Delhi’s Hyatt Regency hotel today were pretty nervous.

The filmstar was here to promote his latest family entertainer, Koi... Mil Gaya. Dressed in a white-and-blue striped shirt, dark glasses and darker trousers, an unshaven Hrithik was accompanied by his father, actor-director-producer Rakesh Roshan.

“By far, this was the most challenging role of my career. Whether I am good or not will only be decided on August 8 when the film is released,” Hrithik said.

But someone very, very important has already liked his performance as a mentally-challenged teenager. At a special screening yesterday, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and entourage saw the film. “He liked the film and also praised Hrithik’s performance,” father Roshan said.

The dancing star, who is still struggling to live up to the huge expectations created by his 2000 debut in superhit Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, didn’t have much time to prepare for the role. “But I looked back at my childhood and found Rohit, the character I play,” Hrithik said.

Roshan, the film’s director, got the idea of making a science-fiction entertainer when he saw his four-year-old granddaughter watching a cartoon film on aliens.

“I asked her: Do you know who these aliens are? ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘they come from another planet.’ I thought then, if children can understand this stuff, it is time to move on from romance and family socials and do something on these lines,” said Roshan, also the film’s story writer.

Koi... Mil Gaya is about a mischievous, mentally-challenged teen whose life is transformed after an encounter with an alien.

According to Roshan, his biggest challenge was making the alien work to his directions. “After all, when you are working with a mechanical gadget, you cannot explain or scold it,” the director said.

James Colmer of Bimmini Special FX, Australia, designed the alien in eight months.

The film is being promoted as “India’s first science fiction film and, perhaps, the world’s first science fiction musical”.

But earlier this year, a Bengali sci-fi feature, Patalghar, had made its debut. Slickly made with world-class production values, the film is now said to be subtitled/dubbed for a global release.

Way back in 1967, Bollywood character actor .A. Ansari had produced and directed Wahan Ke Log, which dealt with extra-terrestrials. The low-budget feature, with music by C. Ramachandra and starring Pradeep Kumar, Tanuja, Bela Bose and Johnny Walker, had advertised itself with the blurb: “The strange visitors from Mars are on the way.”

The same year, Dara Singh, Ratna and Helen starred in Trip to Moon, with music composed by Usha Khanna. Though these were C-grade films, they were still humble attempts at sci-fi, Bollywood style.

Koi... Mil Gaya, however, is lavishly mounted and shot in Nainital, Bhimtal and Canada.

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