Bollywood song-and-dance meets robots and aliens. How can that not rule? If Shekhar Kapur's Time Machine finally gets made, it'll be part of a bold new wave of Bollywood science fiction. Including Indian superhero Krrish, fighting a motorcycle gang in the clip above. We have full details on Krrish and four other awesome Bollywood scifi movies.
Mr. India (1987). A cheesy sci-fi comedy with song-and-dance numbers. Arun discovers his scientist dad created a special wristband that turns the wearer invisible. He uses this to stop the mad genius Mogambo, who wants to take over India. (Mogambo's evil schemes weirdly include cutting off Arun's line of credit at the grocery store, but also launching nuclear missiles at India.) Here's a clip that shows Mogambo's evil lair and his giant gold epaulets:
Kol... Mil Gaya (2003). Maybe the most famous Bollywood science fiction film ever. An ET-esque alien named Jadoo befriends a mentally challenged boy and cures him. But then it turns out the alien's spaceship crash actually killed the kid's father. Here's one of the song-and-dance sequences involving Jadoo (wearing an orange hoodie and bling around his neck.) The little Kraftwerk sample gets bonus points:
Krrish (2006) is a quasi-sequel to Kol... Mil Gaya, about a small-town kid who gets superpowers and fights evil. It uses many of the superhero conventions, including the secret identity and the nosy girl reporter.
We're anxiously awaiting 2008's Love Story 2050, which takes place partly in a dark future Mumbai and partly in the present day. The future Mumbai will be mostly CGI, but the film will also feature an animatronic character, a robot named Boo. And lead actor Harman Bajewa learned Parkour, the art of jumping from rooftop to rooftop, for the movie.
Also fervently awaited: S. Shankar's Robot, starring South India's darling Rajnikanth. It'll have a billion-rupee budget and tons of special effects. It's the story of a scientist who creates a robot companion for his disabled child. But the robot goes berserk and starts killing people. Like robots always do.
India hasn't produced much original science fiction in the past, but there are two reasons why India will rule the genre in the future. First, India is ground zero for computer animation and special effects. There were only 27,000 professionals working in computer animation in India in 2001, but there will be 300,000 people in the industry in 2008. Also, Bollywood films have always had extensive "fantasy sequences" where realism suddenly goes out the window and bizarre stunts happen. Just imagine if some of that same cinematic language gets applied to science fiction.