Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Krrish from Bollywood

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The Independent Online

India got its first ever homegrown superhero this week, in the form of Krrish, Bollywood's answer to Superman - an Indian with remarkable powers who travels to Singapore, saves the world from a mad scientist, gets the girl (played by the luscious Priyanka Chopra, right) and regularly breaks into song and dance numbers.

The opening of Krrish in cinemas on Friday attracted extraordinary attention, with India's 24-hour news channels giving over entire evenings of broadcasting to preview the movie.

It was all too much for one fan, a hotel worker now in hospital in Delhi with multiple fractures after he got so excited during the movie that he leapt from the balcony to the stalls beneath in an attempt to emulate the on-screen stunts of actor Hrithik Roshan.

Bollywood movies have always had a touch of the superhero about them; they are full of improbable scenes in which the hero single-handedly defeats a dozen armed men. But Krrish is the first Superman-style superhero: a being gifted with extraordinary powers and a ridiculous costume.

In fact Krrish is more a mix of Superman and Spiderman. Like Superman he is so strong he can leap over buildings; like Spiderman he can climb them. His costume - ill-advised given the heat in India and Singapore, where the movie is set - is made of black leather, complete with a face-mask.

Krrish is the work of Rakesh Roshan, a major Bollywood director who is at the vanguard of attempts to emulate Hollywood. Keeping it in the family, he cast his son, Hrithik - a major star in his own right - as Krrish.

The film is a sequel to Roshan's 2003 hit Koi Mil Gaya, India's first science fiction movie (influenced by ET, even down to the alien with glowing finger) which gave extraordinary powers to Rohit, an ordinary Indian. Krrish is the story of Rohit's son, Krishna, born with even more remarkable powers.

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