Superhero movies are among the most-watched around the globe, with the likes of Superman, Batman and Spiderman having donned our screens throughout our childhoods and now our adult lives too. They’re the kind of movies you never seem to grow out of, taking you back to those days in the house when you used to run around with a bed sheet strapped to your back as a makeshift cape and spending your school art and craft lessons making a mask out of papier-mâché.
The one thing you never really hear of, however, is a superhero that has come from Bollywood. Instead, they all seem to come from the United States and pop up all over the world saving planet Earth from destruction. That doesn’t mean that Bollywood hasn’t tried to bring their own range of superheroes into our lives though. You only have to search through sites like Erosnow.com to find tons of them, it’s just that they haven’t captured our imaginations in the same way that the Marvel and DC franchises have for example.
One reason for this could be that the industry is just so saturated with superhero movies that the Bollywood efforts haven’t been able to break through. It seems as though every couple of months we see trailers in the cinema or advertisements on our televisions for the latest instalment of one of our famous and much-loved caped crusaders, or a re-make of one of the classics from our childhood.
In one respect, Bollywood has done well to stand back from the crowd to avoid spending millions on movies that people just won’t see because they’re in direct competition with the public’s favourites; but on the other hand if you never dip your toe into the water, you’re never going to know just how successful it could be.
When they have given it a go, it’s certainly been somewhat hit-and-miss with plenty of mixed reviews. Some have gone down tremendously well with the Indian public, while others have flopped. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest and best of the Bollywood superheroes:
- Krrish. This was the second movie in the trilogy (so far), and followed on from the successful Koi… Mil Gaya released in 2003 which was described as “the birth” of the superhero. Krrish, released in 2006, has been described as Bollywood’s first genuine superhero film, something that star Hrithik Roshan debated with journalists at the press release for the new Krrish 3. He said that “we had to build our superhero from scratch, and it looks like so far so good”, with fans giving it rave reviews when it was released at the end of 2013.
- G.One. Played by Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, G.One is the star of the film Ra.One released in 2011. With distinctive blue eyes to portray ‘the power of life’ and the character as ‘electric’, G.One is a character in a game destined to stop Ra.One who jumps out of the game to kill one of the players, Akashi, and latterly Shekhar. It is down to G.One to stop him from killing anyone else.
- Toofan. One of the earliest ‘superhero’ movies from Bollywood but not really classed in the same bracket as Marvel creation or even Krrish and G.One. The 1989 film stars Amitabh Bachchan who uses his magic as a weapon, alongside his on-screen twin brother Ketan Desai, who uses a crossbow. All kinds of fights occur throughout the film and the brothers are forced to use their own unique skills to counter them with Toofan aiming to avenge the death of his father.
- Mr India. Another superhero/fantasy film from the late 1980s, Mr India stars Anil Kapoor and has become a cult classic in India producing some of the best lines, songs and characters in Indian cinema. Mr India develops invisibility and attempts to fight crime.
One of the newest additions to the Bollywood range of superheroes is Chakra. The creation of comic book legend Stan Lee who has created Hollywood stars including Spiderman and Iron Man, in a collaboration with Digital India and Cartoon Network. The film tells the story of Raju Rai, a boy from Mumbai, and a scientist Dr Singh, who create a suit that will give Raju super powers, turning him into Chakra. The film was released at the end of 2013 with great success and has been turned into a cartoon television series; showing that Indian cinema can indeed make a superhero film even if they haven’t reached the heights of Stan Lee’s previous creations. Yet.