This desi superhero

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SummaryThe stage is now set for a battle of epic proportions.

The stage is now set for a battle of epic proportions.

Truth is ugly. We have art so as not to perish from the truth,Ē said Nietzsche, upholder of different critiques of morality. As Krrish 3 flies forward breaking one box-office record after another ó Rs 166.42 crore (plus 36 crore from worldwide collections) mopped up within a week ó one canít help but wonder about the harsh truth, whether of the drudgery of our humdrum lives or individual helplessness when confronted with the forces of nature or the powers that be, that superhero films, the ultimate human fantasy, save us from.

Critics have often pointed out that Hindi films donít need superheroes; after all, the hero in mainstream Indian films, particularly Hindi movies, is quite the supernatural wonder. He can single-handedly beat a dozen goondas, shake a leg, crack a few jokes and even win over the fair maiden. And all this without a suit designed to combat an entire army! Letís face it, if comparisons were to be drawn, Chulbul Pandey or Vijay (aka the angry young man) could certainly score over Iron Man, Hulk or Spiderman.

To trace the rise of superheroes in our films, it would help to go back a little in time. While the seeds were sown in the angry young man of the 1970s, there was no formal separation of the human from the superhuman. Instead, it was the human and the divine. So, in the battle of good versus evil, good triumphed. Always. Quite like it is in superhero films. The only difference here was that in the absence of that miraculous super-suit, the good guy, when he needed a leg-up on the villain, had to rely on divine intervention. For instance, in a fight scene where the hero was outnumbered by the baddies, his motherís prayers would ensure that he gained inexplicable strength, or the cops would miraculously arrive in time or some such.

Also the battles being fought were largely personal. The hero was out to avenge a fatherís murder, a motherís humiliation or injustice against the oppressed and weak. But globalisation has changed those cinematic scenarios at several levels. For one, it has changed the face of evil. So, while a hero alone may have been adequate to deal with a dreaded dacoit, a smuggler, an oppressive zamindar or a devious politician, he is no match for the faceless global terrorist networks

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