Critics have often pointed out that Hindi films don’t 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! Let’s 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.
However, to combat the evil network that employs devious methods of conquest and control, the Hindi film hero has been nudged out of his comfort zone. Given the altered new world order in reality, a full-blown desi superhero like Krrish or even G.One (the good guy from Ra.One) is an idea whose time has come.
The box-office collection of Krrish 3 is proof of this progression of thought, brought about in no small measure by improved cinematic technology, a greater comprehension of what science can do and the Hollywood influence.
The success of Krrish 3 also mirrors the evolution of our cinema over the last 100 years, with lines between parallel and mainstream films blurring. The rise of new media in the form of internet and gaming is a major influencer and has added another layer to the movie-making business. Increasingly, formula films like Dabangg are in a happy co-existence with new age, urbane films like Wake Up Sid, or eclectic ones like The Ship of Theseus, besides the newly spawned genre of superhero flicks. A fallout of this multiple categorisation of f
ilms is the much diminished power of the Hindi film hero as we knew him and the rise of the desi superhero.
So even the bone-crunching protagonist in formula films like Dabangg or Singham is at best equipped to wipe out crime and corruption at the mofussil level. Krrish, on the other hand does not merely protect his pregnant wife and genius father; quite like Peter Parker’s Spiderman, while at it, he is also saving the world from Kaal’s extraordinary evil genius. The stage is thus set for a battle of epic proportions that requires nothing less than a superhero to win it. Hrithik Roshan kitted out in his sleek black ensemble and the zig-zag lightning mask assures a child that there is a Krrish in everyone. All you have to do is channel your good side to turn into a superhero, he says. If only it was that simple. Fact of the matter is, besides the onus of saving the world, what sets a superhero apart from the regular hero is the costume, the gadgetry, extraordinary war-winning powers, and an unprecedented adventure.
“With great power comes great responsibility” goes the immortal superhero line from Spiderman. Well, now that Bollywood has channelled its superhero capabilities with much success, the industry needs to ensure that our desi brand of superhero keeps flying high, at par with his international counterparts.