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Read. Suffer. Try to Enjoy.

Of Birds, Planes And Men

Finally got around to watching Krrish a couple of weeks back (REALLY early to blog about it, I know…). Part of me was happy with the special FX, which are waaaaaay above the usual Bollywood standards (think of Jaani Dushman – the new one and Haatimtai in equal measures). What sucked big time was the ‘love story’ track, which actually forms the bigger part of the entire movie, ultimately devolving into a super-gooey, tear-your-hair-out kind of maudlin Bollywood romance, which is nothing you haven’t seen before. A straight lift from the Hemant Birje classic, Tarzan, if you please.

What’s my beef with the movie? It was an opportunity wasted. Period. Here was a budget that was crying like Sania Mirza’s sponsors to be made into a far better movie than the end result. Hell, this post is made even more ironic by the fact that it’s been one of the biggest blockbusters ever in Bollywood. Ever.

All this takes me back to whole concept of the Indian superhero as we know it. All of them so far have been singularly, irrefutably campy. Right from a bad rip off of Superman (starring Puneet Issar and Dharmendra) to Mahabali Shaka (The Phantom revisited – panel by panel, with the best part was that his punches left permanent snake marks on the victim’s point of impact), to Agniputra Abhay to Nagraj to Shaktimaan (ABSOLUTELY no snarky comments there, I’m a HUGE Mukesh Khanna fan). There’s been no genuinely classy Indian superhero thus far.

Sure, some have had an Indian connection (The Phantom for instance), but the closest we’ve got to some decency is Bahadur from the erstwhile Indrajal Comics stable. Then again, he’s not a superhero. He was just a hero.
This obviously does not take into account our rich mythology, and I am talking purely from the pop culture phenomenon.

But the thing that made me get that (unmentionably) warm, good-to-be-Indian feeling was the proposed Indianization of the Spiderman series – Peter Parker was to become Pavitr Prabhakar (full marks there. Very clever. ****ing A in fact.) and (surprise, surprise) his costume was altered to make it a dhoti, and he’s shown to be wearing Jaipuri mojdis. Like that’s what ****ing exactly what a young Indian boy in Mumbai would wear. Hell, even beggars wear pants here. Plus he’d get to fight an Indian villain, intriguingly named ‘Rakshasa’. This promises to be a collector’s item.

Given all this, Krrish could have done something different. But hey…

We could have had a fantastic character like the Dark Knight himself…tormented, brooding, mysterious. Instead of the happy, always ready to dance, bholu character. Happy superheroes somehow don’t quite sound convincing, do they?

Mumbai has a fantastic skyline, which could have been exploited brilliantly. With both beauty as well as gut-wrenching monstrosities. Singapore looks great and all that, but hell, this was an Indian superhero.

Think about what all could have been…

  • Krrish giving wedgies to errant road contractors at first, and then anally impaling them if they didn’t do their job. But even this wouldn’t really change things much. Ultimately, he’d have to build all the roads himself. (Material sourcing would be a big problem for him though…he’s a superhuman being, not super rich, right?)
  • Krrish having to airlift ambulances to hospitals for the simple fact that they usually get stuck bleating like manic sheep right in the middle of traffic (Dedicated lanes did I hear you say? Right of way too? Tee hee hee.)
  • Krrish having to eradicate mosquitoes, and clean up garbage. For the simple fact that in order to step up to first world status, we must first eradicate third world diseases. (Dengue fever sounds so… what’s the right word? Native?)
  • Krissh somehow, **** knows how, stopping farmers from killing themselves in Vidarbha, in spite of munificent Central Government grants. (Not Mumbai-centric this, but it has really become an issue as mysterious as the beginning of the universe. Hence the superhero solution.)
  • Krrish being on total standby every monsoon here in Mumbai, to help suck out all the wonderful clogged water, and yes a little spot of airlifting wouldn’t hurt either.
  • Krrish somehow making cellular and fixed telephones work in times of disasters/emergencies by keeping them from collapsing due to ‘all users logging on at once’.
  • Krrish somehow bending the basic laws of Physics to ensure that suburban rail commutes are not daily tests of your animal will to survive and exist.
  • Krrish helping out BIG TIME with the slum rehabilitation schemes here, and finally figuring out how to come up with cheap housing guidelines. While he’s at it, he could improve rural conditions countrywide, so that fewer people are tempted to migrate to urban areas to live like animals. And actually feel that the life they lead here is better than their rural setups.
All in all, a very dangerous storyline to tread as you can see. There would have been just too many expectations from a Mumbai based superhuman being. He would have made everybody’s life a little easier (the governing bodies included). But at what cost? The tip of the expectational iceberg would have just kept getting bigger and bigger (make that exponential). Till he would have turned positively suicidal.

Now you know why the movie had the kind of plot it did.
I kinda understand.
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12:29 PM, October 30, 2006
Blogger GuNs said...

You dont need a superhero. What you need is a Dictator !!

But frankly. With all the problems that India is facing right now, I think a democracy is inadequate - furthermore a democracy led by a dumb piece of crap called Manmohan Singh. I bet hes the worst PM we have ever had.


4:09 AM, October 31, 2006
Blogger Nachowski said...

No snarky comments there, eh? You'd better not mess with Shaktimaan... Didn't you know that Shaktimaan is so fast, he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head?    

3:44 AM, November 01, 2006
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I don't know how much of a quintessential superhero he is, but according to me, 'Mr India' (i love the movie!), was in a way Bollywood's answer to International superheroes who with stylish costumes, capes and hi-fi gadgets fought crime.
On a different note, I really like the way you write...you have an interesting way of putting things across.    

3:22 AM, November 07, 2006
Anonymous Shashank Mayya said...

One of the greatest super heroes to grace the indian screens is apna mithunda.....he is secure about his identity, does not hide in a batcave (can be found easily in ooty), does not require specialized gadgets, and is not born with a silver spoon...(he usually a coolie, taxi driver etc...)
But most importantly, he does not fight against cartoonish super villians but real life villians such as ganglords, rapists and evil chakkas.....    

1:26 PM, December 22, 2006
Blogger arpana said...

lols .. nice review :)    

6:39 PM, May 22, 2008
Blogger Rach said...

hehehe.... loved the review... the sarcastic undertones included!!

Good writing! (btw, found ur blog link while searching for a mithunda's movie song :| :P)    

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