With the arrival of The Flying Jatt, starring Tiger Shroff and directed by Remo D’souza, the Indian superhero movie genre seems set to be shaken up and stirred once again. We go down memory lane in this article to visit some of our dear superheroes from the years past whose stories Bollywood has told.
Choreographer-turned-director Remo D’souza, who directed the Bollywood blockbuster of 2015, ABCD 2 (that’s Anybody Can Dance 2), is now back with a campy superhero flick called The Flying Jatt, starring Tiger Shroff in the lead. Jacqueline Fernandez is playing his lady love, and in typical desi superhero fashion, our flying Jatt can do comedy, dance, stunts, fight and superhero stuff with equal panache.
On this happy occasion, we thought it would be improper of us not to pay homage to some of our other Bollywood superheroes.
Perhaps the only superhero story to come out of India that is not unintentionally funny, Mr India tells the story of an average Joe who finds a watch-like-contraption to be worn on the wrist that will make him invisible. This is also a movie that fielded a great villain in Mogambo (played memorably by Amrish Puri) and a wonderful heroine in Sridevi. The superpower is also nothing complicated. The wearer of a watch just becomes invisible. Simple.
Before all the superhero movies of the nineties, there was Ajooba, in which Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor both gave perhaps the most listless performances of their respective careers. This movie was a cross between Alif Laila and a Hollywood superhero movie, featuring Amitabh Bachchan as a secret masked bowman on a horse shooting down bad guys. There are references to the Arabian Nights and to the Arthur legend with a sword in the stone and so forth, but all of that couldn’t save this film at the box office.
Jeetendra dons the role of Hatim Tai in this fantasy caper, which airs still today on Indian television channels. Hatim, a legendary chief of a small district, known for his generosity, wisdom and courage (and good looks; can’t have a superhero without good looks), takes on seven great quests in order to rid a maiden of a curse. In equal parts funny, surprising and riddled with what-the-hell moments, Hatim Tai is another superhero of Bollywood that doesn’t have the word ‘defeat’ in his dictionary.
Shah Rukh Khan became Ra.One in 2011, with Arjun Rampal playing the super villain and Kareena Kapoor playing SRK’s leading lady. Video games and virtual reality clash with real events in this science fiction movie, where a game designer’s alter ego becomes a superhero. The main power of the superhero is shape-shifting, but he also has other qualities such as increased speed, higher sensory awareness etc. This is more a Frankenstein’s monster movie rather than a superhero movie, but that’s okay.
Hrithik Roshan played a mentally challenged character in Koi Mil Gaya, where an alien, Jadoo, gives him some superpowers as a parting gift. In the sequels, Krrish and Krrish 2, Hrithik reprises his role as the son of the original character, now endowed with the superpowers that Jadoo left behind. What Krrish can and cannot do is still up for debate, but for now he can fly, run very fast, is built like a chiselled bronze statue, and can dance like a dream.