Watching trailers of Dark Knight, a question crossed my mind. Can Bollywood make a movie or have a Superhero like a Batman or a Superman?
Well, the very question might seem absurd to many Bollywood fans reading this post and many more might rubbish the idea. But having said that, Bollywood did take a shot at making a movie on the lines of Superman, which had actor Dharmendra playing Superman! I found another one with actor Govinda flying or rather floating in the air. One look at the clip and you know that it is hilarious! And to say the least, it was nowhere ( even miles ) close to the Hollywood version of Superman!
So when one thinks about the reason as to why a Superman or a Batman is accepted in Hollywood while their so-called ‘avatars’ struggle in Bollywood? Reasons may be many both on the side of the movie makes and the audience.
Come to think of it, Superheroes such as Batman and Superman were created with DC comics with Batman being created as early as 1939. And having created a reader base graduated to the celluloid. So, it could be understood that is over the years that these superheroes have evolved and been accepted. After comics, Batman was made for the small screen with Adam West playing the Caped Crusader with his batmobile spitting fire!!
Going on the lines of comics, Diamond comics is one of the largest comics sellers but its repertoire has the likes of Chacha Chaudhary * Saaboo, Biloo, Shaktimaan and their likes (http://www.diamondcomic.com). Though Chacha Chaudhary was made into a serial for television, the characters apart from Shaktimaan from this publishing house do not have superheroes. However, another comics house Raj Comics though has a few heroes such as Parmaanu and Nagraj ( http://www.rajcomics.com/joomla/) but the readership of these comics is limited to certain geographies in the country mainly north. As a result of which they might not able to score on the acceptability factor as far as a mass audience goes like a Spiderman or a Superman.
Coming to the more pragmatic aspect, why would a Superman or a Batman find it difficult to be received popularly. First things first, these characters have not been created here, so, it would take maybe some other Indianised hero to become popular and gain acceptance.
As mentioned, at the level of the director and script, a script to get a superhero who is emotionally entwined emotionally between his life and his commitment towards society. But for an audience which is tuned to seeing their heroes dance with an actress behind trees, a serious character who broods and bleeds, it would require some makeover from the conventional portrayal. This might be one of the reasons, ‘Krissh’, a Bollywood superhero of sorts was suited to do all the dancing and singing along with the heroic acts!
Going by the audience, Krissh was received well by the teenagers and children. This could turn out to be a drawback for a superhero to be made into a Bollywood movie as the audience would be limited to a set of people like children or teenagers. Coming to the aspect of making a movie, the visual effects, the technology, and other such factors go, Bollywood has still a lot of catching up with Hollywood. A ‘lag’ in these aspects trivializes whatever attempts are made in this direction by directors in Bollywood!
In a way, it would be unfair to think of the likes of a Superman or a Batman in terms of Bollywood, but one could think that this formula might work provided the Superhero is customized to the Bollywood formula – one where heroes sing, dance, romance and fight with equal felicity!