Anyone wonder why superhero movies aren’t a big thing in Bollywood? (The Indian Film Industry, for those who hate the plagiarised term) You’d be surprised to know that some of the biggest and most high-budget movies are in fact, superhero movies! Confused? Well then, put aside the image of the spandex-clad brightly coloured do-gooders that is in your head (It’s Superman, isn’t it?).
Bollywood has a different definition for what a superhero really is – ours is the common man. Indian superheroes (mostly) come in three forms –
- The only just police officer in the world
- A gritty honest and often innocent young army cadet/officer
- The Mango Man, tired of oppression and having inhuman determination and single-minded focus.
Why are they superheroes? You only have to watch any scene involving them to find out. If it’s a dialogue, it will eventually end in our guy delivering a diatribe which will leave everyone in the room speechless, especially the main recipient of the verbal attack, who will be left open-mouthed and stunned in some form. Our hero will then proceed to turn around and walk out, with the optional additional enhancements of delivering a catchphrase and slowing down time. You might also be lucky enough to bear witness to high-octane theme songs playing as they proceed to their next location to leave someone else dumbfounded. If it’s a more action oriented scene, you might see any or all of three major superpowers:
- Super strength, so that no physical attacks work on them and single thrusts, punches or kicks send goons spinning through the air faster than a Starmie on steroids.
- Kenbunshuko Haki so that no bullets hit them, and they can predict attacks from behind with impossible accuracy.
- Super Gun Affinity, including impeccable aim and infinite ammo.
That’s pretty much the day’s routine – speech, speech, action at 11 am, speech, some stealth to switch things up, action at 6 pm and then back home to woo the missus. Indian movies (not just Bollywood) have a plethora of such superheroes who share from a finite set of such superpowers. They even get mighty innovative with the daring stunts that they do, and are fully backed by their writers and directors. Flying through the air to break an enemy’s body and spirit is common. Hitting your enemy hard enough to send them airborne too, and sometimes catching them while they are airborne and violently changing their direction, inertia be damned. Vehicular stunts are daily occurences. And then there is this:
And then there is creating gusts with your feet:
And the aforementioned super strength:
I really liked Singham (that last one) though. Trashy action and over-the-top theatrics aside, it had a great message of respecting the police and letting them do their job.
Even in general though, I love movies like these. I love we-don’t-give-a-fudge our-hero-will-win movies that take a dump on physics and common sense and switch them out for intense feelings of patriotism, bravery, strength and integrity. Why do I love them? Because I am the type of person who thinks too much and puts himself into bouts of sadness and loneliness and other deep feelings. 😛
These type of movies are meant to entertain the masses, and I enjoy putting my brain on standby to watch feats of great daring and strength. I admire the insane confidence these guys in such movies have – sometimes that is all you need. It makes me feel better about facing my own problems, and helping others with theirs. It helps me get out of my own head. Most importantly, it helps me believe in a better world where we are in charge of our own fates, and we that we will prevail in the end. Maybe Bollywood is the unforeseen ideal caterer to the hungry parts of my psychological build. Maybe Bollywood movies stand to simplify the world for my own doubting self – that just cultivating the will to do things will help me lead a happier and more fulfilling life. It shows me my would-be role models – confident go-getters who break everything and everyone in their path to justice/happiness/duty/salvation.
With that in mind, let us go watch the 4 millionth repeat telecast of Meri Jung: One Man Army on the Sony Set Max television channel.
Or you could read my other stuff in the Library or the related posts below. 🙂 Thank you for your likes and comments below, and thanks for reading!
Mango Man is a play on words and a direct translation of aam aadmi, i.e. common man, wherein the word aam means both common and mango.
Please. For the last time, dialogue means a talk between two people, not a single impactful line by a person.
 What up, One Piece reference?!
 What up, ||superwoman|| reference?!
 Likes and shares are nice, but I what I really want is comments. As you can see, there are large gaps of time in between successive posts on my blog, and it is because I’m not motivated enough to continue writing. Help me out, tell me what you think. 🙂