Holy Bollywood, Batman!

Bollywood has been accused of many crimes – plagiarism, nepotism, favouritism, abject lack of talent/ storylines/ hygiene, animal rights violation, human rights violation, making Govinda/ Kangana Ranaut/ Deepika Padukone speak English, over-lavish dance sequences taking up half the production budget, starry airs, starry heirs, starry heirs taking up half the production budget, lack of realism, Akshay Kumar movies, Akshay Kumar, overt branding in movies, milking of the religion-oriented while making shoddily animated movies, bad special effects, bad regular effects, the banal existence of playback singing, plagiarism and the same fucking sets from film city. (I am talking to YOU, temple!)

Yes, YOU!

And most of these allegations are true. (And by most, I mean all.)
But can I daresay that Bollywood has not given hope, joy and masturbatory material to our noble countrymen? Can I say that Bollywood has not inspired many a commonfolk to become smugglers and drug peddlers? And most importantly, can I daresay that Bollywood is a murky, talentless, dynastic cesspool of Mahabharata proportions?
I can say the last part.

But the one thing that Bollywood has given its simple audience is the possibility of a hero. An archetypical idol. A demigod. A prima donna. A big ‘un. A gallant exemplar.


Come to think of it, Bollywood calls its actors, heroes and the actresses, heroines – which other than being abyssmally sad, is also true.

These assholes know what I'm sayin'.

Sure, B-wood has its “heroes” – but does it have superheroes?
And no, Krrish and Drona don’t count. They don’t even say their alphabets properly.
And just when you think that this is a new jig for Bollywood and it is impotent in the superhero scheme of things, I give you the three most badass-est superheroes to ever exist (in Bollywoodland):

1. Shehenshah

At first glance, Shehenshah is a chain-mail wearing old man with a rope and possible incontinence. But a deeper introspection leads us to believe that he is actually a teleporting, lean-mean social upliftment machine! From the video, we learn that he has a dowry harassment radar with which he can promptly (even with his snail-slow pace) appear and save the day by:
A. Dousing the flames of the victim
B. In all his uber-magnificent awesomeness, makes the culprits realise their folly and face redemption just by ‘pedo-staring’ at them.
It is also to be noted that this happens in pre-liberalization, socialist India. So after walking aimlessly for a mile, he beats up the capitalist beggar mafia (damn, this never-ending Slumdog frenzy!) and social change happens (again!).
Then he walks, slowly, into what appears to be a dead-end with a smoke machine.

Origins: Daddy killed. Boo-hoo. Must become superhero using bribe money to fund my geriatric escapades.

Abilities: Teleportation/ Time manipulation (how else would he show up anywhere on time?), ability to produce blankets at will, social change.

What’s so badass about him?
The hand jerks (with the chain-mail arm) – I mean, what’s more badass than a guy who makes rattling-chain noises at will? Senior citizens, apparently. Old people are creepy and Shehenshah knows it! Batman thought bats creep criminals out. But the sheer scale of terror that is the senior citizen… Nowhere even close to a measly bat! Add to the fact that his superhero name sounds like the name of a Gujju stockbroker.

Pictured: Sheer Terror

Superhero counterpart: The Punisher running into your Grandpa at 20000 kmph.

2. Toofan

Toofan was born to a magician along with his twin brother but he was separately adopted by a police officer friend of his father who was further killed by a villain named Shaitan Singh (Let’s face it, after you name your kid ‘Shaitan’, you have inadvertently doomed him to a life of crime, satanic rituals and Teletubbies). Okay, maybe this movie wasn’t all about plotlines and scriptwriting.

Teletubbies, right after they gulped the Beatles whole.

Origins: Young Toofan prays to the monkey-god Hanuman to help him find his step-dad’s killers. He gets superpowers. Simple. Who needs radioactive spiders and genetic mutations when you have god, right?

Abilities: Crossbow wielding, can manipulate the weather (and by that we mean – can cause strong breezes) and horse riding. Basically, except the weather part, all his ‘super powers’ can be learnt in hobby classes.

What’s so badass about him?
Toofan kills. Yes, superhero codes of conduct be damned, Toofan kills on personal vendettas with godgiven powers. Notice now he kills his disabled adversary with as much remorse as a suicide-bomber. Now there’s a superhero all psychopaths, politicians and Rahul Mahajans can relate with!

Superhero Counterpart: Green Arrow tries to teleport while a Khaitan fan enters the teleportation chamber with undesirable results.

3. Shiva Ka Insaaf

After his parents are killed-off by a random bugger, young Bhola is trained by the super-secular trio of Ram, Rahim and Robert – only to don the super-secular superhero name – ‘Shiva’. He is somehow granted unexplained superpowers and a sense of fashion that can be rivalled only by that of Sir/ Lady Gaga. The video is but a mere glimpse of the kiddie-movie hell that Jackie Shroff would go through in the coming years.

One right career move and a midget wouldn't have been humping his leg years later.

Origins: Orphaned Bhola is trained by Ram, Rahim and Robert (Because Amar, Akbar and Anthony were too busy training Nagraj) only to somehow gain typical deus-ex-machina superpowers.

Abilities: Having a free pass to Appu Ghar and mass pedophilia.

What’s so badass about him? First things first, ‘Shiva ka Insaaf’ was India’s first 3D movie in Hindi. That would explain the thrusting of objects on the screen – thus, dispelling myths about the movie being India’s first bukake movie in Hindi.

Suck on that, Avatar!

Also, you try to roam around the city wearing that costume. Try it. I dare you.

Superhero Counterpart: KRK and Zorro have a brief clandestine affair.

There are obviously many more of these marvels – ranging from a host of invisible men (Mr. X, Elaan and later, Mr. India) to just plain ‘being Dharmendra’ (yes, it was a superpower back in the 80s). The new crop of Bolly heroes doesn’t seem to do justice to their legacy. But the worst was over with Drona, right?

Think again.


6 Responses to “Holy Bollywood, Batman!”

    • I saw this beauty on DD3 – Movietime, around 14 years ago. I hadn’t seen the original Superman then. So I assumed that this was the original.

      You know, that kind of explains my messed up childhood.

  1. Toofan = Supremo

    Shiva ka Insaaf is a revelation. I thank you.

  2. Fun fact: Supremo’s alter-ego is Amitabh Bachhan himself. The comic would’ve been a huger hit had it not been for the ‘extra-punched-Bachhan-in-the-guts-he-now-be-hospitalised-fighting-for-his-life’ scenario.

  3. Might want to update this one. This list is incomplete without Himesh and (now) Sukhwinder Singh. Even though theyre not “superheroes” per se and a lot more mainstream.

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