This is partly inspired by a review that accessbollywood just posted of all the new heroes launched in the past few years and how Tiger Shroff compares now that his 3rd film is releasing. I mean, it’s a totally different topic, but I am stealing her idea of using this new release as an excuse to look back at previous similar films.
First, a disclaimer: The general hero-with-a-secret-identity-and-sometimes-special-powers genre was, until recently, more of a B movie thing in India. Which means these films were ignored in most official histories (not all of them, read Rosie Thomas’ Bombay Before Bollywood! She is AWESOME and does an amazing job trying to return these films to their rightful place), and more importantly for me, they are very very hard to find and watch. So, I am not including things like Hunterwali or the various John Cawas jungle hero pictures or the Shaktimaan TV show. But, if you have stories or clips or anything from things like that, please share them in the comments!
1. I’m going to go ahead and start the recent masked hero trend with Shahenshah. A ridiculous movie, that featured a wonderfully recognizable costume.
2. Shahenshah was successful, as most Amitabh movies still were at that point, but it didn’t come close to the all ages appeal and all-time-classic standing of Mr. India! Although, tragically, Anil Kapoor’s superhero costume is much less impressive.
(really, a soft-brimmed hat, a jacket, and a watch? Besides being a very cheap Halloween costume, what is the advantage)
3. I am tempted to include the Khiladi films, but I don’t think those really fit the “secret-identity-do-gooder” description. Which means I have to jump all the way ahead to Krrish (if I am forgetting something, again, let me know in the comments!). Now, Krrish is not the greatest movie, and it doesn’t have the best songs, but even a weak Hrithik song is still a Hrithik song.
(Also, “Great Bombay Circus”? Are they a local branch of Aamir’s “Great Indian Circus” from Dhoom 3?)
4. Right after Krrish, a movie that has almost nothing else in common with it, but Honeymoon Travels Pvt Limited, that interesting oddball character study film, also has superheroes!
5. Finally! A Khan! Shahrukh made his own hero attempt with Ra.One. Which I loved, even if no one else did. And you have to admit, the songs are super good!
6. And after the brief Shahrukh interregnum, back to Hrithik in the inexplicably numbered Krrish 3!
7. And now The Flying Jatt! Probably not as important as Mr. India, or even Shahenshah or Ra.One. But at least it’s better than Krrish 3!
PS Okay, I found the Shaktimaan theme song on youtube, and it is too good to resist, even though I have nothing interesting to say about it!