Being the biggest film industry in the country, Bollywood has often been criticized for not making or bringing fresh or original content for cinema lovers. In the last 4 or 5 years, Bollywood has heavily relied on remakes of which, some of the films have attracted audiences while some have failed to make a mark.
However, things are going to be a lot different in the upcoming years as Bollywood is pulling all stops with mega-budget announcements, to woo fans back to the theaters. Amidst the big announcements, the genre that has attracted trade analysts the most is the superhero which Bollywood hasn't explored much apart from a few failed attempts in the past.
The genre is not exactly new though. Hrithik Roshan did star in the "Krrish" films. But at no point in time has the Hindi film industry got into making so many superhero flicks at the same time as now. Trade analysts see it as a good trend, especially in these times when theatres are trying to pull the audience back amid the pandemic.
According to trade analyst, Taran Adarsh, "It's a great trend. We should make all kinds of films. When we talk of movies in today's time, we often complain that Hindi films don't have originality. They repeat themselves. This (superhero genre) is something that has not been exploited to the hilt. I think it's a step in the right direction", he told IANS.
A huge revenue in this genre generated through Hollywood films which have a big influence on the Indian audience. Global blockbusters as "The Dark Knight" series", the "Avengers" films, "Black Panther", "Wonder Woman", "Captain America: Civil War", and "Justice League" among others set the cash registers ringing in India. With more films like "Black Widow", "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" and the third part of "Spider-Man" lined up for release, the genre is alive and kicking in Hollywood. Bollywood had to take a cue.
Actor Vicky Kaushal recently got fans excited when he officially announced a new sci-fi superhero film with his "Uri: The Surgical Strike" director Aditya Dhar, and also shared posters of the film, titled "The Immortal Ashwatthama". Set around the contemporary times and modeled around Guru Dronacharya's son Ashwatthama, who in Mahabharata gets the curse to be immortal, Vicky Kaushal will play the character of Ashwatthama.
This isn't the only Bollywood superhero film in the making right now. Among films already on the floor is Ayan Mukerji's mega-budget "Brahmastra", which will reportedly have actor Ranbir Kapoor playing a man with special powers. The film also boasts of Amitabh Bachchan, Alia Bhatt, Nagarjuna, and Mouni Roy in the cast.
Hrithik masks up again, too, in "Krrish 4". The hit franchise began in 2003 with "Koi... Mil Gaya", followed by "Krrish" (2006) and "Krrish 3" (2013). According to director Rakesh Roshan, the film was set for a Christmas 2020 release before the pandemic halted all the plans. However, following the Covid pandemic, the film is yet to hit the screens anytime soon.
Filmmaker Ali Abbas Zafar, who has helmed blockbusters like "Sultan" and "Tiger Zinda Hai", has planned a superhero universe
. While one of his films will star Katrina Kaif, his "Mr. India" will be set in a relevant and contemporary superhero world.
In July 2020, filmmaker Sanjay Gupta tweeted that he had started scripting "Rakshak", his film about a vigilante superhero, while in December last year, there were unconfirmed reports that Kartik Aaryan would star in the film adaptation of the comic book character Phantom.
In the past, Bollywood tried to attempt the superhero genre but didn't get much success. For instance, the audience didn't accept Tiger Shroff as a hero with superpowers in "A Flying Jatt" (2016) and Abhishek Bachchan, and Priyanka Chopra starrer Drona (2008). Even the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer "Ra.One" (2011) failed to live up to expectations.
The "Krrish" franchise, on the other hand, still has a strong fan following. Akshay Kumar also tried his hand at the genre in the Tamil film "2.0". With Rajinikanth as the protagonist, Akshay played the antagonist Pakshi Rajan.
"Stars are important, but so is the content. You need to be original and give a desi tadka to such films," said Adarsh to IANS, who feels adding mythology element to such films "would be great". But he feels that it won't be easy to woo the Indian audience with such films as they already have good exposure to Hollywood hits.
"When you make a superhero film, you need to keep in mind that you will be compared with western counterparts because so many superhero films have released in India, and people have loved them. So obviously you have to be at par or maybe in that league to woo the Indian audience", he added.