Indian Cinema Lines up Superhero flicks

Bollywood is drawing inspiration from the success of Hollywood's superhero flicks to draw audiences to theatres in the coming months. Mounted on large scale, films like Krissh 4, Brahmastra, the Mr. India reboot, The Immortal Ashwatthamaand, and a Telugu film on Hanuman will bring to life desi legends and heroes for Indian audiences unlike the comic characters that the West uses for such spectacles.

With the use of superior technology and special effects, these ₹200 crore plus projects are expected to drive home the point that some genres are best enjoyed on the big screen.

“Films like Krissh 4, The Immortal Ashwathama, the Mr. India reboot and Brahmastra will 100% draw people to the cinema. These larger-than-life movies have a bigger target audience as they focus on anyone and everyone to enjoy the movie-watching experience," said Rahul Puri, managing director, Mukta Arts and Mukta A2 Cinemas.

Kamal Gianchandani, chief executive officer, PVR Pictures, pointed out that films like Baahubali have shown that Indians have an appetite for grand spectacles done right, a trend that Rajinikanth’s 2.0 built on by setting the cash registers ringing, and the genre will continue to grow even though it commands significant budgets and takes time to put together.

“Aping Hollywood that has recreated superhero films from comic books would be ill-advised because filmmakers wouldn’t be able to better that genre. Going back to our own mythology that is close to the land and using our imagination is the right step in the right direction," film critic Manoj Kumar R said citing the example of Baahubali star Prabhas’ upcoming film Adipurush where he is reported to play a version of Lord Ram fighting for the victory of good over evil.

If producers want people to come to theatres post covid, small, intimate stories will no longer work, Kumar said, anything demanding the big screen experience should be a spectacle.

Harikrishnan Pillai, CEO and co​-founder, TheSmallBigIdea, a digital and social media marketing agency said the original (Indian) superhero universe is inspired from the Mahabharata and Ramayana and has been recreated on screen long before Hollywood franchises like Avengers came into vogue.

“But, of course, we haven’t monetized it well as compared to the Hollywood narratives, because we have restrictions when it comes to creative liberty on the stories in question. However, building the superhero cinematic universe is something that Indian cinema is picking up on," Pillai said adding that the appeal of superhero films lies in their depiction of the pursuit of righteousness, the victory of good over evil, the vulnerabilities of the strong, and so on. What adds to it is the visual experience which makes it a great cinematic display.

A technician working on a larger-than-life spectacle film admitted there is a lot of research required for such projects, it is time consuming to design the sequences and backdrops, they’re also VFX- heavy since most of this is recreated through CGI (computer generated imagery).

“You’re staging a spectacle for the audience, so time, money and research are always going to be required and if you do it well, you get a response like Baahubali which is unprecedented," the person said. A lot of sequences in such films require shooting against green screens inside air-conditioned rooms and recreating the rest in post-production, which in times of covid is easier than shooting in real locations, the person added.

Date: 7th July, 2021