MUMBAI: When Priyanka Chopra chose to romance
the superhero in Krrish (India's answer
to Superman and Batman) it was a risk well-taken.
Now she has gone a step further by agreeing
to play the superheroine in the animated version
of Virgin comics.
relatively new entrant in the business of publishing,
Virgin Comics is redefining comics and animation
using India-themed content. Based in Bangalore,
it is a creative collaboration of writer Deepak
Chopra, Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and Richard
Branson. Aimed at creating a new wave of global
comic entertainment, Virgin has titles like
Ramayan 3392 AD, Devi, The Sadhu and now Priyanka's
story will launch as a comic book first and
then in animation and games. What is interesting
is the trend reversal. Earlier comic books turned
into movies (Superman, Batman, Robin) whereas
now celluloid actors become comic book heroes.
Incidentally, Hollywood folklore has it that
screen appearances of Superman jinxes the actors
associated with it. Christopher Lee was paralyzed,
George Reeves shot himself.
was way back in the eighties when many comic
books took inspiration from the then reigning
superhero Amitabh Bachchan. He was the first
pink-clad Supremo in Indrajaal comics. This
was then more driven by reader needs than by
content. The series flopped though it had writer
Gulzar as content consultant.
On television there was Shaktiman played
by Mukesh Khanna. The TV serial CID's timeless
characters had also come alive on the comic
books as well. But the superhero who hit big
time was Hrithik in Krrish, our homegrown
home, post Hum Tum, which had comic characters
in their own animated sequences in the film,
the comic book hero is making his presence felt.
With Roadside Romeo, the forthcoming animated
film where Saif and Kareena have lent their
voices to dogs for the first time, the trend
and directed by Jugal Hansraj, who is an actor
himself, the film is co-produced by Yash Raj
films and Walt Disney Studios. The Indian comic
book industry is poised for a transformation
and as it goes in for a global outlook it bids
adieu to the traditional comic book heroes.
The smarter, yuppier avatar of the new-age comic
book superhero is hip and more reader-friendly.
Geared at attracting the right target audience,
the new superheroes may soon garner a strong
fan base. And as Bollywood actors are moving
in for the kill, the market will soon be flooded
over Catwoman, Supergirl as our desi wonder
woman makes her entry. And she may do much better
than her Hollywood counterpart - because she
can also sing and dance.