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The Best Bollywood Superhero Movies That Improved The Genre

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Superhero movies have become a global sensation. While Hollywood’s influence in the genre is enormous, thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe it has expanded beyond America. With many entertainment industries around the world tackling superhero content, Bollywood isn’t too far behind. The Bollywood superhero genre is new, but the attempts have been amazing with a lot of different things. The premise of each of these films, however, remains very much rooted in the cultural context of the country. That’s really what sets them apart. Despite this, even the most popular Indian superhero movies have yet to be as successful for the industry as its other genres. But the same could have been said of Hollywood in the 90s, before the Foxes. x-men franchise. So, let’s take a look at the best superhero movies in Bollywood.

Understanding the Bollywood Superhero Genre

Best Bollywood Superhero Movie Dabanng Image via Arbaaz Khan Productions.

Before we get into all of India’s superhero movies, we should contextualize what type of content is considered standard for a Bollywood movie. Elements likely to discourage general non-Bollywood audiences. Yes, there is song and dance, usually romantic in nature, like any other musical. But the appeal of Bollywood movies even today is its entertainment value over anything else. So the industry is really very stronghold for escape and relief from the harshness of society. Audiences went to the movies for hope, optimism and a reaffirmation of better things to come. Whether in the romance genre, or more serious, action and drama.

This gave rise to the detective film as a kind of forerunner of the Bollywood superhero genre. A no-frills cop hero who rooted out corruption and bad guys was the ideal that audiences wanted to believe about their own society. Playing a hero-cop is what defined veteran superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s career in many different movies, including Zanjeer. Bachchan played his own vigilante superhero in the superhit Shahenshah, a proto-superhero movie where he played a corrupt and sleazy cop by day but became a vicious vigilante by night.

The honest cop of Bollywood films, in many ways, predates the concept of the superhero mask and cape in India. An idealistic cop who could take over the world and defeat countless villains, no matter the cost, was perhaps India’s very first superhero concept. This explains why hero cop has been one of Bollywood’s most popular film genres for a decade. Movies such as Singham, Dabbang, Mardaani and others have consistently proven themselves at the box office. Playing a hero cop is almost like a rite of passage for any successful Bollywood star.

Krrish is one of the most popular Indian superhero movies

krish. Image via Yash Raj Films.

In 2003, screenwriter director Rakesh Roshan cast his superstar son, Hrithik Roshan in Koi Mil Gaya as an autistic man living in a small mountain town in India. The arrival of a cute alien creature saw man gain powers, both physical and mental. It was a very unofficial adaptation of Steven Spielbergs HEY and Meetings of the third type. Koi Mil Gaya (Ive Found Someone) gave a very Bollywood touch to these films, and it was a huge success. The kid-friendly story, with a sci-fi twist about a man-child who overcomes his emotional challenges with the help of an alien, was a sweet story that resonated with everyone. The film’s commercial success spawned a very different sequel. In the sequel, the son of the main character of Koi Mil Gaya was born with superhuman powers, passed down through the powers of his father.

The sequel, named krish after the protagonist (for some reason), played like a more traditional superhero story. Hrithik Roshan returned to play the son of the character he starred in Koi Mil Gaya. Fearing his powers, his grandmother hid him even in a remote village in India. An accident reveals his powers to the world, kick-starting his superhero journey. Everything else that follows is basically like the usual superhero tropes, but in a modern Bollywood film. With the third act taken directly from Ben Affleck’s film, Paycheck. Despite this, the film was successful enough to get its own sequel titled Krish 3 (Again, I don’t know why.) And yes, it’s absolutely Priyanka Chopra-Jonas in both Krrish movies, pre-Jonas.

A flying Jatt embodied related superhero elements in a culturally Indian story

Jatt Image via Balaji Motion Pictures

A more popular Indian superhero movie came in the form of A flying Jatt. The Jatt people are part of a different Indian culture with their own traditions and practices. The story of A flying Jatt follows the life of a gentle, mild-mannered young man played by Tiger Shroff. His real legal name, by the way. Shroff’s character does not follow his religion and culture due to his issues with his father. He’s kind of a coward in the face of adversity and remains so even after an accident bestows him with Superman-like powers. Oh, and the villain of the movie has a very toxic avenger-like the original, played by Nathan Jones of Mad Max: Fury Road.

A flying Jatt is one of the best disappointments of a superhero journey that any popular Indian movie has ever had before. There’s all the fun sequences of training montages, superhero rescue plans and more. But the heart of the film comes when the hero accepts his role, embracing his own identity that is shrouded in the religion he abandoned years ago after his father’s death. It’s a plot point unique to India’s Jatt culture, which truly makes it one of Bollywood’s best superhero movies.

Superhero Bhavesh Joshi Takes a Dark Knight Road

Best Bollywood Superhero Movie, Bhavesh. Image via Phantom Films.

On the other side of things Superhero Bhavesh Joshi look at the vigilante side of Indian superhero movies. An ordinary guy played by Harshvardhan Kapoor is ready to follow the path of a normal young Indian who graduates from college and finds a job in America. His friends, however, are activists who try to expose the injustices of their country and improve it. When one of these friends is killed, it evokes the hero of Kapoor’s character. He takes the fight to the streets, posing as a superhero under his friend’s name, and tries to root out the evil responsible.

Bhavesh Joshi is more in tune with street superheroes like Batman and or the CW-verse iteration of Arrow. Fueled by anger and darkness, this is a Bollywood superhero movie that’s more realistic and gritty than what the industry has produced so far. And while acclaimed by critics, sadly the realism didn’t resonate with audiences who have brighter, funnier expectations of superhero movies. The film failed to perform at the box office.

Mr. India is the first superhero introduction to Bollywood

Best Bollywood Superhero Movie, Mr. India Image via Narsimha Enterprises.

Non-Indian audiences will recognize the name of Shekhar Kapur as a director of films like Cate Blanchett with Elizabeth movies or Heath Ledgers The four feathers. However, before his time in Hollywood, Kapur arrived on the Bollywood scene with Mr India. The film is almost the first modern entry into the Bollywood superhero genre. Widely regarded as Bollywood’s first true superhero film, Mr India does not follow the usual superhero movie format. After his father’s death, Kapoor’s character grows into a man who takes care of other orphans. But when he discovers his father’s work, which can make a man invisible, he finds a real purpose in his life. Driven by a loss, he takes on the avatar of Mr. India to fight against the villains and confront the evil Mogambo.

Mr India has all the trappings of a real superhero movie. A cartoonish yet intimidating villain, a hero with his own sidekicks and a fun, family-friendly story. Although a little long, the movie has something for everyone and really captures the joy of having powers and doing good with them. And non-Bollywood audiences will recognize the hero as a young Anil Kapoor seen in Hollywood movies like Slumdog Millionaire and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

So, these are my picks for some of the best movies in the Bollywood superhero genre. Be sure to let me know your favorite in the comments below. Especially if I forgot a title that you think deserves to be included in this list.

Featured image via Yash Raj Films.

Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, film critic (or so he thinks), host of the Split Screen podcast (on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else), and film dad on a mission to educate his daughters on decades of history. the cinema. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah likes to discuss the content of movies, television and comics until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging her on her own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.

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