Talking Movies: The superheroes in our cinema
In this week's column, the author explores the potential for a Tamil cinema version of the popular Justice League
After painstakingly establishing its superheroes, one after another — and not really having the time to popularise some characters like Aquaman — DC’s Justice League is finally here. The superhero fiction genre has, of course, turned out to be a cash cow for Hollywood for many years now. The films in the genre — not looking in Nolan’s direction — are usually simplistic good vs evil battles, with the lead character naturally being capable of superhuman tasks like flying, bringing speeding trains to a halt with bare hands, surviving incredible damage to body, and in essence, being more or less indestructible.
Remind you of someone? Our own heroes, of course, aren’t particularly different. Perhaps we take to these Hollywood superhero films so easily because our heroes have already familiarised us with superhuman invincibility. Some of our heroes have stopped moving trains. They have made impossible leaps to save their beloved. They have often survived sickening damage to their bodies. Where one blow would render you lifeless, they take hundred. Thugs sometime strike them with iron rods only for them to react like their skin has come into gentle contact with cotton candy. So, what I’m proposing is, let’s come up with our own version of Justice League/Avengers.
The characters are all there already. Stay with me while I take you through a possible story. Senapathi (from Shankar’s Indian) finally returns to India, many years after his self-imposed exile. He’s still tormented by the son he’s murdered, but the country is slipping again into the clutches of corruption. There’s a new supervillain in town, one who’s got the entire nation started again on the path of decadence. Senapathi scouts, waiting for his time to strike. But unbeknownst to him, there’s another man who’s preying on the villain too. A man who is known for his predilection for letting his curly mane fall all over his face, as he unleashes violence. A man who goes by the name, Anniyan. Let’s say these two underestimate the villain and fall into his trap, and just as they are almost killed, a robot — robaat, as it calls itself — steps in, replicates itself, and rescues them. Perhaps the duo get arrested, on account of the supervillain’s powerful connections. But who should arrest them but a righteous cop, who eventually learns the truth about their innocence and joins them. A police officer who walks and talks like a lion. We are talking, of course, of Doraisingam, our own version of the Hulk. Our guy doesn’t go all green and big, but he doesn’t have to because his secret too, like the Hulk’s, is that he’s “always angry.”
I may have gotten carried away there a bit, but that’s only because it truly seems like we may be on to something with the idea of grouping some iconic characters of Tamil cinema. Perhaps it’ll be hard to get the dates of the actors in question, perhaps the production houses won’t give away their rights so easily, perhaps the project itself won’t be financially viable. But as day dreamers and faithful followers of Tamil cinema, there’s nothing to stop us from creating these stories in our head.
So, where were we? Yes, Doraisingam rescues the two men and the ‘robaat’, and takes them to a private detective friend of his, to learn more clues about this supervillain’s identity. A private detective, a recluse, who goes by the name of Kaniyan Poongundran. Where do you go from there?