Bollywood's Superman movie reviewed

Henry Jenkins -- scholar of all things fannish -- has a great review of Krrish, the Bollywood underwear-pervert-hero movie that opened in mom-and-pop cinemas in the US last weekend. Krrish is Bollywood's remix of the Superman mythos, and the localization elements are mouth-wateringly fascinating:

Much like the western Superman who has been read as an embodiment of national myths and ideals, there is much which speaks to the specifically Indian origins of this particular story.

For one thing, the early signs that young Krishna may have superpowers come when he turns out to be a protégé at sketching and then confounds the teachers at his local school with a spectacular performance on his I.Q. exam. The American counterpart would have led off with his strength, his speed, or maybe even his X-ray vision but having a superior intellect has rarely been a prerequisite for becoming a superpower in the western sense of the term. Throughout the film, in fact, the other characters consistently cite his "talents" but rarely his "powers" as if he were destined to become an extremely gifted knowledge worker (and indeed, it turns out that the ethics of knowledge work for hire are at the center of this epic saga.)

His special powers are modest by western standards, though spectacular enough by local standards. Much like the original Superman, he covers vast distances through long leaps but doesn't actually have the ability to fly. He can scale a mountain peak as if it were a series of stepping stones. He can run faster than the local horses. He can reach into the river and yank out a fish with his bare hands. And he can speak with the animals and get them to do his bidding. And, in several sequences, he demonstrates his superiority, Gandhi style, by withstanding enormous physical and emotional abuse without resorting to violence.

Link

See also: Bollywood scifi superhero "Krrish" to land in India