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16 Indian Superheroes Who Deserve Their Own Movies

August 20, 2017
17 min read

The question is – what was the need? The need to have Indian comic-book superhero characters in our lives? Why do we need Indian superheroes after all, despite being raised among the likes of Superman, Batman, Spiderman etc. to incessantly watch through the television? The answer could be many-fold, the reason being the necessity which gave the rise to this undying need. Though the Indian comics superheroes have been limited to a few hundred read-worthy volumes per year and decreasing, and probably a few hundred thousand readers, thanks to the technology available to us, we’re yet to witness the Indian superheroes on a larger, more dignified scale, like a big-budget movie or a populist TV series (and no, I am not referring just to the mythological ones, like Mahabharat or Ramayan here, but only the non-mythological, fictional ones).

Many of them were merely the figments of imagination that grew to wonderful and enormous proportions spanning our unforgettable childhood pastime. Be it the unnerving genius of Anant Pai, the dedication of Anupam Sinha, the conceptualization of Sanjay Gupta or the vivid imaginations of Pran Kumar Sharma, Indian comic-book readers will be forever indebted to these virtuosic personas and many of their likes, who gave an Indian tadka to our childhood, despite all the “international” distractions. While we continuously tried to immerse ourselves in the screen portrayals of Uncle Sam’s favorite superheroes, buying a Raj Comics or a Diamond comics every now and then made our rendezvous with these timeless Indian beings.

Because I don’t proclaim myself to be an expert in this area, I’ve limited this list only to these sixteen Indian Comic Book superheroes that most of us would have cherished for many years. For all the Millennials and Generation Z kids, it’s time to have your memories rejuvenated, if you still believe in the idea of Indian superheroes going mainstream, notwithstanding the fact that many of them are a rip-off of their American or International counterparts. Also, my apologies if none of your favorites could make this list. Here goes the list of best Indian superheroes of all time who deserve their own movie.

 

16. Tiranga

Translation: Tricolour
Publishing House: Raj Comics
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Danga (1996), Doctor Danger (1996), Kargil (1999), Sattebaaj (1999)
Superpowers: Hand-to-Hand combat, genius-level intellect, detective penchant
Alter Ego: Inspector Abhay alias Bharat Deshpande
Notable Affiliations: Protectors of Earth and Mankind (P.O.E.M.)/Brahmand Rakshak
Arch Rivals: Nakalchi, CNN, Doctor Danger

An Indian who’s analogous to Captain America (well, mostly, save the superhuman strength or association with World War) in terms of donning the national flag, Tiranga protects himself and his righteous countrymen from the bad guys using a (near indestructible) shield and is schmeared in the Indian Tricolour from tip to toe, including the cape. Known for his wary multifarious approach towards solving the crime whilst catching the bad guys, Tiranga as a character could have grown further in terms of his skills and capabilities. There can’t be a more Indianised and patriotic version of a superhero than him. And seeing him in a movie would be just like seeing a desi version of Captain America, running around with a tricolor shield. How do you agree?

 

15. Inspector Steel

Publishing House: Raj Comics
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Inspector Steel (1995), Professor Bhoot (1996), Kanoon Ka Sipahi (1997)
Superpowers: Heightened senses, X-Ray Vision, powered suit, superhuman strength
Alter Ego: Inspector Amar
Notable Affiliations: Protectors of Earth and Mankind (P.O.E.M.)/Brahmand Rakshak
Arch Rivals: Mechanic, Hammer, Farsa

Probably a literal rip-off of the RoboCop, Inspector Steel a.k.a. Inspector Amar is Raj Nagar’s hero and saviour. After losing each and every part of his body, save his head/brain, in an accident, Inspector Amar is assisted by Professor Anees to become the fearsome Inspector Steel. Bestowed with all the advancements in science and technology, Inspector Steel uses his human instincts and his cyborg-ian built to fight crime and bring peace to Raj Nagar. His opponents are easily obvious, the people who hate machines or technology, or both. Movie-wise, this would be a close-shave version of RoboCop, set in an Indian context. Because we all have seen the cybernetic RoboCop (2014) and how “well” it did at the BO, watching an Indianised version wouldn’t be a loss anyway.

 

14. Super Indian

Publishing House: Raj Comics
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Super Indian (2005), Super Indian Kaun (2005), Time Bomb (2006)
Superpowers: Flight, Heightened senses, superhuman strength
Alter Ego: Aman
Notable Affiliations: Protectors of Earth and Mankind (P.O.E.M.)/Brahmand Rakshak
Arch Rivals: Nephew Petro, Uncle Metro, Red Eyebrow

This is definitely an interesting one. A towering persona who was born by cloning of his evil father, but turned out to be a hero, Super Indian could be a near-original version of an Indian superhero who could fly, fight bad guys and lift things. Thanks to Rudraksh Baba, the savior of Super Indian, who brought him back to being a protagonist, Ahankari (Super Indian’s clone, evil-father) fails to succeed in his motive of creating a perfect villain using his own genes. Once Aman a.k.a. Super Indian assumes the role of a virtuous agent, he makes new enemies, starting with Uncle Metro (who is a criminal mastermind of Metro City) and Nephew Petro (the nephew of Uncle Metro). Super Indian is a dhoti-clad loosely based Indianised render of Superman who fights crime along with his friends in P.O.E.M. A version we could probably see and accept in a movie frame if the character develops to be a more socially acceptable one.

 

13. Fighter Toads

Publishing House: Raj Comics
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Overcoat (1999), Super Toads (2002), Credit Card (2006)
Superpowers: Animal instincts, hand-to-hand combat
Alter Ego: Computerr, Masterr, Cuterr, Shooterr
Notable Affiliations: None
Arch Rivals: Mooshakraj, Shaitaan Tamatar

A rip-off or probably an inspiration from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Fighter Toads are part-human, part-frogs who go places as crime-fighting squad of four, with their unfailing action in close quarters and rib-tickling pun. Though we’ve seen a few rather unbearable portrayals of the TMNT, watching Fighter Toads in a Bollywood movie could be fun. Even though I am skeptical about the originality part of it, Fighter Toads have formed a larger chunk of the Indian Comics (of course, back then I had no idea about the “inspired versions” from TMNT) and having them come alive would be a different experience.

 

12. Shaktimaan

Translation: The Powerful One
Publishing House: Raj Comics, Diamond Comics
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Kakodar Ka Kahar (1999), Kashtak Ka Ant (2000), Shaktimaan and Dictatorship of Kilvish
Superpowers: Attains superpowers from the seven Kundalini chakras, mostly can accomplish everything under the sky
Alter Ego: Pandit Gangadhar Vidyadhar Mayadhar Omkarnath Shastri
Notable Affiliations: None so far
Arch Rivals: Tamraj Kilvish, Sahab, Kakodar, Kapala, Dr. Jackal

We all went through his TV series, which aired for more than 500 episodes. Although it is lesser known that there have been a few comics that were published in his name for his various quests, we would like Shaktimaan to be reprised again on the larger screen, probably in a more glorified way. His unique style of flight and his limitless superpowers derived from his saintly chakras create an unlimited possibility in the premise. Although Stan Lee’s Chakra: The Invincible is also based on a similar concept, Shaktimaan’s originality dates way back. If there are a few enhancements made to the character and the premise, and the resembling redundancies (such as Paapmani crystal being his weakness, which is somewhat similar to Superman’s weakness for Kryptonite) are eliminated, Shaktimaan could be the superhero India needs. And his social message at the end of each episode might have helped millions after all (wink, wink!).

 

11. Bhokal

Translation: The Influential
Publishing House: Raj Comics
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Bhokal Aur Fuchang (1986), Guneek (1999), Kaal Kundali (2000)
Superpowers: Flight, superhuman strength, sword wielding capabilities, psychic
Alter Ego: Rajkumar Alop
Notable Affiliations: Protectors of Earth and Mankind (P.O.E.M.)/Brahmand Rakshak
Arch Rivals: Fuchang, Kaal, Guneek, Maharaavan, Himraj

Not as famous among the 90’s kids as other superheroes due to the gore and the similarities with many others in those days, Bhokal is a warrior prince who descended from Parilok to play savior to the people of Vikas Nagar. Primarily a revenge-seeker against his arch-rival Fuchang, Bhokal’s superpowers range from wielding an extremely powerful sword to his flight capabilities after chanting the battle cry – ‘Jai Mahaguru Bhokal’. A near-equivalent of Thor in terms of his powers and combat skills (without the Mjolnir, as he doesn’t sound “worthy” to me), Bhokal can go a long way without any dearth of storylines from the 150+ issues of his solo comic books. If we couldn’t envision a solo Bhokal movie, we can certainly enjoy his appearance in one of the movies on Brahmand Rakshak.

 

10. Kobi Aur Bheriya

Translation: Kobi and The Wolf
Publishing House: Raj Comics
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Kobi Aur Bheriya (1998), AadamKhor Bheriya (2006), Ajooba (2003)
Superpowers: Superhuman strength, agility, adaptiveness, enhanced healing and sensory capabilities
Alter Ego: Kobi/Bheriya
Notable Affiliations: Protectors of Earth and Mankind (P.O.E.M.)/Brahmand Rakshak
Arch Rivals: Kaigula, Pretal, Elphanto, King Luna, Doga (adversary)

Without much ado about his history and origin, in short, Kobi-Bheriya duo is a formidable wolf-animal emanating from a single wolf-like creature. As confusing as it may seem, the premise comprises of a human, timid counterpart called Bheriya and an aggressive, animal counterpart called Kobi, emerging with the help of Phobos and Mobos forms of energy respectively. Thanks to guru Bhatiki, Kobi and Bheriya, both have their own unique superpowers, ranging from unnatural healing to growing by enormous proportions, from conjuring a deadly mace to calling on a wolf-army in cases of any extreme danger. Essentially, both seem like two sides of the same coin, often seen confronting each other. Confused yet? I wonder how P.O.E.M. guys deal with these two. Care for a movie for Kobi-Bheriya? Maybe not so fast, buddy.

 

9. Chacha Chaudhary – Sabu

Translation: Uncle Chaudhary – Sabu
Publishing House: Diamond Comics
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Chacha Chaudhary Aur Jibrano, Chacha Chaudhary Jaali Note, Chacha Chaudhary Aur Raaka Ki Waapsi
Superpowers: Genius-level Intellect, his brain is faster and better than any supercomputer, Superhuman Strength (Sabu)
Alter Ego: None
Notable Affiliations: None
Arch Rivals: Raaka, Gobar Singh, Dhamaaka Singh

May be not a superhero, but Chacha Chaudhary has always been our ideal and the go-to wise old man he always purported to be. And who doesn’t love the native of Jupiter – Sabu, who, though dim-witted, is the muscle for Chacha’s mind. The quirks created by the means of morally upright premises and the pure genius of Chacha had us in awe. We certainly wish for this character to come alive on the larger screen, with some genuine CGI and good punchlines. Having that would be a fitting tribute to the person who conceived this timeless gem of Indian comic books – Pran Kumar Sharma.

 

8. Bankelal

Publishing House: Raj Comics
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Bankelal Ka Kamaal (1988), Paaras Patthar (1990), Raajmukut (2001)
Superpowers: Mischievous, Blessed with curse of being lucky and emerging victorious in odd situations
Alter Ego: None
Notable Affiliations: None
Arch Rivals: Raja Vikram Singh

The perpetrator of comedy of errors, Bankelal was blessed by Lord Shiva himself, to have the superpower of turning the weirdest of the situations in his own favor, but bear the brunt of the oddity upon himself. Bankelal often goes places with his horse Chetak and his undying wit, while uncovering mysteries and cracking jokes. Probably one of the funniest characters in Raj Comics Universe, Bankelal could be a film-worthy material with the right set of filmmakers and actors. We wish the odds are always in his favor.

 

7. Shakti

Translation: Divine Energy, especially associated with the feminine deity
Publishing House: Raj Comics
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Ayee Shakti (1998), Mahabala (1999), Krodh (2002)
Superpowers: Divinely Capabilities including but not limited to time, matter and space manipulation
Alter Ego: Chanda
Notable Affiliations: Protectors of Earth and Mankind (P.O.E.M.)/Brahmand Rakshak
Arch Rivals: Initially, most of the P.O.E.M. members, out of misunderstanding

An incarnation of Goddess Kali on Earth, who manifests herself within Chanda after the atrocities the latter puts up with, Shakti represents the ferocity and aggression of the feminine gender. Starting by killing her own husband, who was killing their daughters, Chanda leads a rather normal civilian life unless provoked. Being someone who can’t stand the suffering of the innocent, especially women, Shakti answers to the distress calls by women from all over the world and uses her powers, including the unfathomable prowess of her third eye to ward-off the evil. Given a decent CGI and the storyline of choice, Shakti has the capability of turning tables on the big screen.

 

6. Devi

Translation: Goddess
Publishing House: Graphic India (formerly Virgin Comics), Created by Shekhar Kapur
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Bhairavi (2007), Yudh (2007)
Superpowers: Celestial, psychic and divine powers
Alter Ego: Tara Mehta
Notable Affiliations: None
Arch Rivals: Lord Bala, Kratha

More of a title than a person/divine entity per se, Devi is said to have reincarnated herself in the body of Tara Mehta, a modern-day resident of a posh locality in Sitapur. A watertight plot comprising ancient Gods and rivalries, reincarnations and past connections, Devi is a novel innovation (though we’ve seen a few similarities in some movies in the past, but not at this level) and probably a very strong contender to be made into a movie. And given Shekhar Kapur’s association with Devi and other mythical volumes of Shakti series, I reckon that day is not very far.

 

5. The Sadhu

Translation: The Sage
Publishing House: Graphic India (formerly Virgin Comics)
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Issue 1 through 8 (2006-07), The Silent Ones (Sequel, Issue 1 through 5, 2007)
Superpowers: Time manipulation, superhuman speed, intangibility, combat dexterities, omniscience
Alter Ego: James Jensen
Notable Affiliations: None
Arch Rivals: Colonel Timothy Townsend

Finally, probably the only Indian comic-book superhero who has been officially confirmed for being developed into a mainstream movie, Sadhu fulfills all the criteria for being a superhero, with his unfathomable mystical powers and the revenge-seeking penchant. Though not an Indian, but possibly of the Indian roots from his previous birth, James Jensen a.k.a. The Sadhu is destined to be the warrior that Dada Thakur and his followers had always wished him to be. Add some animosity by introducing an equally strong antagonist and we get something very expectedly amazing. Can’t wait for this one, less Nicolas Cage, the strongest contender for the Sadhu’s role so far.

 

4. Parmanu

Translation: Atom
Publishing House: Raj Comics
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Aag (1991), Gunakar (1995), Zoro (2000), Captain Doom (2002)
Superpowers: Flight, Hitech Gadgets, Teleportation, shape-shifting, Probot (Supercomputer) assistance, Agility, Hand-to-hand combat, energy/matter manipulation
Alter Ego: Inspector Vinay, Wonder man
Notable Affiliations: Protectors of Earth and Mankind (P.O.E.M.)/Brahmand Rakshak
Arch Rivals: Bufalo, Gunaakar, Ghonga, Nashketu, Madam Cold

Parmanu is a rendition of multiple MCU/DCEU superheroes namely Atom, Ant-Man, Iron Man, Batman etc. His belt-gadgets help him accomplish all his superpowers, avenge all wrongs and fight crime. His alter-ego Inspector Vinay helps him retain another identity during the daytime, somewhat similar to most of the modern-day superheroes. After having a troubled childhood, the knack for avenging his parents (which he does by killing the monster) makes him turn a vigilante. Parmanu happens to be in the company of the likes of Super Commando Dhruva and Doga in forming Brahmand Rakshak, which is a collaboration of all the comic-book superheroes for the Raj Comics Universe. Watching Parmanu in a movie would be a dream coming true, with his gadgets and robotic assistant reminding us of Tony Stark with an Indian flavor.

 

3. Doga

Publishing House: Raj Comics
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Ye Hai Doga (1993), Doga Aur Jhabra (1994), Bhaag Doga Bhaag (2004)
Superpowers: Ace shooter, Martial arts, unparalleled fortitude, ability to communicate with dogs, genius-level intellect
Alter Ego: Suraj
Notable Affiliations: Protectors of Earth and Mankind (P.O.E.M.)/Brahmand Rakshak
Arch Rivals: Raat Ki Rani, Bulldog, Kaal Paheliya

The Indian answer to Batman (except for the guns and bombs), in a way, Doga is my personal favorite, if not for the weird character names surrounding him. Adrak Chacha and his three brothers – Dhania, Haldi, and Kalimirchi sound delicious to me, rather than like Doga’s companions or father figures. In any case, Doga is the closest to the reality that Raj Comics has to offer, Super Commando Dhruva being the other one. A dog-mask wearing vigilante who fights crime in the streets of Mumbai, trained by his chachas (uncles) in four different disciplines – weightlifting/bodybuilding, boxing, martial arts, and marksmanship respectively, Doga is a formidable personality among his opponents. Though conceived as a movie back in 2010 by Anurag Kashyap, Doga is yet to materialize on the big screen. As and when it does, expect some good number of whistles follow through.

 

2. Nagraj

Translation: Snake-King
Publishing House: Raj Comics
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Nagraj (1986), Nagraj Aur Super Commando Dhruva (1986), Vijeta Nagraj (1995), Nagpasha (1995), Shakoora Ka Chakravyuh (1995), Soudangi (2004)
Superpowers: Mostly everything a venomous snake can do, immortality, superhuman prowess, healing, and senses, venomous breath, hypnotism, metamorphosis, numerous psychic abilities
Alter Ego: Raj, Nagraj Shah
Notable Affiliations: Protectors of Earth and Mankind (P.O.E.M.)/Brahmand Rakshak
Arch Rivals: Nagpasha, Thodanga, Professor Nagmani, Kentuki, Jaadugar Shakoora

The flagship superhero of Raj Comics and the Indian superhero possessing powers closely analogous to Spider-Man, Ant-Man, along with some added psychic and divine abilities, Nagraj mostly eliminates the redundancies and shortcomings of Shaktimaan or Parmanu. A close aide of Super Commando Dhruva and the creation of the evil genius of Professor Nagmani, Nagraj’s conception is an amalgamation of divinity and science fiction. Possessing an array of superpowers ranging from Vish Funkar (Venomous Breath), Vish Dansh (Snake Bite), hypnotism, immortality, shooting snakes like Spider-Man, to name a few and the group of superheroes he fights alongside with, Nagraj is practically invincible.

With microscopic snakes, venom and blood in his bloodstream and a portfolio of different kind of snakes as weapons in his kitty, Nagraj has his unique abilities and strengths. Occasionally, he fights his arch nemesis Nagpasha and Professor Nagmani’s weaker creations and poses as an employee named Nagraj Shah who works for a TV channel that’s secretly owned by himself. We’ve seen a cheap portrayal of Nagraj played by Sonu Sood which didn’t go well as planned, but a live-action film featuring Nagraj can break records altogether.

 

1. Super Commando Dhruva

Publishing House: Raj Comics
Notable Comic-book Appearances: Pratishodh Ki Jwala (1986), Maha Manav (1986), Nagraj Aur Super Commando Dhruva (1986), Robo Ka Pratishodh (1993), Mahakaal (1997), Commando Force (2000)
Superpowers: Genius-level intellect, indomitable will, ace stuntman, master of disguise and deception, expert tactician, abilities of interspecies communication, communicating and breathing underwater
Alter Ego: Dhruva Mehra, Captain Dhruva
Notable Affiliations: Protectors of Earth and Mankind (P.O.E.M.)/Brahmand Rakshak, Commando Force
Arch Rivals: Maha Manav, Robo, Dr. Virus, Dhwaniraaj, Dr. Virus

And finally, the Captain America and the Batman of the Indian Superhero universe put together, save the shield, or the Batmobile, Super Commando Dhruva is the daunting genius tactician and leader of the pack. It is seldom easy to overcome someone who has an unparalleled willpower as that of Dhruva. Immune to any kind of psychic confrontations or torture techniques, combined with his athletic physique and his honed senses make him a superhero, closest to the humankind. A Batman-like portrayal of Dhruva on the big screen, complete with his utility belt and near-superhero abilities, confronted with a genius supervillain like Maha Manav or the crazy scientist Dhwaniraaj is something that I am raring to see. How about you?

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