Sunday Stupid: Brace yourselves for Indian Superman!
The 1978 Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve/Gene Hackman Superman is rightly considered a classic. It’s a film that combines elements of the David Lean epic oeuvre with comic book iconography, and despite its several flaws, it’s become one of the standards by which all other superhero adaptations are judged. Like all great films its merits transcend its genre.
The Indian take(s) Superman? Yeah, not so much.
India has a long tradition of co-opting box office hits of the West and putting their own unique spin on them, and in 1987 Bollywood got in on the Man of Steel act, producing a Superman film which transplanted Kal-El onto the subcontinent. For what it’s worth, it was a fairly straight-forward translation of the Superman myth, complete with spit-curl, if filtered through a vastly different cultural lens. Think Red Son but Hindi, with all the singing and dancing and overall goofiness that Bollywood has to offer. Oh, and effects stolen straight from the decade-old original. Put it this way, 1987 wasn’t exactly a banner year for Superman movies:
Yet Bollywood wasn’t done with the poor Man of Tomorrow, and there were more indignities to come the very next year — hence the clip at the top of this post. A sequence from a film not at all about superheroes, entitled Dariya Dil, but one with a song and dance number called “Too Mera Superman,” it makes the previous feature feel like a faithful, by-the-book rendering. Where to start? The oddly oversized S? The chick in the Spider-Man outfit? (Mask-less Spider-Man costumes always have the feel of decapitation about them.) Flying effects which make Pumaman look like, well, the Donner Superman? A pitted out costume? That this Superman appears to lift a tough up by his genitals before leaving him helicoptering in the air as if by magic?
The dance cinematography at the end of it is pretty good, though. And, God help us all, the “super super super super Superman” is catchy. Like the way measles is catchy, but still.
Here’s a little John Williams palette cleanser if you’re so inclined — have a nice day: