If Bollywood made ‘The Avengers’

I caught the movie that’s been big on comicbook fans’s minds for over two years now and that everyone on my timeline is talking about – The Avengers. I’m a borderline viewer, which is to say that I enjoy the comics medium and know a bit about the characters, but I’m not a fangirl. This means I get to enjoy a good summer blockbuster movie but I’m not so tied in to it that I can’t let my mind stray.

During the fight sequences (admittedly awesome, especially at the Imax former dome theatre), here’s what ran through my head. The Hulk was SMASSSSHING his fists on the ground before launching into his attack and I murmured,

Yeh dhaai kilo ka haath!

That launched me off into a curious daydream of a Bollywood Avengers movie, which kept me sufficiently occupied during the more extended action sequences. The Hindi dubbed version of The Avengers is called ‘Vinashak‘, which translates to The Destroyers, not the Avengers. I’m yet to think up a good name for the film since ‘Badlewaale‘ doesn’t pack the same punch as Avengers. More on that later.

What’s the cast to be?

The Hulk/ Bruce Banner

With the 2.5kilo reference, the big, green ‘other guy’ Hulk cannot be anybody but Sunny Deol. Sunny paaji also has an equally sunny smile but it’s also accompanied by a raw, earthy force. I rather liked Mark Ruffalo in this role, even over Edward Norton because he essays the mild, affable, slightly hesitant character of Bruce Banner much better. Norton, in comparison looks too collected and in control, a look that suited Fight Club but not the ‘I’m a wreck inside’ alter ego of The Hulk. To come back to Bollywood, Bruce Batten needs a subtler, milder look so how about the more polished, ‘civilised’ member of the same family? He even looks a little like Mark Ruffalo. I’m thinking Abhay Deol in his wry, slightly sardonic avatar as the mild-mannered scientist turning into a roaring Sunny Deol (remember Gadar?) when he’s angry and well, green. Hee, that ought to satisfy the intellectuals and the salt-of-the-earth alike!

Iron Man/ Tony Stark

Genius, billionaire, philanthropic playboy. Read flashy, irreverent, flirtatious showman? That can’t be anybody but Salman Khan. Nuff’ said. Well, he might have something to say about the metallic armour that covers up the torso. For a desi version, he could have the electromagnet embedded in his bare chest and flashing cool lights. (If this were the 80s, that electromagnet would be in the shape of an ‘Om’ or perhaps ‘Ma’).

Thor

This Viking demigod wasn’t too hard to place either. Maybe it’s because I’m a fan of the mythology that inspired the character and the comic/film version doesn’t seem to do justice. But I’m convinced that Thor is the token pretty boy of this group, the oldest but curiously enough the winner of ‘Most Likely To Go Metrosexual’ award. Golden flowing locks, not too quick on the uptake (especiall with Batten & Stark around)…give it up for Hrithik Roshan!

Now, let me explain. Like any female Indian who was at a hormonal stage when Kaho Na Pyaar Hain was released, I greatly enjoyed the Golden God on the silver screen. But Agneepath put that to paid when I found every man in the movie laughing at being beaten up, except the hero who took the opportunity to bawl. These muscles are for flexing, not wielding and the God is for show only. Besides, he’s the only one who can carry off that bare-chested/skirted warrior suit.

Nick Fury

This gets tricky since according to my informed sources, this character was drawn keeping in mind Samuel L. Jackson (who plays him in the movie). How do you compete with THAT? The clichedness of it pains me but it’s time to call in the senior Bachchan.

I am rather tired of seeing him play the ‘I’m older but kicking more ass than you’ role but who else? Irrfan Khan? Nah, that’s a good actor but not one who owns the screen the way Jackson does. This role needs the kind of screen charisma that doesn’t rely on good looks or acting talent. I’m drawing a blank. If you think of an alternative to Amitabh Bachchan, say it in the comments.

Black Widow/ Natasha Romanoff

This one had me stumped for awhile. It’s appalling how cookie cutter, the current crop of Bollywood actresses are. No Kareena or Katrina for me. Rani has the sensuality but not the menace of Black Widow. Deepika Padukone has the perfect body type but her face conveys no more emotion (never mind menace or guile) than the Iron Man costume. Anushka Sharma was a contender. My only problem is that she seems too sunny, too chirpy to essay a dark character like Black Widow. If she were one of Charlie’s Angels, she’d be Drew Barrymore whereas we’re looking for Lucy Liu. I don’t think Scarlette Johansson is a very good actress but she has just the right look for Black Widow. The body is right on of course but the face really nails it. When she looks at you (or into the camera), you get the feeling you don’t know all there is to know and that you should be uneasy around her. Who then, can essay that?

The boy thought Mahi Gill would be a good choice. But personally I think she’s too earthy, too ‘heavy’ (not in a body mass way but in a body language way). This Black Widow needs a certain lightness of the sort that makes words like ‘lithe’ and ‘sinous’ make sense.

Much thought & discussion flowed before the image of another very beautiful and slit-eyed lady popped into my head. Remember the striking Chitrangada Singh (from Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi)? Perfect.

Captain America/ Steve Rogers

Capt. America is a squeaky clean, whitewashed character. Who is the squeakiest clean man in Bollywood (umm, to the point of boring? Imran Khan. But a superhero? Noooo. His uncle wasn’t bad at all balancing chocolate boy looks with tough machismo. So Aamir Khan it is.

Hawkeye/ Clint Barton

This one didn’t have a major role in the film but since he is an important character (and because I could think of someone who fit), he’s on this list. A sleek, lithe guy who starts off loyal, goes over to the dark side and then switches back again? It’s all in the eyes and that’s for Bollywood’s master brooder, Ajay Devgan.

Agent Phil Coulson

That covers the superheros, leaving just one notable good guy who was also responsible for some comic relief (in a wry way). I think Irrfan Khan wouldn’t be wasted on the role of Agent Phil Coulson.

Loki

Who’s left? Just a manic, boyish, seedy villian who is also a Viking demigod-gone-wrong. Loki, like all villians is an interesting character, both in folklore and the movie. I’d really like to see Ranbir Kapoor in this role. He’s got the looks (chocolate boy-turned-menacing), the talent and the body structure to carry it off.

* Images via Wikipedia, Funrocker & Entertainment Wallpaper

If you liked this post, drop me a comment telling me which other pop culture reference you’d like ‘Bollywoodized’. And do read this post about iconic Bollywood characters blogging.

The Superhero Fiasco

A common joke doing the rounds a couple of years back was that the measure of a man’s love for his woman was his willingness to sit through a romcom (especially Sex & The City, Confessions Of A Shopaholic & the Twilight series). By that same logic, I think I’ve achieved the status of devotion since I’ve sat through numerous superhero movies (we won’t talk about such disasters as Predators here).

A few months ago, I was made to endure the rather horrible The Green Hornet. Last month there was Green Lantern. And this weekend, we were taken to meet Captain America. I say we because The Third Toothbrush is the boy’s partner in comicbook crime and his girlfriend was made to suffer the same fate as me.

I quite happily ascribe to the stereotype of the girl who doesn’t get superhero stories. Capes, chaddi-over-tights, secret identities & stupid ‘smart’ gizmos are things best left to the boys. Still, there has been a Batman Begins & The Dark Knight which films I’d watch even reruns of. There is room to appeal to the non-fanbase through the medium of cinema.Green Lantern, I’m afraid did not do that. The boy tells me that there’s way more to the character of the green jewel-toting superhero but I didn’t see any of that in the movie, which was only a couple of smartish lines & Ryan Reynolds in a creepy green face mask (that made him look eerily like Hrithik Roshan).

Ryan Reynolds

Image by cmjcool via Flickr

This photo was taken by my uncle, Aashish Chat...

Image via Wikipedia

 

And then there was Captain America. I spent the first hour of the movie guffawing & ‘you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me’ ing and the remainder (nearly 2 more hours) shifting uncomfortably in the seats trying to fall asleep. Apparently this character was created as American propaganda but grew to story hero status through comics, a fact that’s referenced in the movie. I’m guessing the sepia feel to give it the authentic 1940s look was mighty appealing to a certain crowd too. But I struggled through the film, this even though I was flanked on either side by an enthusiastic fanboy supplying extraneous details & pointing out references. It just wasn’t an entertaining movie. Picking a popular theme does not guarantee a good movie. I just call it lazy film-making & a film-maker who tests my patience this way pushes me from indifference into outright loathing.

One of comics' most iconic covers: The Avenger...

Image via Wikipedia

I spent much of the last hour, ready to bolt. But noooo! Every potential end stretched into another extension! And finally, when the credits began rolling, I almost couldn’t believe my good luck. And then again, my hopes were crushed cruelly. We were made to sit through the 15-minute credit rolling, watching the names of every spotboy & extra (Lady with dog, man in trenchcoat 1, man in trenchcoat 2). All for a 5-second trailer of the upcoming Avengers movie that has apparently been tagged on to the end of every Marvel comics movie of the recent years. The boy & BBB maintain that it was worth it. Well, let’s see what they say when we’re buying 4 tickets for the next Shopaholic movie.

Cover of "Confessions of a Shopaholic"

Cover of Confessions of a Shopaholic

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