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Waiting for a Tamil speaking superhero? Why not?

Avengers: Infinity War is the latest film to rub it in: avid superhero fans in regional film industries are yet to see their own big superhero. Be it in China, Japan or Bollywood, every film industry boasts of their own superhero. And almost all of them are inspired at various levels by the Mecca of superheroes, Hollywood. It is interesting to note that Tamil cinema, being one of the major regional film industries in India with a massive viewer diaspora spanning across the globe doesn’t have an established superhero to call its own.

It is ironical that a fantastical attempt like Mysskin's Mugamoodi bombed at the box office. The reason Mugamoodi didn’t strike a chord with the Tamil audience may be that they have been familiarised with this kind of heroism for many years. Kollywood has Rajinikanth, the Superstar bigger than all the superheroes. Almost all our heroes are superheroes in their own terms, at least in the sparkling fight sequences.

Another key reason for lack of a full-fledged superhero genre in Tamil cinema is the absence of a comic culture. Representing the chaos of the time and offering a solution to bring back order is that the Western superheroes are known for. With shops and comic fan collectives to maintain the vibrancy of the genre, Hollywood still masters the craft of superhero-making. With bold attempts like Kanthaswamy, Mugamoodi, Velayudham and 2.0, filmmakers like Susi Ganesan, Mysskin, M Raja and S Shankar are trying to push the boundaries further.

The huge budgets and technical expertise required to pull off the job efficiently deter many visionary filmmakers from stepping in. With the vast market across the globe, Bollywood has somewhat cracked the budget barrier and delivered movies like the Krrish series -  and Vikramaditya Motwane’s Bhavesh Joshi Superhero is coming up.

The success of a superhero movie also hints at people’s loss of faith in the ruling and the justice system and their craving for a superpower who can deliver the solution with a snap of the fingers. But, as long as our human heroes deliver the same result onscreen and filmmakers and writers dance to the tunes of the limitations of the market forces, the genre will remain stagnant and impotent. Remember, more power always means more responsibility, which means more responsibility towards the genre, the medium and the viewers.

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