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No Fear No Favour

First Indian Superhero ‘Shaktimaan’ Coming Back After 15 Years

Only the 90’s kids knew that sadness from the day their favorite television series Shaktimaan ended. You browse the internet to show the kids from today’s generation the song that had lyrics like,’hota hai jab admi ko apna dhyaan…..kehlae who…shaktimaan….’ For all the 90’s kids it is nostalgia in red velvet pants. But there is a new buzz in the industry that Mukesh Khanna is returning to the small screen. Yes! That’s true.

Our very own super hero is all set to make a come back to the silver screen.The news of a possible return of Mukhesh Khanna’s desi Superman takes us back to those Sunday afternoons spent watching Shaktimaan saving the world on good old Doordarshan.He was the first Indian superhero with on-screen charisma and a decent script. How many of us have twirled around with our right arm stretched out in the hope of becoming Shaktimaan? Many wanted to dress like him, talk like him! Overnight, Mukesh Khanna became a household name.

In the show, Khanna played the dual role with finesse. While he was the strong and suave Shaktimaan in his in red velvet pant and chakra jacket, he was also the bumbling photojournalist with bunny teeth and nerdy glasses. The storyline was simple: With the advent of Kaliyuga, corruption and evil take over society following which saints known as “Suryanshis” choose a man who is given power from the five natural elements to fight evil.

The series was a phenomenon not only because of Khanna’s character but also the bad guys who had unforgettable catch phrases. Who can forget the famous “andhera kayaam rahe” (darkness shall prevail) of Tamraj Kilvish – the main villain pitched against the superhero? Actor Surendra Pal might have appeared in a number of TV serials and movies but the role of Kilvish certainly immortalized him. But it was not just Shaktimaan and Kilvish who were in the limelight! We all can fondly remember Mahaguru portrayed by Tom Alter, and Gita Biswas (Shaktimaan’s love interest, essayed by Vaishnavi Mahant). Even the anti-heroes, like Dr. Jaikal, stoneman or shalaka billi (cat woman) who time and again appeared with one and only “mission to destroy Shaktimaan” have left marks on our minds. It’s hard to forget Dr. Jaikal’s resounding call for ‘power’ and his stylish flicking of hair.

Kilvish’s trademark black cape and a hoodie along with his pointed nose and sharp fingernails became the go-to costume for fancy dress competitions in school. And after the episode was over and before the credits roll out, Shaktimaan would be back on screen. In a short post-episode sequence, he would forbid children from indulging in harmful acts. We, of course, remember the famous “Sorry Shaktimaan” phrase that followed.

The series was more than just a TV show. Shaktimaan was a trendsetter, a risk taker. After a 15-year hiatus, it would be interesting to see what Khanna brings back to the platter! Will Shaktimaan get a makeover? Will Khanna be able to pull it off? Will other characters retain their roles? Only time can answer these questions. But, Shaktimaan 2.0 has a tough competition ahead. In this age and time where superhero movies and TV shows are rife, only a modern take can re-capture the audience’s fancy.

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