Fans across the country have been flocking to multiplexes to watch Sony Pictures’ “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” a Hollywood film that has captivated India. The excitement stems from the introduction of Pavitr Prabhakar, the first Indian superhero in an American blockbuster, says WSJ.
Who’s Pavitr Prabhakar?
Prabhakar is an animated character mirroring the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker, plays a vital role in the film, using his powers to save the world in the fictional city of ‘Mumbattan’.
As highlighted in the WSJ piece, Prabhakar, a familiar hero from many Indians’ childhood comic books, has sparked enthusiasm among moviegoers. Fans are wearing Spider-Man costumes, artists are painting murals of Prabhakar, and speculation is rife about potential Bollywood stars for a live-action adaptation.
An Ode to Spider-Man: India Comics
Sharad Devarajan, a comic-book writer and TV producer, brought Prabhakar to life nearly two decades ago when he established Gotham Comics in India. He won the license to create Indian versions of Marvel and DC Comics, and localized Spider-Man to appeal to Indian fans. Prabhakar, who has a crush on a schoolmate named Meera Jain, gets his powers from a yogi, wears a traditional dhoti, and faces taunts for his rural background.
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The “Spider-Man: India” comics sold nearly a million copies over a few years, but Prabhakar was shelved after only four issues when the Marvel license expired.
His revival in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” has delighted fans, with the film grossing $2.8 million (₹23 crore) in its opening weekend in India, the highest debut for an animated film in the country.
The success of Pavitr Prabhakar’s story underscores the power of representation and cultural relevance in media.
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