The other day I was laughing at my fauji husband, “kids being crazy about these fiction super heroes is well understood but I your excitement, I find it completely ridiculous “ I told him. I was cribbing at the back of my mind as we boarded the SUV to drive all the way 150 kms to GIP, Noida just to watch a stupid comic movie. More so because he had also included my name in the audience list of the pre booked ticket ensuring that I don’t spend much time on shopping. Absolutely with no interest I entered screen 4 to watch Avengers: The Endgame. However, I will be honest to admit that along with jam packed audience, I too stayed glued and immersed to the screen for entire three hours. I was watching Marvel movies for the first time. It was not that I was completely awed by those super humans, but it brought back beautiful memories of my carefree childhood days.
Some 30 years back I was rallied and led to dreamy world of good and evil and super humans and super villains. Today, I was watching something on screen that was very similar to mythological stories that my grandfather narrated when I was young. I could recall that every night we eagerly waited for dinner to get over and grandpa’s story telling session to begin. These tales were from the era of Asura-Deva wars, Mahabharata, Ramayana and from various Puranas. Marvel characters on screen had such striking resemblance to the mythological super humans of ancient India. Almost similar super human physiology, agility, strength and abilities with only difference that they were in western attire and lived in a high tech era. And my children knew every minute detail of Marvel heroes but have little or no clue about our own mythological super humans.
I was watching Marvel movies for the first time. It was not that I was completely awed by those super humans, but it brought back beautiful memories of my carefree childhood days.
As I walked out of theatre, my mind was constantly co-relating many Asuras (Villains) of Indian mythology with Thanos, the super villain of Marvel fame, who nurtured a similar dream to control and rule the world through evil designs. On the contrary, Marvel superheroes like Captain America, Iron man, Thor, Captain Marvel etc in Indian context were called Devas (heavenly superhuman). Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti, Rama, Krishna, Hanuman, came to the rescue of mankind from time to time and defeated evil. One such story about Nishumbha and Sumba goes like this that Brahma, the creator of the world (in Hindu Mythology) pleased by severe penance by demons granted them the power to rule over three worlds (Akash, Patal and Dharti). Their evil deeds caused destruction of human civilization. Parvati (Shiva’s consort) took the avatar of ‘Mahakali’ and destroyed him and saved humanity.
Explore: Women and Indian Mythology by Kavita Kane
There are numerous living stories of such superheroes in our mythological texts, which unfortunately our children will not remember unless it is told (read sold) to them in a manner they understand today. Perhaps Hanumana’s feats need to be portrayed at par with Marvel heroes. Vishnu’s avatar of ‘Mohini’ to destroy Bhasmasur, the demon who had the power to turn anyone into ashes by simply putting his hand on their head needs to be retold in modern terms. Narkasur, who created havoc on earth and in heavens was destroyed by Krishna’s sudershan chakra (cosmic disc) needs to be recreated in a manner the West portrays fiction with scientific touch. Captain America’s shield appeals to kids of this generation. Ramayana and Mahabharata should be revised and recreated to be understood by ever changing generation. I certainly enjoyed the epics produced by Ramananda Sagar during our growing up years. It may not find audience in the present generation. Our children must not miss out the glory of our own mythological past just because they do not have grandpa’s and grand ma’s storytelling sessions.
Views are the author’s own