Stan Lee’s comic book hero Chakra The Invincible is getting a live-action Bollywood film, and now has a guide in Vikramaditya Motwane, director of the 2010 Cannes film Udaan. The Chakra The Invincible comics and 2013 animated film follow Raju Rai, a tech-savvy teen who unlocks the powerful chakras of the body by way of a technologically advanced suit. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will catch up with a slightly older Rai, as he grapples with nemesis Boss Yama.
Chakra The Invincible may be the first Indian superhero created by Stan Lee, but it isn’t the first Indian superhero story from Marvel. In 2004, Gotham Entertainment and Marvel Comics released Spider-Man: India, a retelling of the Spider-Man story with Pavitr Prabhakar as the web-slinger. Spider-Man India was released following the phenomenal success of the 2002 Spider-Man film in India.
Generally speaking, Marvel films are hugely successful in India, particularly Spider-Man films. And as far as Bollywood films go, action movies tend to dominate the box office. Krrish 3, a superhero film following Krishna Mehras’s superhero alter-ego, landed in the top-10 worldwide grossing Bollywood films, and the two installments before it were also wildly successful.
That said, in terms of box office success and audience reception, Bollywood superhero films have been something of a mixed bag. Though Krrish films have done really well, expensive films like Drona and Ra.One were flops. Interestingly enough, a 2011 film co-produced by Disney called Zokkomon was also a box office disaster. It would seem that India’s audience is hungry for superhero origin stories, but that some previous attempts have left audiences unsatisfied.
Stan Lee’s involvement in the project is a coup, in terms of name recognition and branding. Lee is popular in India and Chakra is clearly marketed as a Stan Lee creation. Given the mixed results of Bollywood superhero films, the involvement of Chakra’s famous creator in the process may well instill confidence in fans and moviegoers.
“I’m a fan of Bollywood films and am really excited about launching Chakra the Invincibleas my first Bollywood superhero movie,” said Lee in a statement. “Vikramaditya is an amazingly talented filmmaker who I have no doubt can make the Chakra film a massive hit in India and around the world. I only hope he remembers to include my cameo!”
There’s no release date set for the film, but for his part, Lee seems excited to be involved.