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#StanLee, Satyajit Ray & a Desi Superhero: When the Excelsior ‘Marvelled’ India!

“I’m a fan of Bollywood films and am really excited about launching Chakra the Invincible as my first Bollywood superhero movie. I only hope he remembers to include my cameo!”

Stan Lee, the legendary creator of iconic characters like Deadpool, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Panther and the Incredible Hulk, passed away on 12 November 2018.

Thousands of people across the globe have taken to social media to mourn the death of the fabulous comic book writer, editor, producer, and publisher.

Interestingly, even though his comics predominantly feature American heroes, Lee had also worked on Indian superheroes not once, but twice!

First released as a comic by Graphic India, Chakra—The Invincible is the story of Raju Rai, a young orphan living in Mumbai. Along with his mentor, Dr Singh, Raju wishes to explore the potential of humans using science. Together, the duo develops a technology suit that “activates the mystical chakras of the body.”

Chakra, Raju’s superhero alter ego, is fighting against the evil Agni, Kildune and their boss, Yama.

Chakra- The Invincible. Source: Graphic India/ Facebook.

Lee had borrowed heavily from Indian mythology, perhaps to ensure that the audience would connect well with Chakra’s fight. As is the case with many of his creations, Lee utilised the factors of an orphan as the superhero and a mentor to guide him in his aim to save the world from evil.

“Against the spectacular backdrop of the great Indian metropolis of Mumbai, we tell the incredible saga of Chakra, one of my latest and most exciting superhero creations, whose adventures will captivate audiences around the world,” Lee had said about his Indian creation.

Chakra also featured on Cartoon Network India as an animated series in 2013, and it was scheduled to make its Bollywood debut with Vikramaditya Motwani as director.

“I’m a fan of Bollywood films and am really excited about launching Chakra the Invincible as my first Bollywood superhero movie.

Two covers of the Spiderman: India series. Source: Marvel.

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!” Lee had said.

As heartbreaking as it is to know that this cameo will perhaps never happen, we cannot but hope that Lee might have some secrets in store to amaze his audience even after his death.

Chakra is not the only connection that Lee had with India. In fact, it was the legendary Satyajit Ray who had conceptualised an Indian avatar of Spider-Man.

Ray had travelled all the way to New York to meet with Lee to discuss an “Indian Spiderman” and Lee, quite unsurprisingly, was onboard with the idea.

Source: Baltimore Comic-Con/ Facebook.

Unfortunately, Ray passed away before “Pavitr Prabhakar” (the Indian version of Peter Parker) and his quest against the antagonistic “Nalin Oberoi” (Norman Osborn) could “marvel” the audiences.

Creators Sharad Devarajan, Suresh Seetharaman, and Jeevan J Kang came together to take this vision forward. Pavitr is a boy from a remote village who moves to Mumbai, and it is here that a Yogi grants him the powers of a spider to fight evil. The four-book series also featured characters like Aunt Maya, Uncle Bhim and Meera Jain. You can guess the names with the original American characters.


You may also like: Rise of the Superheroes: The Fascinating History of Comic Books In India


Today as we pay our respects to the man who has created a “marvellous” cinematic universe, it is fascinating to know that he was also quite enthusiastic about the Indian world of superheroes.

RIP, Mr Stan Lee!

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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