While the western world churns out one superhero after another on a periodic basis, the eastern side of it has fallen way behind is what I feel. We had a rich heritage, rich being putting it mildly. Our fore fathers had such vivid imagination that when people on the other side of the planet where busy pillaging and looting they sat in quiet enivrons and created one blockbuster after another of a story. Starting with the puranas, bagavatham, ramayan and mahabharath inclusive, couldn't think of any other culture to have such a wide line up of awesome stories. And the best part is, like a never ending mega serial, each of those stories had a link story, a flash back, a why-it-happened like that premise and everything were neatly framed into a loop. Its amazing to even think of how many people would've co-authored the script, over whatever period of time and yet having a coherent screenplay. No character was bad and even their bad attitude will have a positive spin that, they were good but their greed/lust/arrogance was put to rest by a curse, which again would be a show of anger on the side of the curser and in the end, as like police in our movies, god will intervene and everyone will happily go to meditate or do penance.
While the people on the other side of the planet, created their own legends and myths by enriching meek and ordinary humans with extraordinary powers, they still had it very clear that, they are all humans to being with and the power that was bestowed on them was an extension and more of an alter ego than anything else. They were worshipped and idolised and made immortal in all forms possible, but the underlining aspect that the caped crusader or the masked messiah were all human was never lost on them. Unlike us, who made god out of the characters that were created. Our Raman and Hanuman where literally Ra"god" and Hanu"god". Any character with a holier than thou personality, we conveniently tagged them as god and distanced ourselves from them. Yes. Agreed they are all divine qualities. But by making god out of them, the fun aspect and the chance to really understand them as what they were meant to be got lost. When there were no television or radio or comics or novels or newspapers, our ancestors came up with this brilliant form to educate people. The imaginative of the lot cooked up stories, the creative propagated them and the crazy and lazy made god out of them.
The results are all to be seen on the silver screen. Till date not a single superhero movie or script has come up good in our box office. We still believe that only an Amitabh Bachchan or a Rajinikanth, who are nothing short of demi-gods, can bash up an army of villains in one punch and celebrate it with much more vigour and passion than a Batman or Superman fanatic. We know more trivia about the personal life of our stars, than a comicon geek. For even Star trek to survive here, it needs to be remade as one with Chiranjeevi fighting evil tantric for immortality. We have surrendered all the superpower to the gods and there is nothing more left for us to protect America from alien attack to terrorists..err..i meant world in general. (Blame it on Hollywood!!).
Just look at the army of characters that our ancestors have created. One with 6 heads, one with head transplant of an elephant, one who sleeps on snakes that which has a thousand heads and rests on an ocean of milk, one with an eye on his forehead and whose wife shares half his body, one with four heads and the list is endless. We have gods in all colors and flavors and varieties that there is more than one option for every mood and choice of ours. For those who like dark characters with a shade of grey, they got plenty. For fun lovers there are scores of them and for the noble and pious, you got a big bucket list. But why there are none now?? Why did it stop altogether? May be the fear that whatever blockbuster story that we create might end up as a new god? Or has people gone tired of the 3 billion characters that are already lined up and doesn't want to add to that list?
I strongly believe, stories are not just meant to entertain and educate. They are the real pillars of any civilization or culture. Rather than digging up sites looking for tonnes of dreamt up mythical gold, ASI would do well to hire a bunch of researchers to read through our stories and come up with thesis on their underlying meaning or probably even re write some to suit today's world. The real gold is out there in them.