The superhero makes a comeback with Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” set to release on June 2 across North America
When Indian kids first started watching the Spiderman series on television back in the 1980s, they would have never imagined a Desi Spiderman living in a futuristic mishmash of Manhattan and Mumbai on Earth-50101.
Pavitr Prabhakar, the Indian Spiderman who was first brought to life in a Marvel comic back in 2005, is now all set to make his Hollywood debut. The superhero makes a comeback with Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” set to release on June 2 across North America.
Read: India’s first masked female comic superhero back to fight covid (December 9, 2020)
The brand-new poster and promo of the superhero have just premiered.
The Desi Spiderman is not just another token character included for representation but comes with an impressive cultural context.
Watch the teaser:
Pavitr Prabhakar’s home is Mumbattan, a hybrid of Manhattan and Mumbai. And even though it exists in Earth-50101, the city is a kaleidoscopic hybrid which the makers describe as a mandala of patterns and colors. True to his background, Pavitr’s world is created in a way that only he is uniquely suited to navigate. To create this city, the creative team sought inspiration from the Indian Indrajal Comics line of the 1970s.
There are colorful glass-and-steel skyscrapers decorated like ancient stone temples across the city. Architecturally, this world combines the modern and the ancient and is a metropolis filled with diverse people. In a true tradition-meets-modern way, there are touches of traditional Indian culture, but the city and its people are very contemporary.
“For some of the film’s crew members who grew up in India, these were the formative comic books that they grew up with, and these comics shaped our ideas for what this world would look like,” says Indrajal Comics director Joaquim Dos. “For this world, we essentially hybridized Mumbai and Manhattan and emptied out the East River. So, the East River is this giant chasm where the city is sort of built and stacked down, levels upon levels. The way the Spiders move through that world is simply stunning.”
Actor Karan Soni of Deadpool fame, who is the voice of Pavitr Prabhakar, adds: “When we first meet him in the movie, he’s got it all going the way Miles doesn’t — he’s doing great in school, he has this very attractive girlfriend and he’s like making that work at the same time. He’s able to fight crime pretty easily and it seems like nothing is really concerning him. And then as the movie progresses, you realize that he’s about to experience the first potential, real tragedy in his timeline. And so, it’s a really cool arc of seeing this character grow up from being like a kid to becoming a full-fledged Spider-Man, with all the responsibilities and all the baggage, in his own sense.”
The production worked with visual consultant Naveen Selvanathan to help design this intriguing character.
“We drew inspiration from various art forms existing in India, ranging from Theyyam and Yakshagana dancers, temple architecture, henna patterns, and contemporary Indian fashions,” he says. “We thought about what in the diverse Indian culture would inspire this Spider-Man of Indian origin, and we wanted him to look like a fearsome yet nimble warrior. We tried to achieve it by coming up with a mask pattern that looks like the face of a spider, drawn in the Theyyam face-painting style and adorned his body with Indian-inspired spider motifs. I like how we did not go for obvious choices but did quite a bit of research to come up with all the cool cultural references, deep from within India. As an Indian, I feel lucky to have been a part in designing this character.”
Soni continues, “I think it’s so exciting that the movie is being dubbed in nine Indian languages. It’s just very exciting because I grew up in India, and we absolutely love Spider-Man. When it was announced that I was playing him, I cannot tell you how many messages I got from people. Firstly, they were just excited, and then there were a few more serious messages, saying mainly, ‘don’t mess this up.’ I don’t think we did!”