Hall of Fame - Chandrakanta

LOTR ka Baap, Harry Potter ka Dada, ye hai apna Indian fantasy, Chandrakanta.

Hall of Fame - Chandrakanta

Tagged: bollywood, movies, Darth Nirius, TV, fantasy, literature

Posted in Articles By Darth Nirius

Jan 31st 2010, 21:13

13 years have passed, since the granddaddy of Indian fantasy was killed off, in a unceremonious rebuke. Since then many have come, many have tried, many have fought to take on the centrestage, to take on the monumental responsibility of representing an ancient India, one of magic and sorcery, of wars and heroes, and mysticism, to the modern generation. Many have tried, and one by one, they have all failed.

 

Hatim is gay. (No offense if you are gay, here gay is used as a synonym for lame.) It was much touted as the heir apparent, the new face of fantasy genre in India. Note to producer - If you are making a period fantasy, don't get a metrosexual, gilette-shaving, chest waxing protagonist. And if you must rip off characters from other epics, (which is not so bad... everyone does it these days), atleast be subtle about it. Don't name the hobbit inspired character Hobo!! And besides all these nuances, Hatim lacks the suspense of a realistic socio-political subplot, the grandeur of war... its more Harry Potter-ish fantasy than Lord of the Rings, kids fantasy.

 

No. None has yet been able to overthrow the dominance of Chandrakanta in Indian collective consciousness. It remains the greatest epic, perhaps after Ramayan, Mahabharata and Krishna but only so because it was pulled off the air unfinished, in the history of Indian television. The credible mixing of magic and non-magic elements of war, the espionage of the Ichhadharis, the Aiyyars.

Though the best two assets of the serial were :

  1. Kroor Singh - Kroor Singh belongs right up there in the high echelons of memorable supervillaindom along with Mogambo, Crime Master Gogo and Gabbar Singh. The spikey apparel, the black cape, the gravity defying hairstyle... not to forget his whiny alterego who kicks in when you smack the supervillain on the head.
  2. Chandrakanta - Supposedly who the serial was based on, the Helen of Vijaygarh, mesmerizing everyone with her beauty. The crucial role development, decided upon after a few episodes, that made her the pivotal character of the serial was to limit her role to the title song only. Viewers who missed the first few episodes would be hooked on the mystery of the plot just to see what Chandrakanta actually looks like.

 

Unfortunately this epic serial was pulled off the air from DD in 1996 and its last reruns on Sony and Star also ended by 2004. But as a testament to its greatness, Chandrakanta endured the test of time and is set to return once more. This time on the big screen. The movie is currently tiltled Talismaan. It is based on Chandrakanta and stars Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan. Rumour has it that Sanjay Dutt has also joined the cast. Although Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was pipped to be Chandrakanta, but unconfirmed sources say that the director wanted to stay true to the television series and therefore wanted someone less glamorous and eye-catching, preferably invisible to play Chandrakanta. Aishwarya is rumoured to have replied that she proved her flair for insignificant roles in Guru.

Anyway, expect the movie to be mind-blasting. The trailer is a cheesy 2 minutes showing the Amitabh Bachchan as a very impressive two faced Gandalf leading an army. And then before you wince at the memory of the lame-ass Mahabharata and Ramayana's MS-Paint special effects and painstakingly structured incomprehensible Hindi, the Big B shouts 'No War' (yes, in English) and summons flying Balrogs using his transparent sword. You can bet your last coin that this is going to be very interesting.

For the heralder of the genre of fantasy fiction in India, based on a novel written years before the Tolkeins and the Rowlings, yes, We salute you... Yakkooo!!!

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