Let me begin with a statement Mr Rakesh Roshan made recently, “If I have a superhero in my film, then I can have a ‘superheroine’. I don’t think I can make a female-based film, as I believe the audience won’t accept that.”
Sorry sir but we'll have to agree to disagree about that!
Although I respect your opinion, I'm not quite satisfied by the manner you have put it across. We understand that Krrish as a franchise is reserved for your son, but saying that the audience is not ready for a female superhero is taking it for granted. One cannot simply hold the audience responsible to avoid a personal attack!
Even though Indian superheroes date back to comics and shows on DD, you made a movie that brought a desi superhero to life on the silver screen. When Krrish released in 2006, we were excited to see a full-blown western-style superhero movie come into being in Bollywood. It was something you introduced to the Indian audience at a time when we were happily satisfying our superhero cravings with whatever DC and Marvel had to offer.
If you could introduce us to a male superhero, without judging the audience's response, what makes you think a female superhero is someone our audience won't accept?
In fact, it was in Krrish 3 that we saw Kangana Ranaut's character turn into an antihero towards the end and the audience loved it.
Superhero movies are probably the only genre where gender stereotypes don't come into play. You are a superhero because you have superpowers, not because you're a man. This is a place where gender equality is exercised without making a big deal out of it.
If you have the powers, you join the gang and save the world!
It is this thought that backs the creation of superheroes and this is why I disagree with your statement.
Speaking of Krrish 3 specifically, it was heavily 'inspired' from Hollywood's superhero movies. Mystique became Kaya and Professor X was Kaal, apart from the many other 'coincidences.'
As a matter of fact, Hollywood superhero flicks borrow from comics that make for primary research material. If you also happen to get your hands on Hollywood's primary research material, you'll know that Iron Man's legacy now lies with his female successor Ironheart. The success of Jessica Jones' Netflix series also stands witness to a worldwide audience appreciating female superheroes.
We depend on Hollywood for content. They introduced Black superheroes like Luke Cage and Black Panther, which was never attempted before, because of preconceived notions that reserved superhero roles for White people only. That's progress!
Even if you don't like reading the comics, we as an audience stand proof to the huge popularity that characters like Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gained in India despite the presence of male characters.
Also, here's something that can make for great research material:
Moving on to the audience that you care so much about, a major chunk of it is made up of children. If you're trying to tell us that kids are not going to like a female superhero fighting off evil, you're grossly mistaken.
Children go for the thrill that these movies have to offer. The stunts, the action and the awe is what interests them. They don't quite care if there's a man delivering it or a woman.
Unless of course, you make only male superhero movies, which establishes a direct correlation between men and superheroes in the child's head, making it difficult for him/her to accept a female with superhero powers.
If you want me to break this down further, have you ever noticed that it's always adults debating about gender and not children?
India has always had female superheroes. Remember Shakti, Pralayanka, Black Cat or Chandika from Raj Comics?
Comics have a limited audience as compared to films. If that limited audience is considered as a sample for a pilot survey, then the acceptance of female superheroes becomes evident.
Speaking of Hindu mythology, we worship Durga and Kali who are symbols of ultimate power. Do you really think that as a population, we haven't accepted them? Of course, we have!
But then again, you have misjudged the audience to suit your own interests, or maybe those of your son's. You gave us our first superhero movie. It was a start and we are grateful to you for having done that. Introducing a female superhero could be another start and all the more empowering.