Desi superwomen pack a punch

  • Neha Malude, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 19, 2015 14:48 IST

Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes - so what if it's a beefy, sari-clad Maharashtrian woman who thinks nothing of wielding a Katana to fight corporate evil and corruption in the society, all the while hurling classic cuss words?

Mumbai-based Abhijeet Kini's Angry Maushi is as 'hatke' as they come. And she isn't the only woman comic superhero to grab the spotlight. Maushi, along with Ram Devineni's Priya's Shakti and Shekhar Kapur's Devi form an intimidating troupe of women who are taking on the bad guys.

While Devi, a character inspired by Durga, is a warrior goddess created by the gods reborn in a futuristic setting, Priya's Shakti and Angry Maushi tackle social issues like the stigma of rape and corruption, respectively. Kini, however, doesn't think her a superhero.

Angry Maushi is counted among other revolutionary titles with social angles

"It feels good that Angry Maushi is counted among other revolutionary titles with social angles. It's not entirely a 'superhero' concept. She is a reflection of an everyday Mumbaikar, and the kind of frustrations he or she lives with. It is a socio-political satire. She is just an ordinary, angry woman who takes on the system," he says.

Another graphic comic, the protagonist of which is an 'everyday' woman, is Priya's Shakti, a character based on the 2012 Delhi gang rape that shook the country. Although Devineni wanted to make a documentary, he thought the topic was too sensitive for the narrative form.

"I wanted to create a new Indian superhero - Priya, who is a rape survivor and through the power of persuasion, she motivates people to change and not shame the survivor," says Devineni, who uses mythological figures, Shiva and Parvati, to give Priya the courage she needs.

Priya's Shakti is a character based on the 2012 Delhi gang rape

Of course, dealing with a serious subject doesn't mean you can't have humour. Maushi, for example, loves vada paav and batate pohe.

"I set out to create a satirical point of view, so there was no better way than humour to go with it," says Kini, adding that if he had to team her with another superhero, it would have to be Deadpool. "Both are motormouths. And both love to kick butt!"

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