Though most of our childhood was spent reading X-men, Archies, Garfield and TinTin, we still had those moments where only a Tinkle would delight us, more often than not on a train trip. We have had our own set of desi heroes who have entertained us for decades and continue to do so. Yes, they are not global sensations or subjects of blockbuster movie franchises; and yet, they have made a difference in our lives by making us smile. Below is a list of the top 10 Indian Comic Book heroes.
10. Hawaldar Bahadur:
He was a constable in one of the most inept (yet functional) police forces in the comic book history, and he managed to catch mad scientists, dictators of Banana republics, dacoits or robbers quite easily (often with some supernatural help). His villains had funny names, his comics had funny names, his dialogues veered on the verge of being too vulgar for a comic book, but he managed to make you laugh.
Who does he remind us of? Remember Stanley Ipkis from the Mask? Say hello to the lovable loser in the league of Raj Comics heroes. His name literally means ‘Sorrow King’ or ‘Tragedy King’. Like Hawaldar Bahadur, he too does not have any supernatural powers of his own, but he is often aided by Yamunda, a magical Buffalo provided by his foster father Yamraj.
8. Super Commando Dhruv:
Now here is a hero with bare minimum ammunition. Dhruv carries only a few blades, some acid capsules and signal flares. He beats the bad guys by using the things around him, and – in bizarre encounters – using parts from his motorcycle. Even sand becomes deadly in Dhruv’s hands. Yes, the fine grains of sand.
Bankelal is a funny and famous comic book character published by Raj Comics. He first appeared in a comic book titled ‘Bankelal Ka Kamaal’. His story involves Gods, Demons and different worlds with funny names like Tataiyalok (Hornet world), Kankaallok (Skeleton world) etc. Not much of a hero, he is always making evil plans to get rid of his king, Vikram, but a curse twists the story each time. He plans bad but ends up benefitting people in the process; a misplaced hero.
Doga lives and operates in Mumbai. It’s a city whose ruthlessness he echoes in his actions, he imitates his adoptive city’s cruelty in his methods, and he knows what it would take to cure crime. Doga would not hesitate in breaking off the legs of a petty thief so it is anyone’s guess what he does to hardcore criminals and terrorists.
Arguably the longest running Indian action comic superhero, Nagraj is the principal action hero from the stables of Raj Comics. Created in the late 1980s by Sanjay Gupta, Nagraj has changed a lot in his 25 years in print, both in terms of looks as well as in stories. Originally raised as the world’s greatest criminal, Nagraj’s life was altered to the effect that he started making efforts to end crime and terror from the world. In his normal life he works as a PR officer for a news channel secretly owned by him.
Pinki is an unintentionally naughty female kid of the Diamond Comics house. The character of Pinki resembles American comic character, Dennis the Menace, who is mischievous and creates a lot of trouble for his neighbour, Mr. Wilson. Jhaptji, Pinki’s close neighbor, is much annoyed with her antics. Pinki has also been featured in several issues of Chacha Chaudhary and Billoo comic series.
Bhokal is one of the most successful comic characters in India. He is an ancient warrior prince who descended on earth as an angel, went to a city named Vikasnagar and became a zealous defender of the interests of the place. This one is must read for all those who like their heroes to be sword wielding Princes and fairy-tale romances. In that regard Bhokal is quite the ladies man.
A production of the lesser known Tulsi Comics, Angara tells the story of a man, scientifically made from animal body parts but without losing the colour and shape of humans. His skin is made from a Rhino’s body, which makes him bullet proof; his brain is that of a fox, which makes him extremely intelligent; his eyes are of a vulture’s (sharpness), heart of a lion (courage) and the body of a gorilla (strength). He was born to save animals and known as a savior of wildlife. It is an interesting read with the American Army put in the plot.
1. Chacha Chaudhary:
Chacha Chaudhary is the most popular Indian comic book character. Chacha Chaudhary is an old man, who mind “works faster than a computer”. A creation of illustrious cartoonist Pran, Chacha Chaudhary debuted in 1971 and went on to become one of the most successful Indian comic characters. He is aided in his missions by his companion from Jupiter, Sabu, and often by Rocket, his faithful dog.