For Indian fans of superhero franchise Spider-Man, it’s a delight to spot Hollywood actor Robert Downey Jr in a kurta pyjama at a traditional Indian wedding in a scene from its new version Spider-Man: Homecoming, which seems to have embraced diversity. Whether it is Downey Jr, a turbaned student in a scene, or an Asian sidekick for actor Tom Holland — the latest version of the superhero tale swings in the diversity way, justified by the presence of an ethically diverse cast including Laura Harrier, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon and Tony Revolori. This is balanced with a white cast. Zendaya, who rose to fame as a Disney star with the series “Shake It Up!”, says this is one reason why she got attracted towards the Sony Pictures Entertainment film, which released in India on Friday.
“I love being part of the movie because of the diversity that it brings to the table. It’s time (to open doors for people of colour in the industry),” Zendaya said. British actor Holland, 20, was introduced as Spider-Man last year in Captain America: Civil War, and got his first solo movie as the web slinger with Spider-Man: Homecoming. He dropped hints about a ‘big Indian reference’ in the new film, and was seen matching to the tunes of popular Hindi song “Eespiderman, eespiderman, tune churaya mere dil ka chain”. In fact, he went on to express his desire to swing into the Indian cinema as the superhero in the ‘desi’ version of the film too.
The audience was pleasantly surprised to see how the makers had infused a bit of Indian culture in the film with Hollywood’s Iron Man Downey Jr hobnobbing at a wedding, and getting an essence of ‘desi’ celebrations with sari-clad women and ‘genda phool’ (marigold) in abundance. US-based Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige had teased the Indian reference in the film, in an interview back in 2016. The scene is not shot in India, as Feige had reasoned then that it doesn’t suit the budget to get the whole crew and cast to the country for just one scene. If one talks about the film, which released in India in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, the presence of popular superheroes Iron Man and Captain America (essayed by Chris Evans) to guide Peter Parker (Holland) in figuring out the life of a superhero, and helping him on the way, adds to the star value of the film.
But director Jon Watts has not got carried away, and has established the world of the new Spider-Man as a teenager. He has got the struggles of a school going student in coping with the role of a superhero and the responsibility of saving the world instead of pursuing a girl and going to the dance night – unlike the rest of his friends – in a simple but intriguing way. What’s the hook point apart from the ‘desi’ things? The point when Peter Parker comes to terms with his alter ego as the superhero – with the scene portrayed aptly through a reflection from a puddle showing half of his face and half the mask. And how can a Marvel movie end without setting up the plot of the next? So, don’t just walk out of the theatre after the climax, and wait for the end credits.