A very loaded question! Shaktiman is the first Indian superhero on Indian television aired on Doordarshan since September 1997. The character’s name is Pandit Shastri ably played by Mukesh Khanna. The seven gurus of the Suryavanshi sect are determined to destroy the evil Tamraj Kilvish, but to do that they have to destroy all evil in the world first.
The gurus perform a religious ceremony to give Pandit Shastri yogic powers with the help of the five elements - fire, wind, water, earth and sky. Now, Shastri’s soul develops an indestructible body with super human powers.
Shaktiman – The personality:
Shaktiman can travel at lightening speed, change his size at will and he has telescopic vision. Parts of his body can separate into fire, wind, water, earth and sky whenever needed. Shaktiman can travel at the speed of light and shoot laser beams from his digits. His body is elastic and stretchable. He is a pro in various forms of martial arts. So there is nothing that Shaktiman cannot do!
The main villain, Tamraj Kilvish, wants to control the globe through hatred, evil and sin. Tamraj literally mean the “king of darkness”. Kilvish knows that only Shaktiman can destroy him. To protect himself he surrounds himself with equally evil minions:
Dr. Jackal – an expert in cloning and mutations,
Shalaka – a cat woman,
Sahab – a drug lord who lives another life as a good industrialist and Mayor named Kumar Ranjan,
Stoneman – who can and shoot stones from his body,
Electricman – who can shoot bolts of electricity from his body
Pandit Shastri is a reporter with “Aaj ki Aawaaz” a newspaper. Geeta Viswas is his colleague, but she has no knowledge of Shastri’s powers. To retain his super-powers, he has to remain focused on truth, goodness, kindness, etc. Therefore, although he loves Geeta he never tells her. Can there be another Shaktiman who can sacrifice his love for the good of humans?
Shaktiman’s fame and real-life impact:
The character of Shaktiman has become so famous that his sculpture has been installed in Nashik named “Powerful”; as the word shaktiman in Marathi language means powerful.
Shaktiman is invited to give lectures at children’s events on topics like truth, justice, importance of education, hygiene, patriotism, sincerity, etc. Of course, at such events Khanna has to specify that the stunts shown in the series are not to be imitated.
Shaktiman has inspired parallel businesses. Diamond Comics and Raj Comics have published comic books in English and Indian regional languages on Shaktiman’s adventures. Children’s costumes, stickers and toys of the various characters in the series are available.
Yoga, a wonderful form of exercise was not popular with children. But since Shaktiman is supposed to have developed superpowers through yoga and meditation, more children want to learn yoga today.
The original series has inspired two animated series:
•Shaktiman: The Animated Series aired by television channel Sonic,
•A 3D telefilm aired by the channel Nickelodeon India.
On Twitter, Shaktiman’s statistics are 3135 tweets, 59 following and 420 followers! Can any other character on Indian television match that? Seems doubtful! Can there be another Shaktiman?
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