The legend of Batman curiously transcends barriers of time and space, myth and reality, fact and fiction.
While a psychotic mass murderer from Colorado can get caught up in his very own perverse spectre of the Caped Crusader, audiences around the world are lured by the sheer flight of fancy the superhero has to offer.
The Dark Knight Rises, the final instalment of the trilogy based on Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego, not only lives up to the frenzy but resonates far beyond to truly encapsulate the global village of the 21st century. In an age where heroes must be flawed to ring true, Christopher Nolan’s film delivers on every count.
Intentionally, or otherwise, we are not subjected to a ubiquitous protagonist but one who is well in control of his male ego to allow his women screen time beyond their stereotypical Hollywood calling.
Christian Bale as Batman is in his comfort zone, so much so that he is happy to assume a peripheral role for a significant number of frames. He limps through much of the film before being incarcerated in a well for another long stretch, leaving Anne Hathaway’s Selina to pull off some incredible stunts in a sexy cat-suit.
The female characters are not only well-etched but centric to the entire plot, as is the omnipresent emotion called love.
And, this is where Batman takes a detour to Bollywood.
The long-suffering hero in hiding pines for his lost love until the love of a ‘good’ woman (Marion Cotillard’s Miranda) brings him back to his true evil-fighting genius. He hands over his empire to her for safe-keeping before setting off on his mission to destroy his nemesis, Bane (Tom Hardy).
The very simplicity of this story earns it a spot within the Indian cinematic genre; as it turns out the nasty villain is really just a pussycat, motivated by his own love for a diabolical woman.
Some may argue Selina’s urge to plant at least two quite ill-timed smackers on Batman’s lips derails the Bollywood analogy, but such confounding scenes fall well within our melodramatic sensibilities.
Nolan’s Bollywood credentials remain a mystery for now, but the only thing missing for him to have established it with The Dark Knight Rises was a song-and-dance sequence the moment Wayne successfully escapes his prison-well to the sight of the majestic Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur!
– Aditi Khanna
The author is the Senior Editor at www.indiaincorporated.com