“‘Rakshak’ film adaptation is the way to go for Indian Comics that has long been marginalised”: Shamik Dasgupta

Helmed by noted filmmaker Sanjay Gupta, Yali Dream Creations’ comics Rakshak is all set to come alive on big screens. Gupta (Shootout at Lokhandwala, Kaabil, Jazbaa and Shootout at Wadala fame) took to Twitter to announce that he’ll be directing the graphic novel into a “massive and ambitious” film, first of its kind in India.

Yali Dream Creations’ Rakshak had found loyal admirers since it came to life. Yali Creations creative director Shamik Dasgupta told AnimationXpress, “I came in touch with Sanjay Gupta when I was working with him on another project. At that time I pitched Rakshak to him. However due to his busy schedule, he was not able to read the whole four part series of Rakshak season one. During that time actor John Abraham also came to know of Rakshak. Presently, when I visited the sets of Mumbai Saga, Gupta Sir’s next movie, I met John once again, and it was him who suggested the idea of making Rakshak as a major motion picture to Gupta Sir. , who was finally able to read all the four parts. That’s when he showed keen interest in making it. After that Yali Dream Creations (publisher of Rakshak) sold the rights of the comics to Gupta Sir. This was a long journey comprising about two years, but finally we are very happy to collaborate with Gupta Sir to bring Rakshak into live action.

Going on floors at the later half of 2020, Gupta had spoken to a press publication about this Indian superhero genre to be underutilised in films, despite having great potential. He also added that Rakshak deeply resonates with the current scenario and fits in perfectly. The film adaptation is produced by White Feather Films and co-produced by Yali Dream Creations CEO and publisher of the graphic novel Asvin Srivatsangam, along with Vivek Rangachari.

Srivatsangam stated in an official statement, “We at Yali Dream Creations are extremely excited to collaborate with someone like of Sanjay Gupta on Rakshak. We feel that the film has found an ideal creator, hence we look forward to the partnership and the film, which is soon going into development.”

‘Rakshak’ Issue one and two

Rakshak is a vigilante sans superpowers, just like Batman, Punisher, Daredevil and others.  The uniqueness of Rakshak as a vigilante comes from the fact that he is an ex-Indian army (aka Captain Aditya Shergill) marine commando or MARCO, equivalent to the US Navy Seals. Having lost a limb serving his country, and having seen the worst in humanity, wounded both in body and soul, he wants nothing but to settle down with his family – sister, brother-in-law (who happens to be a white American) and his teenage niece, a comic book addict.

Like most vigilantes, his journey towards exacting justice is also rooted in a personal tragedy, akin to the great violent tragedy of the Nirbhaya Rape case in Delhi which shook the world. This tragedy drove him to the edge and he decided to take law in his own hands, partially because of the guilt of not being able to save his sister and brother-in-law and mostly because he wants to rekindle hope and motivation for his orphaned niece. Thus Shergill inspired from comic book superheroes, decides to don the mantle of Rakshak, the Protector.

‘Rakshak’ Issue three and four

Added Dasgupta, “The uniqueness of Rakshak is the ground reality on which it is based: what if a normal human being, working within the boundaries of a code of no killing, without the backing of billions of dollars, decides to take the law in his hands as a masked vigilante? How will the world react? What real life challenges will he face in his sojourn against injustice and crime? Rakshak is a dark, cerebral, yet elevating tale of one man who decided to stand up and say ‘No’.”

In times when the Hollywood film industry is thriving… and how, with plethora of superhero tales based on comics, Indian film industry mostly lacks homegrown superheroes or heroines. With Rakshak, we can hope Indian Comics to become big in theaters and turn out to be successful. 

Shamik Dasgupta

Dasgupta, elated on his comics Rakshak, paving the way, commented, “It is a fantastic feeling and with Gupta Sir directing the project, I feel the content is in very capable hands, since he is veteran in the Hindi film industry for two decades. This, according to me is the way to go. Only time will tell if this is the beginning. It will all depend on the success of Rakshak. So far, Indian comics has been marginalised to a niche fan base, once a live action adaptation happens from a major production house like White Feather Films, it will open the gateway. This is what has been happening in Hollywood for more than decades now and finally it is time that it happens in India as well. The bigger achievement is, Rakshak is going to be the first movie adapted from an existing content published as a graphic novel series. So far characters like Krrish, Baahubali and so on, are original creations of the filmmakers debuting as a film content only. This is the first time a published superhero is going to be adapted to the big screen like DC, Marvel and other American comic publishers. I strongly believe Indian comics and animation needs to come out of the trope of Mythology as a  crutch for any genre stories. We need to tell original stories which are pertinent to the present times and society.”

So movie buffs, ready to trigger your inner Rakshak?

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