“Superman” from southeast India

The Indian actor-director-producer Taraka Rama Rao Nandamuri (1923-1996) was the superstar of Telugu-language films in the 1950s through 1970s. (Telugu is a major language of India, spoken mainly in south central India, in and around the state of Andhra Pradesh.) Later he started a political party and became chief minister of Andhra Pradesh for about a decade starting in 1983, enjoying a lot of popular support.

But on YouTube, he is probably best known for starring in a curious Superman film released in 1980, when he was in his late 50s and looked something like an aging Elvis.

The foregoing clip is from near the end of the film and features some hilarious choreography and crude special effects that only add to the infectious cheerfulness. (Note, incidentally, the use of the English word “promise.” Occasional bits of English are often found in Indian cinema in various languages.)

The Internet Movie Database entry on the film in sparse but explains the H on Superman’s chest as standing for the god Hanuman. Unlike the original Superman, he’s from Earth rather than Krypton, and like Batman he’s motivated by having seen his parents killed — by cowboys! — in his childhood.

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