Amitabh Bachchan, Bollywood’s angry not-so-young man has had many achievements under his belt since he started his career in 1969. He has romanced many a leading lady and fought almost all the main villains Bollywood has had to offer in the last five decades.
Big B has made us laugh, cry and even dance along to his kajra re naina and sohna roop. We have seen him grace magazine covers, appear on talk shows, and even gather an entire nation to pray for him when he fell and injured himself on the set of Coolie in 1982.
But what many may not have seen or known, is that he was also a superhero in a comic. Yes, you read that right, there was a comic called Supremo. Bachchan’s character comes complete with a human sidekick with broken English, Sonali the golden whale that helps protects the ocean, Shaheen, the swift falcon and an occasional visit from Sheru, the, you guessed it, lion. Some of the names used were nods to Bachchan’s movies.
The comics came about after then India Book House Publisher Pammi Bakshi got the idea after she heard some children playing pretend. She then met Amitabh Bachchan on the sets of Randhir Kapoor-starrer Pukar in 1983, where she pitched the idea to him for approval. Randhir affectionately called Bachchan Supremo after he heard the idea and the name stuck.
Bakshi then proceeded to bring in poet Gulzar for the script, Amar Chitra Katha and Pratap Mulick o work as the illustrator and art director. Part Dr Doolittle, part Sherlock and part Hercules, Supremo relied on his brains and brawn in equal measure to crack cases.
The comics were printed in both Hindi and English and to build intrigue featured a handwritten note at the start, asking children not to give away Bachchan’s actual identity.
Other reel-life references included Bachchan’s character being referred to as an ‘angry young man’, his father’s poetry being included and a young boy also singing My Name is Anthony Gonsalves — a hit from the 1977 film Amar Akbar Anthony — and a kidnapper imitating the actor’s iconic coin toss from the Ramesh Sippy-directed blockbuster Sholay (1957).
Would you read the comic if it was created today? Tell us in the comments below.