Until the mid eighties, the costumed superhero as we know him in the West was a figure largely absent from Indian cinema. The primary exceptions were those intermittent attempts to appropriate the Superman character that seem to dot the history of modern South Asian film. Yet in the neon decade the industry seemed to see something of a mini renaissance in the appearance of such characters. Superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s attempts to revive his career after his less-than-stellar turn in Indian politics included two portrayals of caped crusaders. And, most famously, there was that same year’s mega-hit, Mr. India used his powers to defeat the enemies of his country. But before all of these there came another film based around the exploits of a costumed hero of superhuman abilities, 1985’s Shiva Ka Insaaf.

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