Don’t-make-gods-(or superheroes)-out-of-mortal-men is the impression most critics will be left with after watching the first few episodes of Super V, an animated cartoon show based on the life of superstar cricketer Virat Kohli.
Already, children idolise Kohli – this show will only turbocharge that adulation. Think SRK in Ra.One.
And that is precisely the essence of Super V, a show which kids will love, and teenagers may find relatable in certain instances, but that’s about it.
The kicker here is the notion that you need to have superpowers to become someone special – that is a huge downer for teenagers dealing with adolescence. It has taken one of the world’s best cricketers, who has achieved so much on his own steam, and turns him into someone supernatural, making his achievements unattainable.
And that seems to be the most off-putting point of the show – why would you take a cricketer who is already touted as a superhero and then turn him into a fantastical superhero? Seems a little dehumanising.
And the message it sends is this – being talented or skillful is not enough! For teenagers dealing with adolescence and the attendant insecurities, this notion could amplify those feelings.
What’s ‘Super V’ About?
The show follows the life of a 15-year-old Virat Kohli who discovers his superpowers on his 15th birthday when his grandfather visits him in his dreams and tells him that he comes from a family of superheroes.
The show takes a few cues from Kohli’s actual life but then quickly deviates from it. He goes on to fight supervillains and save the world.
He does this while juggling a booming cricket career, his relationship with his parents, sister and friends, and, of course, his temperament.
With Virat Kohli being a public figure who has given numerous interviews from an early age, there are some definite similarities between Kohli and his comic counterpart, but in the show, the anger has definitely been toned down.
With animation quality at par with most Indian animated shows, Super V is intended for two types of target audiences, and I shall so divide this first-impressions review.
Children Are Going to Love It!
I repeat, children are going to love it, because the show has everything that kids look for in a TV show – a hero, the victory of good over evil, punishing a supervillain, lots and lots of action, and some innocent humour coupled with the “cool” factor.
And let’s not forget Virat Kohli.
Virat’s star factor and the superhero quotient will work hand-in-hand to make this show a particular favourite with kids.
The show’s intended objective is clearly to promote positive moral values in children – with its emphasis on dreaming big and following your passion, both traits exemplified in Kohli. On the flip side, it might also end up justifying some unpleasant behaviours such as lashing out at one’s parents, normalising anger issues, and also pulling off dangerous stunts like climbing a light stand (since the show does come without a statutory warning).“It’s a progressive show and that I think it is the most important thing for me. I think whatever you present out there, whether it’s in the form of an animated show or something else, there has to be a learning for someone in it, and that is exactly what ‘Super V’ is all about.”Virat Kohli, India Captain
The show also gives the audience a peek into Virat’s personal life, which I’m sure many would welcome.
Teenagers? Err, Maybe Not So Much
For teenagers, though, the innocent humour would be just plain boring, and they’ll probably be looking for a little more complexity and meaning than just a superhero defeating a supervillain.
There are also certain small instances in the show that might send the wrong message: Like when Virat’s sister is introduced, a little subscript scrolls along the bottom corner of the screen that reads “Why was she even born?”. Now, even though the message is intended to be a joke about sibling rivalry, as a teenager in a woke world, it could be completely misunderstood.
If you leave the superhero aspect of the show aside, teenagers might find relatability in the parts where an adolescent Virat deals with his parents or his colleagues (read: sledging), his sudden outbursts, and his whole lifestyle – though there are some cringe-worthy dialogues and actions.
For instance, the scene where Virat’s friends raps in front of the security guard to let them enter the stadium for Virat to meet his crush…
The animation itself isn’t too smooth and in feels amateurish in places. Music hasn’t been much of a priority in the first few episodes, and a good musical score would’ve made the show so much better. Super V has glossed over the kind of technical details that could’ve taken it to another level.
All in all, Super V is a show that will be well-received by about 50 percent of its intended audience – the kids.
As children rejoice and cheer their newfound superhero, teenagers will probably change the channel to find something more relatable.
Super V premieres on November 5, which marks the occasion of Virat Kohli’s 31st birthday, at 3.30 pm on Star Plus, Star Sports, Disney and Marvel HQ. If you are unable to catch it on television, the animated series will also stream on Hotstar.