By Avinash Lohana – Mumbai Mirror – 27th Dec, 2019.
Mirror had earlier reported (April 16) that Ronnie Screwvala will produce The Immortal Ashwatthama, an action-based superhero film set in modern times with Vicky Kaushal in the titular role and Aditya Dhar as director. We have now learnt that the producer is gearing up to back another superhero film, which will revolve around the American adventure comic strip The Phantom, a fictional crime-fighter who operates from the fictional African country of Bangalla.
It will be directed by Vasan Bala, who had steered this years’ action-comedy Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, with debutant Abhimanyu Dassani as a self-appointed vigilante. The film won the People’s Choice Award: Midnight Madness at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. According to a source close to the development, as a fan of the comic series, Vasan had been toying with the idea of making a film on it and Ronnie came on board instantly after hearing the idea. “They have the official screen adaptation rights. Vasan has begun researching on the subject and will soon start developing the script, after which he will approach actors for the central roles. The film is expected to roll out in the second half of 2020,” the source shared.
First published by Lee Falk, the series began as a daily newspaper strip on February 17, 1936 and was followed by a colour Sunday strip on May 28, 1939. The character has been adapted for television, film and video games. Unlike other superheroes, The Phantom has no superpowers and completely relies on his strength, intelligence and the myth of his immortality to fight evil.
The film joins the growing list of upcoming superhero films, which includes the Hrithik Roshan-starrer Krrish 4 and Ayan Mukerji’s Brahmastra, which is fronted by Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. Sanjay Gupta recently acquired the rights of Rakshak, a graphic novel about a vigilante superhero, which will be made into a feature film directed by him.
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