Sorry Shaktimaan: Malayalam film director apologises to Mukesh Khanna for copying his costume

A few days ago, filmmaker Omar Lulu had shared a glimpse from his upcoming film Dhamaka, that had actor Mukesh in the garb of the much-loved Indian superhero Shaktimaan. The images of actor Mukesh as Shaktimaan went viral and inspired several memes as well.

However, this did not go down well with actor Mukesh Khanna who is the original Shaktimaan. The actor filed a complaint with FEFKA (Film Employees Federation of Kerala) against the director. He requested the union to stop the filmmaker from using the character in the film, failing which he would initiate legal action.

The director Omar Lulu, on coming to know about the complaint took to Instagram and apologised to Mukesh Khanna for using the character without his permission. He also said that the scene is only 10-seconds long and that he has huge respect and admiration for Shaktimaan.

Here’s what the Director wrote in his post:

“I was informed by FEFKA of your complaint about depicting Shaktimaan as one of the characters in my upcoming movie Dhamaka. I understand that you are the copyright holder of the character ‘Shaktimaan’, his costume; theme music etc. and I should not have tried to use it in my film without your permission. I sincerely apologize for the oversight and any inconvenience this might have caused you. Superhero references are popularly used in South Indian movies and so we inadvertently overlooked the copyright concerns. We intend to give due credit to you in the title credits of the movie.

I would also like to clarify a small misunderstanding in your complaint about the film. In my film Dhamaka, the actor Mukesh does not actually play the character of Shaktimaan. It is just a 10-second sequence in which a character visualizes Mukesh Sir (Actor of Dhamaka) as Shaktimaan for possessing extraordinary health and stamina for his elder age and that is the only part in the movie where the superhero appears. My writers had originally thought of Superman and I could not help changing it to Shaktimaan because generations of Indians were inspired by Shakthimaan since its inception in DD1 and I am a proud member of that fandom.

Shakthimaan was one of my favourite superheroes that made my childhood so exciting and I still cherish great love and adoration for your character. Malayali’s nostalgia is incomplete without the memories of Shaktimaan, the first Indian superhero of Television. You motivated young minds to harness superpowers from their own selves and fight against injustice in society and we are immensely grateful to you.

I hope you would accept this humble apology. I also hope this would bring to a close all the controversies in media surrounding this issue.

Sorry Shakthimaan.”

Your faithful fan

Omar Lulu

While talking to a daily, Omar said that the scene in question has Mukesh’s character jogging in a park and the youngsters there are impressed by his fitness and imagine him as Shaktimaan. The team is hoping to get permission from Mukesh Khanna. If not they will have to reshoot the scene. Meanwhile, Mukesh Khanna has said that he will make a decision after watching the scene.

Omar Lulu is the director of the Malayalam film Oru Adaar Love which was the debut film of actress Priya Prakash Warrier.