Let’s be honest, it’s not really the brown girls from Jersey City who save the world; when Kamala Khan says this the desi Indian millennial understands where this is coming from. We have grown up watching white people in superhero dresses waiting to save the world.
But here’s a twist in the tale. Marvel Studios’ latest offering Ms. Marvel is like us–Brown, Asian and courageous. A 16-year-old sassy Kamala played by Iman Vellani is a fan of Avengers; her favourite is Captain America. Here, the Muslim community finally has a superhero they can root for.
Like desi children, Kamala is dealing with relatable problems–convincing traditional parents to let her go out for AverngerCon, dealing with a strict mother, her family’s spiritual beliefs, and the problem of being a brown person in a white world. Somewhere in this process, she acquires superpowers and bang, your girl is out there to win the world and save her own. Ms. Marvel, Kamala gets the ability to extend her limbs, alter her appearance, and shift shape in several other manners.
This character comes as a revelation as for the first time the presentation of South Asians is on point. Like us, they discuss heartthrob SRK’s best work, they steal the groom’s shoes at a wedding and also shake a leg to express joy.
Someone who has grown up watching Bollywood movies knows that our love and ugliest heartbreak are incomplete without a song. Ms Marvel, brings yet another element of inclusiveness by bringing music and background score by our music legend AR Rahman. The series with six Indo-Pakistani songs has something for every music lover. Special mentions to the song playing at a wedding. Can there be anything more relatable!?
Writers Bisha Ali and Sana Amanat do not make it look like–it’s an interpretation from the White perspective, they craft the story of Asian-American with authenticity. South Asian women directors Meera Menon, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy give us a tale hand-crafted for us. This is no Apu from Simpsons–no reducing our diversity and ethnicity to generously sprinkle some comic value in a series.
Finally, we take a step towards an equal world, at least in a comic Universe.
You can watch Ms Marvel on Ms. Marvel on Disney+Hotstar.