Indian pride was on full display at Comic-Con’s Hall H in a thunderous, deafening panel to Project Kthe first Indian film to be shown not only at the pop culture convention, but also in the room that has hosted so many Hollywood films, including Marvel, Warner Bros./DC and Legendary’s monster pics.
The panel featured a who’s who of Indian superstars – Prabhas, Kamal Haasan, Amitabh Bachchan (via Zoom), veteran Bollywood producer C. Aswani Dutt – with each’s entry greeted with chants and shouts. It was a form of Beatlemania hysteria rarely seen in Hall H.
“Indian cinema is on the world stage,” said Rana Daggubati, another Indian actor and producer who served as the panel’s unofficial moderator and sat among the audience. Project K equipment. “We understood what global fandom means…but we thought, now we have to be in the middle of fandom, and Comic-Con is!”
The event began with a performance immersed in Indian culture as a line of drummers dressed in Indian costumes played an introduction while two lines of women holding candles made their way across the darkened hall and onto the stage for a ceremonial dance.
Project K then it was introduced to be called Kalki 2989-ADa science fiction epic that combines Indian mythology and Star Wars.
The trailer shown (see below) had the makings of popular Indian films, including the Oscar-winning culture trailer, RRR. It is over the top, heroic and epic. The crowd ate it up and, as soon as he finished, he began to sing for it to be repeated.
“What makes Indian cinema so great is the energy that our audience brings to our cinema,” Haason said. “We make the stories, they make the stars.”
Ashwin said the movie has been in the works for a long time. He took four years to prepare, then two years to film. Now expect a 2024 release.
He said that the mixture of mythology and science fiction made it “a different Indian film”.
“It’s still an Indian film at its core, it’s Indian mythology, our culture, being South Indian, being Telugu, being Indian, being a fan of Star WarsAll that love goes into this one thing. It’s a new kind of thing.”
The historic moment, and what it means for Indian cinema, was not lost on the filmmakers.
“This is a very proud moment for us,” said Swapna Dutt, the daughter of C. Aswani Dutt, who is a producer on the film. “This is something we haven’t dreamed of. There was Telugu cinema, then it became southern cinema, then Indian cinema. But bringing Indian cinema to Comic-Con is just amazing.”