Cult cinema

King Kong, born in the USA and happily adopted the world over, including by India

The giant ape that fell in love with a woman was a product of 1930s Hollywood and travelled widely, including to our shores.

The March 10 release Kong: Skull Island resurrects the giant ape that was first seen on the screen in 1933. Several countries have adopted the monstrous creature who loses his life because of love, including India.

Ever since the Hollywood production King Kong, there have been numerous adaptations of the gargantuan ape’s fateful encounter with a beautiful young woman – the first of which was in the same year of its release. Japan’s Shochiku Studios produced Japanese King Kong (1933) and King Kong in Edo (1938). The second title located the ape in the samurai era.

The other major Japanese studio, Toho, pitted Kong in a contest with the homegrown monster Godzilla in 1962. King Kong vs Godzilla was a major hit, and led to a series of crossover appearances for the ape. He featured in the Japanese production King Kong Escapes (1967), in which he faced his mechanical nemesis Mechani-Kong, a character that first appeared in the animated series The King Kong Show.

King Kong Escapes (1967).

Hollywood too sent off Kong in different directions. In 1961, Konga saw a villainous doctor’s experiment turning a baby chimp into a killer ape that turned on his creator and other victims before finally being stopped.

Konga (1961).

The central Kong iconography – a prehistoric creature that is lured out of its natural habitat and turns on civilisation – travelled to other film industries over the years. South Korea produced its version called Ape (1976), in which the giant primate rampaged across Seoul. Hong Kong joined the club too with The Mighty Peking Man (1977), in which the ape, named Utam, had a beautiful female companion and an evil businessman as its adversary.

The Mighty Peking Man (1977).

Parodies followed too, such as King Kung Fu (1976), in which a gigantic gorilla with kung fu skills laid waste to Kansas. King Kong Lives (1986) featured a female ape and was a sequel to the successful reboot from 1976, featuring Jessica Lange as the blonde woman who caught the ape’s eye.

King Kung Fu (1976).

India wasn’t far behind in acknowledging the undeniable attraction of massive monsters. In 1966, Balwant B Dave’s Gogola saw the irate cousin of the Japanese Godzilla throw Mumbai out of gear. Before Gogola came King Kong’s Indian cousin, Otango, in the 1963 movie Shikari.

Shikari (1963).
Shikari (1963).

Ajit, KN Singh and Madan Puri played pivotal roles in the local version, directed by Mohammed Hussain. The filmmaker had several stunt films and B-adventures to his credit, including Diler Detective (1948), Superman (1960) and CID 909 (1967).

Singh was the mad scientist Cyclops, who created Otango; Puri was the nasty businessman who wanted to commercially exploit Otango; Ajit played the dashing hunter who helped the team capture Otango while falling in love with Ragini, a circus owner’s daughter.

Shikari (1963).
Shikari (1963).

Shikari could have been a good Indian version of King Kong, but it failed mainly because Otango didn’t get enough screen time. Too much attention was devoted to the romance between the leads. The movie did pick up in the scenes featuring Cyclops and had hummable songs, but the overall premise was wasted.

Despite its flaws, Shikari is enjoyable mainly because of the troika of Bollywood’s leading evil men of the period. Mainstream Bollywood hasn’t attempted anything like this – for movies that celebrate size and scale, we have Baahubali.

Shikari (1963).
Shikari (1963).
We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

When did we start parenting our parents?

As our parents grow older, our ‘adulting’ skills are tested like never before.

From answering every homework question to killing every monster under the bed, from soothing every wound with care to crushing anxiety by just the sound of their voice - parents understandably seemed like invincible, know-it-all superheroes all our childhood. It’s no wonder then that reality hits all of a sudden, the first time a parent falls and suffers a slip disc, or wears a thick pair of spectacles to read a restaurant menu - our parents are growing old, and older. It’s a slow process as our parents turn from superheroes to...human.

And just as slow to evolve are the dynamics of our relationship with them. Once upon a time, a peck on the cheek was a frequent ritual. As were handmade birthday cards every year from the artistically inclined, or declaring parents as ‘My Hero’ in school essays. Every parent-child duo could boast of an affectionate ritual - movie nights, cooking Sundays, reading favourite books together etc. The changed dynamic is indeed the most visible in the way we express our affection.

The affection is now expressed in more mature, more subtle ways - ways that mimics that of our own parents’ a lot. When did we start parenting our parents? Was it the first time we offered to foot the electricity bill, or drove them to the doctor, or dragged them along on a much-needed morning walk? Little did we know those innocent acts were but a start of a gradual role reversal.

In adulthood, children’s affection for their parents takes on a sense of responsibility. It includes everything from teaching them how to use smartphones effectively and contributing to family finances to tracking doctor’s appointments and ensuring medicine compliance. Worry and concern, though evidence of love, tend to largely replace old-fashioned patterns of affection between parents and children as the latter grow up.

It’s something that can be easily rectified, though. Start at the simplest - the old-fashioned peck on the cheek. When was the last time you gave your mom or dad a peck on the cheek like a spontaneous five-year-old - for no reason at all? Young parents can take their own children’s behaviour available as inspiration.

As young parents come to understand the responsibilities associated with caring for their parents, they also come to realise that they wouldn’t want their children to go through the same challenges. Creating a safe and secure environment for your family can help you strike a balance between the loving child in you and the caring, responsible adult that you are. A good life insurance plan can help families deal with unforeseen health crises by providing protection against financial loss. Having assurance of a measure of financial security for family can help ease financial tensions considerably, leaving you to focus on being a caring, affectionate child. Moreover,you can eliminate some of the worry for your children when they grow up – as the video below shows.


To learn more about life insurance plans available for your family, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.