RETURN OF MR. SUPERMAN is the one of two 1960 Indian movies based on the superhero, the other simply titled SUPERMAN. Despite the same actor playing
Superman in each film, they were both completely separate tellings of the Superman saga put out by production companies (Mukul Pictures made SUPERMAN while
Manmohan Films made RETURN OF MR SUPERMAN)
RETURN OF MR SUPERMAN begins with a farmer who witnesses the crash of a strange aircraft. Out crawls a little boy who the farmer and his wife adopt as there own. The boy grows up to become a newspaper reporter in the city and, unbeknownst to his co-workers, doubles as the flying hero when a group of smugglers arrive.
Jairaj plays Superman and he does well enough, particularly when playing his mortal Kent Clark-like character. He was a leading man in the 1930s and 40s but looked young enough still to be playing the lead well into the 1960s. His superhero costume is made up of slacks, a heavy sweatshirt, a skull cap and goggles, looking more like someone getting ready for a mustard gas attack.
The Lois Lane character, here named Usha, is portrayed by the lovely Shiela Ramani. Ramani had a promising start in Hindi films in the mid 50s playing the leading lady in TAXI DRIVER and NAUKARI (both 1954), before her quick slide down into B movie oblivion with films like MUMTAZ MAHAL and JUNGLE KING. By the early 1960s she had left films which is too bad, she was quite a good actress.
Although the VCD I saw was missing at least 20 minutes of the film, it is safe to say that the RETURN OF MR SUPERMAN is more a curiousity then a real entertainer. The plot is non-existent and the fight scenes are so very poorly done to the point of being childish. Even the musical numbers are unmemorable. Of course the special effects are rather crude, but of course that is part of the charm of Bollywood fantasy films.
Even though the film is not a winner, it would still be nice to have a subtitled release, perhaps on a double or triple feature DVD with a couple of India's other Superman films, of which there were many over the years.