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Meet Priya, the tiger-riding superhero who fights off the evil in our society

The world is changing. And so are our heroes. Meet Priya, a tiger-riding, evil vanquishing superheroine from India. No more of the cliched “knight in shining amour”. This comic crusader is someone girls from the subcontinent can look up to and feel empowered. The first launch of the series was in December of 2014, exactly 2 years after the gruesome gang-rape of a young woman in Delhi.

Priya: The Origin Story

The first edition, Priya’s Shakhti, shows the origin story of Priya. She is a humble girl from a quaint village in India. In a horrible turn of events, Priya gets raped by men of her village. When she informs her family of the ordeal, her family shuns and ostracizes her. Instead of serving justice, the village elders blame her for provoking the men. Scared and lost, Priya flees to the forest to end her life. The goddess Parvati sees her plight and offers her retribution. Together, they confront the rapists and put an end to sexual violence. Priya, with her newfound powers, goes on to stop sexual violence and battle the stigma around rape and rape victims.

Priya And The Lost Girls: The Plot

In the second edition, Priya’s Mirror, Priya joins forces with acid-attack victims to combat acid attack on women. The third edition picks off right after. Priya returns home and finds that there are no girls left in her village. They have been trapped by the powerful sex-trafficker Rahu, an evil demon who runs an underground brothel. Priya mounts her flying tiger, Sahas, and approaches Rahu’s den. Like all superheroes, she fights the evil demon and defeats him. All the women who were forced to work as sex-workers were freed.

What is interesting is the fact the writer and creator, Ram Devineni, portrays the real challenge that most superhero comics do not; the societal scorn and stigma against sex-workers. He effectively shows how the current society makes it difficult for victims of sex-trafficking to integrate back into normal life.

The Impact

Storytelling is a very powerful tool. A story can help to change people’s hearts and shape their minds. The Priya comic series effectively addresses how survivors of sexual assault and violence are treated in society, especially in the Indian subcontinent. The core message is, the shame belongs to the attacker and not the survivor.

This open-world game is set in Dhaka and here’s everything you need to know

Agontuk is an open-world game with a story in a Bangladeshi setting. A daunting and ambitious project– M7 Productions and Attrito, two Bangladeshi companies, are coming up with the first-ever Bangladeshi open-world action-adventure game. The game has been under development for the past year and here is what we know so far–

The setting

Agontuk is an Open-World action-adventure that takes place in a re-imagined version of Dhaka. In the game, Dhaka is re-named to Dhacca. Initial photos of the game show an impressive world-building and details that remain true to the image of Dhaka. Models of CNGs, places like Sadarghat and prominent Dhaka streets are featured in the game. We are expecting attention to the details for these familiar sights. The game is still in the early stages of development and hopefully, it will only get better with time.

Agontuk, the game set in Dhaka: Here's everything you need to know

Release date

Nothing on the release date, yet. Premier of the trailer is said to be on 15th November. The release will presumably be announced after the premier.

Compatible platforms

PS4 and PC are the targeted platforms for this game. This will also be the first Bangladeshi-made game to be PS4 compatible. Since development is still undergoing, the PC specifications remain unreleased. The Unity Game Engine is being used to make Agontuk. The game will not be available for mobile phones.

We are looking forward to doing a beta testing of the game. Stay tuned for a review of the game and an exclusive with the team behind this project.

5 Bangladeshi superheroes you should know about

The age of superheroes is upon us. The last decade or so has seen almost as many comic book adaptations as the last century. Bangladeshi artists and storytellers may not be creating as much content as their western counterparts, but we can boast a couple of superheroes with roots in Bangladesh:

Shabash

Shabash, a parodycreated by Samir Rahman and Fahim Anzoom Rumman, satirizes superhero culture but uses its tropes against it. The atomic mango powered hero is often lazy and unmotivated. Shabash is more likely to take selfies, go on rickshaw rides than fight supervillains. Its sister title is more well known and deals with fighting social stigma.

Ms Shabash

The Magnum Opus of the duo, Ms Shabash is a world apart from the lazy Shabash. Shabnam, the investigative journalist, moonlights as the atomic mango powered superheroine who faces societal issues head on. Her alter ego rejects marriage proposals sternly, yet respectfully.

She battles villains like Whitewash, who gives herself superpowers through a lab accident. This is a nod to the struggle and stigma of being dark skinned in many Asian cultures such as Bangladesh.  Her fight with a battalion of robo-aunties via a dance-off was among the many memorable story lines and characteristic of the quirky but socially aware tone of the series.

Rishad

Created by HiFI Public’s very own Navid Hossain, and pencilled by Mehedi Haque, a legend of the Bangladeshi art scene. Rishad, 21, tries to leave home and make it on his own, but is stopped by destiny as he wakes up with a metal arm and a robotic eye. An epic tale of heroic-ism and deception follows. Hopefully a sequel is in the works, so we can see more of the gorgeous panels  

Enigma

Enigma is a character created by Paul Jenkins and Mark Buckingham, first appearing in Peter Parker: Spider-Man (vol. 2) issue #48.

Yes, THAT Spider-Man.

The young Tara Virango lived in the Bangladeshi village of Malpura when AGK inc. massacres the village by exposing it to a nano-virus that they were commissioned to make by the CIA. Tara survives the nano-virus, but lives with superhuman abilities. She moves to New York and adopts the alias Enigma, emulating a Buddhist goddess. Long story short, she and Spider-Man teams up and fights the evil AGK inc.

Even though she does not have her own comic, we hope that she is part of the wave of Marvel giving lesser known superheroes screen time (we can forsee a Netflix one-off appearance soon).

Read more: How to destroy your cinematic universe

Kali

Set in Dhaka, Kali is portrayed as a common woman with a vigilante alter-ego, roaming the streets fighting bad guys. Model-actress Azra Mahmood plays the titular role in the web series, which is directed by Amit Ashraf and released on the web platform Bioscope Live. By day, Amaya is a niqab wearing NGO worker, by night, an unmasked vigilante going by the name of Kali. Her commitment to fighting social injustice is motivated by her experience as a victim of an acid attack.

Special mention: Bizli

Bizli is a superhero that debuted in a movie of the same name this year in April. This was marketed as the first original superhero film written and produced in the country. Bizli, played by producer Bobby, is born with super powers like flight, super speed and lightning. Illiyas Kanchan plays her protective father, Dr. Alam. An evil scientist named Dr. Jerina, played by Shatabdi Roy, wants her powers for her own gains. While clichéd, the film is still the first big budget superhero movie made by a Bangladeshi, and so the efforts are applauded.

Honorable mention to the DC superhero Montpellier, appearing in three issues of The Shade, who was born in Bangladesh and later moved to Spain to become a superhero.

5 Bangladeshi superheroes you should know about 9

We hope to see so many more in the coming years!