Whether it is the cast, the script or the screenplay, The Dark Knight Trilogy has ruled the box office, as well as our hearts for a while. The sheer brilliance of Nolan, the genius of Heath Ledger and the gallant, low-register, frightening voice of Christian Bale’s Batman was beyond par in the Dark Knight Trilogy and culminated into becoming one of the best trilogies in the history of cinema. While we cherish and try to relive few of those special moments with the current set of actors (except for the Batman probably), we certainly miss the old cast of The Dark Knight Trilogy.
Some way or the other, the cast was perfectly set and settled for each other and we kinda hoped and appreciated that it would continue doing so until the ‘Dawn of Justice’ happened. Regardless, imagination has always been seamless and multifaceted, so is the cast and crew that can be redrawn in an imaginary canvas with a different set of actors put together. And who are we kidding, we never would have imagined Ben Affleck as Batman while Christian Bale was still shooting for ‘The Dark Knight’. If not for us, even Ben Affleck himself wouldn’t have.
Casting actors of a different ethnicity or demographic are capable of drastically changing the course of the movie, sometimes in a very unsettling way. The idea is to strike a fine balance between talent and the needs of the role. Here’s the list of Indian actors who could successfully and popularly resurrect The Dark Knight Trilogy with a twist, if given a chance. Even a bleak non-existent one at that.
Warning: Spoiler Alert!
13. Boman Irani as Ra’s al Ghul/Henri Ducard
The shadowy and domineering mercenary and an elite of the League of Assassins, Ra’s al Ghul has succeeded in giving sleepless nights to Batman, yet while making him what he has always been. The role of the mentor turned antagonist could be played by none better than Boman Irani. I certainly believe in his coherent approach towards acting as well as his versatility in similar roles. Someone we’ve been raring to see, right after perhaps only to Batman and The Joker.
12. Naseeruddin Shah as James W. “Jim” Gordon
The one other GCPD cop to make it to the list, Commissioner Gordon is portrayed by Gary Oldman in a rather epic way, so I sort of would say no match has been found yet for this role. Regardless, if I were to cast an Indian to fill in his shoes, I would cast the extremely talented stage artist Naseeruddin Shah for the role. Not only Naseeruddin has been an analogical stalwart in his profession like Gary, his no-nonsensical approach and straightforward performances would make his competitors run for their money.
11. Parikshit Sahni as Alfred J. Pennyworth
Michael Caine has always been the old, just, soft-spoken and wise-manly Alfred for us since the beginning of time. His timing and his quirk, along with his frugality have impressed us all. If I were to cast an Indian for the role, I wouldn’t hesitate in calling for Parikshit Sahni for the role. If not only for the resemblance, which cannot be always matched perfectly, Parikshit’s acting prowess, experience over the years and his spontaneity will do a commendable job, along with his similar roles in many previous Bollywood movies.
10. Amitabh Bachchan as Lucius Fox
The Businessman-Inventor and a talented advisor and confidante to Bruce Wayne, and probably one of the few handful who knows the Batman’s identity, Morgan Freeman cannot be surpassed by anybody for the role. His appetite for narration and the complacency does most of the hard work while Bruce Wayne puts down his cards on the table. Lucius Fox’s narrative of being a straightforward, unflinching persona can be relived on the big screen only by one Indian that is Amitabh Bachchan. Not just the resemblance is nearly apt, the less-talkative, under the shadow and sometimes wary character of Lucius agrees with Mr Bachchan’s voice, principles, the way of narration and to an extent, his age. While I had considered Nana Patekar and Naseeruddin Shah for the role as well, I found the “zenith” of Mr Bachchan absolutely mesmerizing.
9. Arjun Rampal as Scarecrow / Dr Jonathan Crane
The spontaneous and crazy Scarecrow, who dons a different ‘avatar’ while unprovoked, is the package of fear, hallucinations and nightmares for his victims or enemies. Someone who left Batman in jitters before the latter could figure out the antidote to his chemical weapons, Scarecrow is an abominable spiteful character of The Dark Knight trilogy. Though Cillian Murphy was quite impressive and unpredictable in his role, Arjun Rampal can probably exploit the so-far unused hand-to-hand combat skills and eerily daunting looks. A confrontation between Batman and Scarecrow won’t just be limited to spewing poisonous gases and countering them but would explore many other possibilities.
8. Aamir Khan as Bane
I’ve said this before and will reiterate yet again – Aamir Khan for Bane is as apt as Tom Hardy is. The Bollywood’s perfectionist could pull some strings to be on the meaner, more arrogant and formidable side, which he would do if it comes to be. The clash of the titans, involving Bane and Batman would witness the same intensity and grit as what we had seen in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Add in a few monologues from under the mask and everything becomes legendary. Hopefully, Gotham will endure and survive in the end.
7. Emran Hashmi as Robin / John Blake
Again, the other time I had chosen Emraan Hashmi for the role of the sidekick. Yet another time, I don’t see a better fitment than Emraan in terms of “being” a supportive collaborator to Commissioner Gordon or to the Batman, who probably knows Bruce Wayne’s well-kept secret before his close aides themselves, like Gordon. Emraan Hashmi has played a few serious roles previously and also a cop’s role (if it helps), is equally good at action sequences and romance alike. DC could land him an opportunity of his lifetime by giving him the role of John Blake, which would cement him further as the talented actor he’s always purported to be.
6. Prithviraj Sukumaran as Two-Face / Harvey Dent
Someone with a lot of disorders, the OCD, the Dissociative Identity Disorder, the Bipolar disorder has to be outright crazy and tenable for starters. Aptly portrayed by Aaron Eckhart, Two-Face has a lot of stakes resting on chances, as he goes on a killing spree whilst flipping his own coin. Two-Face is a one-of-its-kind role that needs a lot of endeavours to accomplish and probably an equally superior talent. Prithviraj Sukumaran is more than a resembling actor to play Harvey Dent. His exceptional performances in the past, deep suave voice and his established stature would put him to test once he dons the dual face. An Indian actor I would bet our chances with, without flipping a coin.
5. Preity Zinta Rachel Dawes
This was a really difficult choice to make. Batman’s best friend and childhood love-interest Rachel is an emotional, intriguing, independent young woman with the sole motive of eliminating crime and criminals from Gotham City. While she somewhat succeeds in her venture, her actions are hindered by the Scarecrow and The Joker both, as the latter takes her life. As she decides to choose Harvey Dent over Bruce, she becomes one of the victims of The Joker and his evil unworldly plans. Preity Zinta as Rachel would be as convincing as a subtly emotional woman as was Katie Holmes and an uncertain yet adorable Maggie Gyllenhaal, who had no idea herself what she was going through. A role that is promising and demanding at the same stretch.
4. Kareena Kapoor as Talia al Ghul / Miranda Tate
To play the evil, promiscuous and conniving Talia al Ghul has been only accomplished with ease once, thanks to Marion Cotillard. The daughter of mercenary Ra’s al Ghul and a leader of the League of Assassins, Talia is the accomplice and friend of Bane, a powerful and unflinchingly strong “Bat Breaker”. Kareena Kapoor Khan is probably one of the best actresses (in terms of her capabilities) in Bollywood and would nail the role of Miranda Tate and Talia, one at a time. Her smug smile, emotional grit and previous assignments of having played negative roles would help to do the task with ease. Beware of this one, Bruce!
3. Soman Kapoor as Catwoman / Selina Kyle
The dark, spry and feline Selina Kyle played by Anne Hathaway has worn many faces, shown us many characters in the span of the movie ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Though initially an adversary to the Bat, she turns to his help later in the movie and also seen dating him towards the end. Given the burglar she is and her pursuit of the collectables, the lady trickster is emotionally hung up deep within, without any family or close aides. Like I have written previously, Sonam Kapoor’s persona and charm aptly fits into Catwoman’s character. Having played roles like ‘Neerja’ before, the National Award Winning Actress would take the world and the Batman by storm.
2. Saif Ali Khan as The Joker
Multiple shots fired. I literally heard them. I might have raised a lot of eyebrows with this one. How could one cast Saif Ali Khan as The Joker? Probably the same dilemma and critique that Nolan was facing when Heath Ledger was cast for the role. Amidst a lot of nudges and severe criticisms, Heath went on to play the role of his lifetime and silenced everyone, within a few seconds of his first screen appearance as The Joker. And also got a posthumous Academy Award for his portrayal.
Saif, having brilliantly played ‘Langda Tyagi’ before, which btw isn’t his only negative role, is a coming of age actor with a National Award and several accolades in his kitty. Giving him a fair chance would not destabilise the Nolanverse but may give the cinematic world a great performance we’ve been longing for. On a different note, had it been Jared Leto’s Joker, I’d have cast Nawazuddin Siddiqui for the power packed and demanding role.
1. Hrithik Roshan as Batman / Bruce Wayne
And presenting the Dark Knight himself to all of you, Christian Bale’s Batman wouldn’t be very different from Hrithik Roshan’s Batman in many ways, the primary being their indubitably similar looks and their daunting physiques. Another perfectionist after Aamir, Hrithik would give an imposing flavour to the Batman and would probably be a more intimidating, compelling Dark Knight. Regardless, Hrithik’s flair for perfection for the role, his previous assignments as a revenge-seeker mercenary and his image of an action hero gives him an edge over all other Indian actors to don the Cape and the Cowl. Now, repeat after me, “I’m Batman!”. And imagine that in your own digitally enhanced voice.