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I remember religiously watching Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as a kid in the early 90s. And then the new millennium hit and suddenly wearing a red ranger underwear wasn’t cool anymore. An absolute tragedy if you ask me. As years went by, Saban kept dishing out Power Rangers – is it season 752 now? And the only people who kept on watching were guys who desperately did not want to get laid and my pet cat (don’t ask). 

But I remember waking up one fine day in 2015 only to find the internet broken. No, it wasn’t Kim Kardashian’s booty. It was Power Rangers. I thought to myself, “There could only be three possibilities. One, world leaders were using this as population control mechanism. Because remember, Power Rangers = not getting laid. Two, cats have started using Twitter. Three, it’s a dream.”

So, I proceeded to punch myself in the face, repeatedly. My broken teeth and swollen eyes indicated that it wasn’t a dream. And the last I checked, countries like Korea and Japan wanted to INCREASE their population, not decrease it. “CATS!” I thought to myself.  But that wasn’t the case, either.

What could it be?

BAM!

Suddenly Power Rangers was relevant again. Not only was it relevant, fans could openly say they loved Power Rangers without getting weird stares from people, as if you just screamed: I love granny midget porn!! Not to mention, the only reason we got a Power Rangers feature film earlier this year is because the unauthorised Power/Rangers bootleg was created.

The R-rated Power Rangers bootleg also put someone in the spotlight. Someone, who prior to that wasn’t known to the masses:

Adi Shankar!

Born in India and raised in various parts of the world like Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, Adi Shankar moved to the United States at the age of sixteen. In 2012, Adi Shankar started producing a series of short films under the Bootleg Universe banner.

Note: Adi Shankar didn’t actually live in Malaysia. He merely visited it quite a number of times especially when WWE came over. But isn’t it a Malaysian thing to try and claim credit for everything? Conclusion: The producer of Castlevania is Malaysian. *wink* *wink*

List of shorts in Adi Shankar’s Bootleg Universe:

  • The Punisher: Dirty Laundry
  • Venom: Truth in Journalism
  • Judge Dredd: Superfiend
  • Power/Rangers
  • James Bond: In Service of Nothing

To this date, Adi Shankar claims that Power/Rangers is his most challenging project. “It was difficult because it wasn’t authorised. That was the challenge,” said Shankar.

Since 2015, Adi Shankar has been on the rise. Although still unknown to a majority of the mainstream audiences, Adi Shankar is adored by the internet geek community. In a cutthroat industry, this is no small feat for anybody, no less an Indian.

It was very, very difficult. Not just as an Indian, but as an immigrant.

Hollywood is largely dominated by white people. Recently Disney issued a statement that they’re finding it really difficult to cast anyone in the role of Aladdin. Can you really blame them, though? After all, can you really think of anyone else besides Dev Patel and Riz Ahmed? And who can forget #Oscarsowhite in 2015? These scenarios highlight a diversity issue that has been a Hollywood staple since forever. However, there is a noticeable improvement in recent times. And it’s great to see people of colour like Adi Shankar break into the industry.

Adi Shankar’s most recent project is Netflix’s Castlevania. If Castlevania turned out to be an abomination, no one would be surprised. After all, video game adaptations have always ranged from “it’s so bad, I wanna gauge my eyes out” to “it’s so bad, it’s so good.” But Castlevania is BRILLIANT on so many different levels. It is the only video game adaptation that is rated fresh on Rotten Tomatoes in the history of the universe.

 

You can click right HERE for my orgasm inducing review, but let’s just put it this way: If you don’t watch Castlevania RIGHT NOW, you need to get your priorities in order. Talking about the success of this series, Adi Shankar was clearly very happy.

It’s amazing. Really amazing. But the way I see it is, I’m 32 years old and I grew up loving video games, I just happened to be the first one to make the show. If you look at comic books, iconic comic books are way older than video games. We’ve had great comic books from the 70s and 80s. Iconic video games started in the 90s. If you look at it, even comic book movies were really bad for a very long time. And finally people who grew up loving comic books said, you know what? Enough is enough, I’m gonna make a comic book movie and it’s going to be good. BUT, the fact that is called the greatest comic book adaptation of all time is amazing. It’s crazy!

The only complaint most people have about Netflix’s new gem is the fact that Season 1 is merely four episodes long, with each episode running for about 20-25 minutes. While most people figured it was because showrunner Adi Shankar wanted to test the waters first, instead of blowing a truckload of money making a longer season, only for the show to not be a hit and get cancelled. However, Adi Shankar denied this.

Nope. Absolutely not. Because when Season 2 comes out, it’s not going to matter that there are only 4 episodes. There’s going to be 12 episodes right? Streaming technology creates a playlist. We’re explaining the story over a period of time. That’s all.

What’s particularly amazing about the Castlevania animated series is how Adi Shankar, alongside director Sam Deats and writer Warren Ellis crafted a rich story and layered characters based on an 8-bit video game with a minimalist story. On the contrary, games like Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed have dense stories and characters but were unable to be properly translated to screen by Duncan Jones and Justin Kurzel, respectively.

Well, the video games provide an amazing blueprint. When I was growing up, the stories in video games were just blueprints. Your mind went in and created the backstories. Like, when watching WWE, have you ever thought, what does Roman Reigns do on a Wednesday? Where does Roman Reigns go to eat? What does he wear when he goes to sleep? How does the Undertaker dress on a random Thursday? Your mind makes up these backstories.

Here’s a piece of advice from the man himself to all aspiring immigrant creatives.

It is important to remember that your voice is very important. And it is the only thing that makes you, you! Don’t let anyone tell you to change it or shut it up.

UPDATE:

According to Adi Shankar, his TV Series titled Adi Shankar’s Gods and Secret that was previously on hiatus is now back in production. This will be his directorial debut.

All photos (besides the featured image) are sourced from Adi Shankar’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/bootleguniverse/

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He spends half of his time convincing anyone who would listen to watch Star Wars, and the other half trying to figure out why people consider White Chicks and Ouija to be good films.