M'Baku (Duke) with his capture during the Black Panther climax Image: Twitter
Black Panther is ruling the box office better than King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) could ever rule Wakanda. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) blockbuster, which features the franchise's first black superhero, has already amassed more than $360 million (Rs 2,323 crore approx) worldwide — that, too, in its opening weekend.
Black Panther is a cultural minefield and one of the most politically significant movies of this decade. The MCU film also featured an Easter egg that might have pleased the movie's Indian fans, but the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) apparently did not think so. According to a report in The Quint, CBFC reportedly muted the words 'Glory to Hanuman' in one of the most crucial battle sequences.
During the climactic battle between the Wakandian border tribe and the Jabari tribe, Jabari leader M'Baku (Winston Duke) reportedly cries out 'Glory to Hanuman,' as he captures a border warrior. Interestingly, the Jabaris are shown to be gorilla worshippers — in fact, M'Baku is referred to as the 'Mighty Gorilla', as he is their leader.
#BlackHistoryMonth #BHM Can we talk about M'Baku? 1st off my man got the WETTEST fade in Africa(Vibranium clippers). 2nd he's come a LONG way from problematic to show stealer. @Winston_Duke captured the ESSENCE of M'Baku without the racist perceptions. #DoYouEvenComicBook #DYECB pic.twitter.com/Z5zMyL1YQC— M’Baku Fan Account #MBakuSoLit #DoYouEvenComicBook (@TASKvsTheWorld) February 16, 2018
The character of M'Baku is inspired by the Marvel supervillain Man-Ape, who Prince T'Challa had to fight to acquire his throne. Since Hanuman is the Monkey God, he holds some significance in this context. In fact, Duke spoke about the Jabaris and their religion in a recent interview.
"They (the Jabaris) haven’t been affected by colonialism and all the narratives that are associated with developing a sense of inferiority and people comparing them to animals. To them, this is just who they pray to, and they find their strength and agency in this religion. So being a bit gorilla-influenced was a sense of pride for them," Duke told Variety.
The 'Glory to Hanuman' cry, which was supposedly muted, was an obvious nod to Hanuman, who is known and revered globally as the Monkey God.