Skip to main content

India's 'Spider-Man' pledges to use powers for good

By Mallika Kapur, CNN
updated 1:17 AM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Independent candidate runs for seat in India's general election dressed as a superhero
  • Gaurav Sharma can scale a tall building in less than 20 minutes
  • Politician plans to tackle basic issues like education, water and power if elected

Mumbai, India (CNN) -- Forget going door-to-door, Gaurav Sharma, 31, campaigns from window-to-window. He's an independent candidate running for a seat in India's general election from South Mumbai.

Unlike the politicians he's up against, who wear traditional Indian clothes, Gaurav Sharma dresses like a man with extraordinary powers -- the Marvel superhero Spider-Man.

As he pops his head into a window after scaling a residential building, he asks startled residents to vote for him.

When asked if people take a candidate dressed up as a comic book character seriously, he sincerely says, that they do and they should. Because unlike the fictional superhero, Sharma has real guts, intense concentration and dedication. These are the qualities, he says, that enable him to scale a 45-story building in just 19 minutes.

"It takes a higher level of thinking and great organized thought," Sharma says, adding that a candidate needs these qualities to help the citizens of Mumbai.

After all, with great power comes great responsibility. Though Mumbai is India's financial capital and one of the wealthier cities in India, "people are still deprived of the basic necessities like water, electricity, schooling," he says. If he's elected, these are the basic issues he will tackle.

His election symbol is -- you got it -- a window. These symbols are a crucial part of India's election exercise. In a country where a large part of the population is illiterate, people cast their vote for a symbol rather than a candidate's name. It's a palm for the Congress party, a lotus for the Bharatiya Janata Party, a broom for the Aam Aadmi Party and a window for Sharma.

The friendly neighborhood Spider-Man says he hopes the public will grab the window of opportunity they have to bring about change in Mumbai. He hopes they'll take it and vote for him.

Will he win? That's still up in the air.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 11:50 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Experts believe that ISIS may be using a Spanish enclave to bring jihad to Europe.
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
With an efficient subway, inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally an easy city to navigate ...
updated 7:32 PM EDT, Sun September 28, 2014
CNN's Ivan Watson was in the middle of a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong when things got out of hand.
updated 4:12 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.
updated 8:49 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Every day, refugees and migrants risk their lives as they seek a new life. Now, a new report puts a figure to the number of victims.
updated 10:42 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Mainstream commentators must promote positive role models to Muslims feeling victimized, writes Ghaffar Hussain.
updated 2:13 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Two men familiar with inside knowledge of ISIS speak with CNN's Arwa Damon.
Explore CNN's interactive that explains ISIS' roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from.
updated 4:10 PM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism.
updated 11:03 AM EDT, Sat September 27, 2014
The North Korean leader hasn't been seen for weeks, leading to speculation that he is in poor health.
updated 9:54 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Haider al-Abadi hopes airstrikes don't lead to "of another terrorist element" instead of ISIS.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
The United States couldn't do it on its first try. Neither could the Soviets.
updated 11:29 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
CNN's Nima Elbagir reflects on a harrowing trip to Liberia where she covered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Contrary to public opinion, rats can actually save lives -- Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands.
updated 8:55 AM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT