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 1:20 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS militants brings into focus the risks faced by reporters in conflict zones.
updated 8:24 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
About $35,000 was taken from the bank accounts of four passengers on board Flight 370.
updated 9:53 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
updated 1:32 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
The execution of a journalist by a British-accented jihadist is a direct challenge to the international community. It's time for the U.S. to move, writes Frida Ghitis.
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
updated 11:35 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
updated 5:04 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT