15 Times "Across The Spider-Verse" Expertly Referenced Indian Culture Through Pavitr Prabhakar

    For the film, they redesigned Spider-Man India's comic costume to make it more in tune with his cultural background.

    Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man, once said: "What I like about the costume is that anybody reading Spider-Man in any part of the world can imagine that they themselves are under the costume. And that's a good thing."

    This quote couldn't feel more relevant with the recent release of Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, which not only features Miles Morales — the first Black-Latino Spider-Man — but several other culturally diverse Spider-Man characters.

    Although Hobie Brown (Spider-Man Punk) and Miguel O'Hara (Spider-Man 2099) have become instant fan favourites — and for good reason because they are compelling characters who were beautifully animated — there was another Spidey variant who I instantly fell in love with.

    His name? Pavitr Prabhakar, aka Spider-Man India. Being Indian myself, there were so many beautiful and relatable cultural references that made Pravitr a standout character for me. Here are some of my favourite details that I noticed.

    1. For starters, Pavitr's name is culturally significant. In Hindi, Pavitr can be translated to "pure" or "holy", while his last name "Prabhakar" means "light maker".

    2. In Across The Spider-Verse, Spider-Man India's costume has been redesigned from the original comics, making it more in tune with his cultural roots.

    3. Speaking of Pavitr's costume, the hollow golden bangles are part of his version of web slingers. They're able to be shot out and used as weapons against enemies or tools to save people.

    4. And I know it's a small detail, but Pavitr's hair being loose and wavy is another callback to Indian culture.

    5. In the film, Pavitr is voiced by Karan Soni, an Indian-American actor who you might recognise from the Deadpool movies.

    6. To ensure that the character of Spider-Man India was culturally specific enough, the Across The Spider-Verse team invited Karan into the writers' room to pitch ideas.

    7. During his character introduction, Spider-Man India mentions that he lives in Mumbattan, which is a portmanteau of Mumbai and Manhattan.

    8. In scenes of Mumbattan, we can see rickshaws and various indicators of Indian architecture. Plus, Pavitr points out the traffic which, if you've ever been to India, you know how relatable that is.

    9. Pravitr also swings by a street food stall to pick up a snack, which is a common practice in India.

    10. And he also hilariously calls out the British for stealing all of India's jewels.

    11. When we get a closer look at Pavitr's home, we see that he's having chai with Maya auntie — and the order of words is very important here.

    12. And this is also where Pavitr calls out Miles for saying "chai tea" — because in Hindi, "chai" means "tea", so you're basically saying "tea tea".

    13. During the action scenes with Pavitr, we see comic book style phrases that are written in Hindi pop up.

    14. When Pavitr calls out Spot's stereotypical journey of enlightenment, which is one of the biggest clichés that happen when Westerners visit India.

    15. And lastly, Spider-Man India's score which honestly slaps and sounds like something straight out of a Bollywood movie.

    As we've seen time and time again, representation is so important — and I just know that there are going to be so many people watching who will look up to Spider-Man India and dare to dream big because of this character's inclusion in Across The Spider-Verse.