• Amir-Hamza

Street Fighter 6 to Introduce a New South Asian Warrior

With the announcement of PS5. Many Capcom fans are awaiting the new game such as Resident Evil 8 aka VIIIage, Pragmata (a new capcom franchise) and of course Street Fighter 6. Whilst Capcom have announce Street Fighter 5 will have a final season of DLC characters believed to be Rose, Rolento, Oro, Elena and C.Viper.

Dhalsim training Mahesh (who looks similar to Ajay Devgn role in Singham)

Due to the success of Pakistani player Arslan Ash in Tekken. Namco's Katsuhiro Harada had responded to a Pakistani fan that he is indeed interested in potentially including a Pakistani in the next Tekken game, as Harada has a great friendship with Capcom's Yoshinori Ono, it is likely he will encourage Ono-San to include a new South Asian character (India, Pakistani or a different nationality) to the next Street Fighter. This was may have been the case with Tekken's Bob and Street Fighter's Rufus both being Morbidly Obese acrobatic American fighters, however this was definitely in motion with Tekken and Street Fighter's Arab characters. Harada had been interested in introducing an Arab Tekken fighter which lead to the creation of Saudi Soldier Shaheen. Harada's insistent lead to his rival and friend to create Street Fighter's first Arab warrior Rashid (though Rashid was Emirati instead of Saudi). Taking this into account, Harada potentially introducing a Pakistani fighter for Tekken could lead to Ono doing the same or chose another South Asian country to create a new fighter. But what could this new Street Fighter character be? Well... meet Zen.

Zen

Who is Zen? Back when Capcom was still announcing the initial roster for Street Fighter 5's base 16 characters. One rumour speculated a new Indian character named Zen will be in the game. While this rumour was false, an artist at capcom loved the concept and created their own profile for Zen with a backstory of being a Bollywood heartthrob and action star. While Street Fighter already has Dhalsim as the resident Indian character since Street Fighter 2, it wouldn't hurt to add another South Asia fighter. One that better represents a South Asian martial art but can still add some of that Street Fighter special move flavour to it. Lets Break down on how Capcom make Zen a great Street Fighter character to represent India.


Bollywood's two martial arts star, Tiger Shroff and Vidyut Jamwal

Name

First of all we will look at the name of the character. Ever met an Indian called Zen? ever met anyone called Zen? Nah either have we. It is likely the name is taken from Zen meaning Meditative State, a concept in Buddhism. Whilst Buddhism itself is rooted in South Asian culture as it originates from there, Zen or it's Sanskrit pronunciation of Dhyana would not be a normal name for anyone in India. Looking at a list of common first names for Indian men. There isn't a lot of Indian names beginning with the letter Z except for Zorawar. Despite sounding like a Pokemon name, Zorawar is a genuine Indian name, albeit a rare one, but appropriate due to it being a Punjabi name. Zen's profile also features his Brother Shin (supposed to be Singh) who is a former Punjabi Pelwani wrestler. So going off this Zen is likely of Punjabi origin and would likely have a Punjabi name. So from this point onward our Punjabi powerhouse will be called Zorawar for this article.

Story

Lore wise Zorawar is a Bollywood superstar and likely a heart-throb. This could easily be implemented to make him the Indian equivalent of Fei-Long and Johnny Cage. Bollywood is best known for it's song and dance numbers, something that is being copied by American productions such as Disney's Aladdin during the Harvest Dance, DC's Legends of Tomorrow between Zari and Sunjay and Marvel's Eternals with Kingo being a Bollywood star in the story. However in recent years martial arts have become extremely popular in Bollywood films no doubt due to two notable action stars Vidyut Jamwal and Tiger Shroff. Zorawar could be portrayed as competing with Fei-Long or even making a film with the Hong-Kong movie star as a part of his story in the games. It is also implied that Zangeif's friend from India (mentioned in the SFV Story mode) might have been Zorawar's brother Singh and therefore the potential to introduce them into the story when Zangief needs them just waiting to be used. Alternatively as Bollywood is renown for it's music, a potential team up or friendship with Deejay is not out of the question especially since Street Fighter Alpha hinted that Deejay and Fei-Long are friends (though not mentioned too often) due to being martial artists in the entertainment industry. So naturally Zorawar could befriend Deejay. Hey if Akon can sing for Ra.One and Marrese Crump can appear as a character in Sultan. Surely Zorawar and Deejay can work together.

Martial Art

Obviously whilst Street Fighter is all about fighting. Lately they've been a bit lazy on the martial arts representation for some characters. In the case of Cammy White her fighting style in SFV was listed as "none". Like really? not even CQC/Defendu? or BMMA (British Military Martial Arts which uses a hybrid of techniques). Either way for Zorowar there are plenty of fighting styles in India he could use. Going off his Punjabi heritage he can easily be a practitioner of Shastra Vidya/Gatka. A Punjabi martial art with a multitude of techniques ranging from weapons to unarmed. Alternatively if Capcom wanted to base him off something they could watch and replicate, they could use Kalaripayattu. This was the intended martial art for Dhalsim in Street Fighter 2 (back when they intended him to be multi-armed magic warrior with a Ganesha mask). However as they made Dhalsim more into a Fantastic Fakir with Agni Kai breath and stretchy Yoga limbs (copied from the Indian Assassin from Master of the Flying Guillotine), his intended martial art of Kalaripayattu was never referenced in games and this was likely due to Capcom having little video access to said style. But now with the popularity of Vidyut Jamwal and Tiger Shroff. Martial Art films in Bollywood are on rise and Capcom can easily base Zorawar's special moves off the two actors. Vidyut Jamwal is an Indian actor who is trained in Kalaripayattu since he was 6 years old, he has also travelled to China and picked up on Kung-Fu techniques too. But more importantly he had worked with Christian Howard in the film Force. Christian Howard was famous for playing Ken in Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist and even stated in an interview with Kung-Fu Kingdom that he would love to do a UK-Indian buddy cop film with Vidyut Jamwal. The possibility writes itself, Zorawar could even befriend one of Street Fighter's British characters be it Dudley, Cammy, Birdie or Eagle or just have him and Ken become friends, it would be a great homage to Christian Howard's praises to his co-star. Indian actor Tiger Shroff initially was Taekwondo fighter, for the film Baaghi his character is taught Kalaripayattu which the actor had to learn a modernised version of under Shifuji Shaurya Bhardwaj. So again Capcom just needs to base a moveset off these actor and their films.

Left to Right Tiger Shroff as Flying Jatt, Hrithik Roshan as Krrish and Shah Rukh Khan as Ra.One

Appearance

We will be honest, the artwork for "Zen" doesn't seem to be appealing. Lets be honest it is underwhelming. Whilst the Tiger striped waistcoat seems a bit stereotypical, but we did mention one of India's martial arts stars is literally named Tiger. So yeah..... kinda just falling into the Punch Out character design there. So how could Capcom improve on the design of Zorawar's costume or appearance. Well again base it of Bollywood since that's the theme of the concept art. One thing Street Fighter men have with Bollywood male actors is the lack of sleeves. Seriously just search up Hrithik Roshan, Vidyut Jamwal or Tiger Shroff and count how many shirts, hoodies, jumpers, vests, etc they wear that are either sleeveless, short sleeved, unzipped, open buttoned or straight up battle damaged torn like Ryu's gi in Teppen. While many of these looks are the type of thirst trap costume Dead or Alive would use, Street Fighter is no stranger to fan service... no seriously there's a "Hot Ryu" costume. But we felt maybe go for something more out their for Zorawar's costume. Taking inspiration from Bollywood superheroes. Such as Flying Jatt (Portrayed by Tiger Shroff), Krrish (Portrayed by Hrithik Roshan) and Ra.One (portrayed by Shah Rukh Khan). Each of these three have an eye catching look though with a flash of typical street fighter design we can probably change thing such as removing sleeves since the developers seems to do that for every male character and maybe add some high tech elements. Capcom did create a game called Asura's Wrath which is loosely based off Hinduism and was bad ass. So maybe take some design cue from the characters in that game (like Yasha) and merged it with one of the superheroes (like Krrish). Personally considering we are basing Zorawar on Martial Arts bollywood stars, I'd say Tiger Shroff's Flying Jatt costume will be a great influence with some Asura's Wrath elements like Yasha's Mask, hair style and instead of sleeves, add golden coloured gauntlets similar to Asura's metal arms but more realistic.

Yasha from Asura's Wrath. Imagine Zorawar having his costume loosely inspired by this guy

Personality/Style

Another thing that important in Street Fighter is the character's personality. The players have to love the character and I'm pretty sure having Yoga Powers doesn't exactly make you interesting when that's all you talk about Dhalsim. Either was while we aren't gonna throw too much shade, but for Zorawar we feel he that if he is a martial arts actor his personality should come off as a more showboater. Whilst Fei-Long is stoic and serious, Zorawar should fit a more Johnny Cage type of personality, he loves the attention he gets as an actor but has a more dance and musical side to his playful personality. Every chance he gets, he will show off a pose or a dance move as a little idle animation after some of his attacks. We feels this can come across as the polar opposite to Fei-Long but at the same time justify Zorawar's sociability with care free happy go lucky characters like Ken and DeeJay. While some of his moves can be loosely taken from Dhalsim (assuming Dhalsim was once a Kalaripayattu practitioner). He can have a more blue electric vibe to his moves to contrast the fiery moves of Dhalsim, Ken and Fei-Long, whilst fitting his Bollywood influence (specifically Ra.One who possesses Electric power). It could also play into a little of Avatar The Last Airbender vibes with Dhalsim accessing fire. Zorawar accesses Lightning like some firebenders can showing that whilst Zorawar doesn't super stretch or float. His power can have a few visual cues to Yasha and Deus from Asura's Wrath to match a more fun style of Kalaripayattu. To really illustrate how energetic Zorawar could be compared to Dhalsim lets use this music video to really hammer home how Zorawar could act during his victory poses.

What do you think? Should Capcom revisit this character concept? should they add the idea to Street Fighter 6. All we know is that street fighter can potentially expand their fan base even further by creating a new South Asian character. Maybe even in the future see some British Asian characters as it's no secret we love Street Fighter.

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