Animation Characters that Indian Kids Love

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Indian children are flooded with choices when it comes to entertainment. From just one hour a week that too on just one channel, kids content are now available 24×7 across many platforms. But still, there is an unfilled gap, feels Shambo Phalke

Kids in India are so lucky… I wish sometimes, I was born post year 2000. I remember the Sundays, I used to get up early, brush my teeth, take bath, eat breakfast as if Sunday is a regular school going day. All this was just to see, cartoons undisturbed on our Black and White EC TV on DD Channel. Thereafter, the next treat was following Sunday. A total of 52 hours per year plus few of the films division shorts, approximating 55 hours per year.

Now, compare this to today and one would see a complete turnaround –Boom of Colour CRT/LCD/LED TVs, 24 X 7 Animation, more than 20 KIDS channels and complete command of remote control, watching some of the world’s best content in animation.

The TV channels initially aired the most popular content of Tom n Jerry, Micky Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Power Rangers, Popeye, Sponge Bob, Little Mermaid, Aladdin etc. Thereafter broader content came in. So now one could see Pingu, Shaun the Sheep, Bob the Builder. There were live action shows such as ART ATTACK. Then came the wave of Japanese and South East Content, growing in popularity everyday with shows such as Doraemon, Ninja Hattori, Shin Chan, Perman, Kiteretsu, Bey Blade, Dragon Ball and Bakugan.

Currently, the silent chase comedies are extremely popular with shows such as CatDog, Oggy and the Cockroaches. ‘Made in India’ content such as Indian animation movies were being made by various companies. However, Indian animation companies had to stop producing animated movies for lackluster performances at the box office. (Only exception is Hanuman).

However, Chotta Bheem changed this scenario. Its immense popularity created additional segment.Channels during these experimental stages started dubbing popular shows in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. Now Jack could be heard as Jaikishan. This was a major hit with kids across pan India. Kids could understand the cartoons. It was a friendly dub. Many times, such audio voice over dubs were Indianised. This was a major success formula. Now every channel dubs in as many languages as possible.

This probably led to the demand by Indian Kids that Jack is sounding like Jaikishan, but not looking as one. And I guess that’s where, the channels, sensing this demand, started encouraging Indian content.

Today, the most easily recognised Indian characters with Kids are undoubtedly Chotta Bheem and Chutki of Chotta Bheem, Krish of Roll no. 21, Doggy Don and Colonel of Pakdam Pakdai. Other popular characters are Little Krishna of Little Krishna, Keymon and Mataji of Keymon Ache, Vir: The Robot Boy, Motu and Patlu of Motu Aur Patlu and Raj of My name is Raj.

On the Japanese shows, Ninja Hattori, Kenichi, Doraemon, Nobita, Suneo and Shin Chan are most popular.The other popular characters are Oggy and Jack (Oggy and the Cockroaches), Sofia and her mother (Sofia the First), Mother and Daughter of 1001 nights and Ultra B.

It is indeed a very wide collection of shows. It seems to me that there are two categories of shows Indian kids favour– Slapstick Comedies without voice (Tom and Jerry, Shaun the Sheep, Zig and Sharko, Oggy and the Cockroaches and recently PakdamPakdai) and simple and slow moving stories, Mother, Father, Romance, Competition, Doing a greater good, hidden moral values, Love, Sharing and caring, Evil Planning and depiction, Help to hero due to circumstances, bravery, courage, Gadgets, technology, happiness.

It is indeed a cocktail of content with shows made in Europe, US, Canada, Japan, and India. Surprisingly, the animation in India is catering to age group of just 4-6-8. There is less content or absolutely no content for following branches…

  • 0-2 Pre-School Animation
  • Teen Animation
  • Matured Animation (Above 15)
  • Horror Animation
  • Romantic Animation
  • Animation Shorts
  • Adult Animation

I wonder what will be the kids who are watching so much animation, will watch, once they grow past 10 ? Bollywood and Hollywood Movies ? Why are channels averse to show this content? Is it because advertisers don’t want to back them up? Is it perceived risky ? Only time will tell….

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shambhoo Phalke is a name easily recognized in Indian animation sphere and identifies himself as one of few individuals in country striking a right balance between Creativity and Commercials. He has successfully mastered Traditional and Digital Production methods. His work has been released Theatrically and on TV Channels across the world. Shambhoo is a Task master and his focus have been on carving out unique deals, building new clientele and relationships, strategies, restructuring of animation studio and improving their bottom and top line revenue. In a Career spanning 24 years, Shambhoo had been a GM of animation studio in Manila – The Philippines, Sr. Vice President Operations of a 3D company Maya Entertainment Ltd, Mumbai, COO of Colorchips India Limited, Hyderabad and AVP of Reliance Media Works Limited’s Animation vertical.

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