Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chotta Bheem

When I grew up, there was one TV channel and one phone company. There were many cooking gas suppliers and many banks, each of which was indistinguishable from the other. Similarly, there were foreign cartoons (like He-man, Spiderman, Disney) that played for half an hour or so each week on DD and there were a few Indian cartoons (Ek Chidiya types) that did not really qualify as cartoons.

And so it was. Even the animation that we have seen recently in movies made in India was anything but pathbreaking - nothing that is of super high quality or high recall. And while a few of them made ripples in childrens mind like Hanuman - none of them has captured the kids imagination like Chotta Bheem.

Chotta Bheem (like the Mahrabharatas Bhima he is super strong, but the similarity ends there) is the improbable story of a little boy who lives in the fictitious village of Dholakpur. Each episode he fights the bad guys - that ranges from evil circus owners to not so evil scientists to aliens playing cricket - and saves Dholakpur from imminent ruin. The children are mad about him and if they catch him on TV - then our world comes to a standstill. Though, Chotta Bheem has helped many a mealtime go into fast forward mode.

It is encouraging to see the series become popular and it looks like the company has spun off its success into books and other merchandise as well.

What makes him so lovable is the simple plot lines, catchy music, some high recall ideas (he eats laddoos for strength). There are a bunch of sidekicks too - each with their own minor role. Adults might not find them very interesting - the plots are not entirely predictable - except for the part of Bheem winning - they are a super hit with children.

Whatever it is, it is nice to see the animation character give the phoren cartoons a run for their money.

No comments: