Move over 'Doremon' and 'Shin Chan', kids have new heroes in 'Chhota Bheem' and 'Keymon Ache'. Such is the popularity of these desi toons that Chhota Bheem even had a film based on it and Keymon Ache will soon have a host of consumer products from apparel to footwear launched. Obviously, desi content is as popular as the international shows on kids channels, if not more.
Says, Krishna Desai, Director, Content, South Asia, Turner International India Pvt. Ltd, which was one of the first channels to start local content, "We have come a long way since we initially started acquiring and creating local content around 2003-2004. As a part of 'Desi Toons' strategy, we acquired Chhota Birbal and Sihasan Battisi. Today, our most successful co-production 'Chhota Bheem' on POGO is the top rated kids program. Roll No. 21 on Cartoon Network is also widely popular and has enabled us to leverage it into a franchise with merchandising products hitting the market soon."
Nick, which started with Little Krishna over a couple of years ago moved on from the mythological characters to launch 'Keymon Ache', a slice-of-life story of nine- year-old boy whose constant companion is the animated character with magical powers. Says Nina Elavia Jaipuria, EVP and GM, SONIC and Nickelodeon India, "Little Krishna resonated well with the kids and parents, because it was a novel experience. It was a local acquisition and we found there were many other mythological shows like Hanuman, Ganesha, etc, also, so we decided that the next toon show will be a non-mytho." Keymon Ache was born, and now the channel is in the process of developing new animated characters in the comedy space because Nina believes that kids prefer the imaginary world of toons to 'live action' in order to get rid of boredom.
However, Disney Channel has been riding high on its locally produced programme 'Best of Luck Nikki' pitched as a family comedy, which is now in its second season. Even the desi art and craft show 'Art Attack' is their numero uno in this space. In the toon genre, the channel is airing the detective series 'Feluda', 'Luv Kush' - recently aired as a movie and now as series and will soon have 'Little Pandavas' coming up. Says Devika Prabhu, director, Programming, Disney Network, "We are committed to showcasing evergreen stories that transcend generations of Indian families. We have several local animation shows that enliven the rich Indian storytelling heritage while remaining entertaining and relevant to today's viewers."
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