Lenskart Exclusive – Interview with the Father of Chhota Bheem
Chhota Bheem came alive after hardship, toil & rejections. Today, the character is a phenomenon with a cult following. Every kid in India today knows & connects with each of the characters in Chhota Bheem – Raju, Chutki, Jaggu and Kaliya. That is what makes Chhota Bheem special. As a brand, it’s a force to reckon with & a powerful tool for marketers – a property which will live on for a long time to come. So, how did this little icon grow to captivate the hearts of the Indian masses? Well, hear it all from the creator himself – Rajiv Chilaka, Founder & Managing Director, Green Gold Animations Pvt. Ltd.
In an exclusive interview with Lenskart, the Father of Chhota Bheem talks about how it all began and the future plans for the Chhota Bheem series.
Lenskart: Take us through the journey of creating Chhota Bheem.
Rajiv Chilaka: It all started in 2004 when we had already started making shows like Krishna and Vikram Betaal which were also being made by a lot of other productions. We were a small team of only 25 to 30 people then. So, we were insecure about our own standing in the industry. But, then, we bagged a contract with Cartoon Network and I had this overwhelming desire to create a show that no one else was making or was even, remotely thinking of creating. I wanted the show to be one that would be loved by all and that’s when I came up with the idea of Chhota Bheem, one of the most loved cartoon characters today.
LK: What was the inspiration behind Chhota Bheem?
RC: Chhota Bheem came to me because I was trying to move away from mainstream characters in mythology that everyone was doing. I didn’t want to do a Mahabharata all over again. So, I decided to make a character like Chhota Bheem. I wanted to portray Bheem as a small kid so that children would enjoy it. This concept materialised and it did take a long time to develop and then almost another four years to sell. But then in 2007, we finally sold the concept to Pogo and their feedback was good. Today, we have come a long way and we are rolling out close to 200 episodes with every season of Chhota Bheem.
LK: What is the relevance of Chhota Bheem today?
RC: As I said, I had a deep desire to create an Indian superhero that everyone could connect with. As a child, I had always wanted to meet my own favourite superheroes but I never could. And that’s when I thought that India needed its own share of superheroes. That’s why I decided to create an Indian hero who would connect with both, adults and children, alike. Chhota Bheem connects on a traditional level too. It has culture, values and morals, so parents encourage their kids to watch the show. It is simple storytelling at its best. It conveys a strong message and upholds Indian values and kids connect with every character in Chhota Bheem.
LK: When did you notice the rise in popularity for Chhota Bheem?
RC: The ratings for the show did come in immediately. But, the market feedback did take a good amount of time. It did not happen overnight.
LK: What should we expect from the 2015 release of the Chhota Bheem movie?
RC: The visual effects are more stunning than before. The cinematography is even more brilliant.
LK: How does it feel to have received such a great response from the audience?
RC: We are more than grateful for the response to Chhota Bheem as well as for Mighty Raju. In fact, based on our audience response, we are working on Arjun in collaboration with Disney which we plan to launch in June.
LK: How will Mighty Raju be different from the Chota Bheem series?
RC: While Chhota Bheem is set in the past, Mighty Raju is set in the present. It is about a modern kid who stands for patriotism and heroism in the modern day. The film is based in Rio and is the perfect mix of sports, action as well as Indian filmy masala. Mighty Raju is everything that an ideal animated film needs.
LK: What are the future plans?
RC: We have planned to release at least one movie every year. So we have released two Chhota Bheem movies in the previous years and we are releasing one Chhota Bheem and Mighty Raju movie in 2015, as well. The main goal is to make our Indian animated films global.
Lenskart wishes the creator of Chhota Bheem and Mighty Raju all the best!