Spinning gold on screen

Spinning gold on screen

This year marks 10th anniversary of ‘Chhota Bheem’ on television. The prince of Indian animation made kids smile, dance and sing with him for a decade...

This year marks 10th anniversary of ‘Chhota Bheem’ on television. The prince of Indian animation made kids smile, dance and sing with him for a decade now. Chhota Bheem – a dhoti clad child with large expressive eyes and an all-knowing enigmatic smile came into existence in 2008 and walked his way into kids hearts to become the most loved and recognised animated character of our country.

Conceptualised in 2003, by Rajiv Chilaka, Founder CEO, Green Gold Animation, ‘Chhota Bheem’ debuted on Indian television screens in 2008 when Turner Broadcasting System, launched it on their kids entertainment channel, Pogo. Since then, ‘Chhota Bheem’ has undertaken a miraculous journey to become the most successful homegrown animated series in India.

Chhota Bheem, over the last 10 years, has transformed into a household name, become a brand and flitted through the hearts of young ones. The unprecedented success was a shot in the arm for the Indian animation industry as it paved the way for many other animation series with an Indian narrative.

Chhota Bheem along with his friends has starred in 277 episodes and 26 television movies. After conquering the small screen, Bheem made a very successful transition onto the silver screen with three theatrical releases, ‘Chhota Bheem and the Curse of Damyaan’ (2012) followed by ‘Chhota Bheem – the Throne of Bali’ (2013) and ‘Chhota Bheem-Himalayan Adventure’ (2016). Bheem’s next big screen offering, ‘Chhota Bheem-KungFu Dhamaka’ (2018), has already set standards by winning the Best Animation Promo Film at the FICCI Frames, BAF Awards, 2018. Rajiv Chilaka in his own words shares the timeline of his journey and creation of ‘Chhota Bheem’.

Year 1979
I walked alongside my brother and my father, holding his hand as we entered the theatre to watch ‘The Jungle Book’. It was my first viewing of an animation movie. It was mesmerising…The movie left a lasting impressing on me and the characters never left my mind… I fell in love with animation. I always wanted to meet my favourite animated characters, but realised that none of them live in India. I wondered why India didn't produce animated shows nor had its own super heroes?

I borrowed a book on Walt Disney at our library in Kansas City. I couldn’t put it down till I finished reading it… It was another captivating moment for me… to read about the man who believed so much in his dream that he dedicated his life in creating the greatest animated characters and fun amusement parks with the only motive of creating entertainment for children.

I quit my job, sold my car and belongings and enrolled myself into a specialised course in animation at Academy of Art, San Francisco. I had made up my mind to set up an animation studio in India and to create entertainment for children. The dream of setting up Green Gold Animation was born then.

We were confident, the team has been working on the concept, character, designs, style, animatic, stories, etc for the past two years. There was a nervous energy that was flowing in the studio… there was a strong belief… there was no looking back now… an extraordinary character was taking shape and a new show was getting ready to enthrall the children. Welcome Chhota Bheem from Dholakpur.

I had goose bumps on the day ‘Chhota Bheem’ was to air the first time on TV, April 6, 2008. Did not have any idea on how the audience will accept a show that is not mythological.

It’s been 10 years since ‘Chhota Bheem’ has debuted. 10 long years since the brand has taken the Indian Cartoon World and the Indian animation industry by storm proving everyone that all you need is a simple concept, a great story line and an adorable character to create magic. The team and I are living those exciting moments and this time again and again… As I look forward, ‘Chhota Bheem’ completes 279 episodes, 26 TV movies and three theatrical releases and I tell myself and the team; this is the beginning of a new era for Green Gold to create new ideas and entertainment, which will showcase the world how original concepts can become a phenomenon. It’s time to dream big.

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