Broadcasters were looking for Indianized content and that is how Chhota Bheem came up: Rajiv

Mumbai, June 16: In India, creators need to understand the importance of registering their creative products and earning a right over it. By being an owner or author of a creative product, a person may have legal protection against infringement, stated legal expert on entertainment sector Anamika Jha.

Rajiv Chilaka, the creator of India’s very popular animation characters of recent times – Chhota Bheem couldn’t agree less! While Bejoy Arputharaj, who was the VFX supervisor of Tamil language sci-fi movie ‘Ayalaan’ urged that creators should register their products from the day of origination of idea.

These conversations were marked in course of a panel discussion on ‘Unveiling the Animation Frontier: Building Intellectual Properties Through Animation Films – Case Study: Ayalaan and Chhota Bheem’, on the side lines of Mumbai International Film Festival – 2024, in Mumbai today.

Ashish Kulkarni, who is the Chairman of AVGC forum at FICCI, was moderating the discussions on this significant, though often neglected side of the entertainment industry. The panel also had UK-based film critic Naman Ramachandran who delved into different aspects of growth of animation market in India and elsewhere.

Rajiv Chilaka, CEO of Green Gold Animation Pvt. Ltd., from whose studios Chhota Bheem originated, took the audience through the journey of evolution of the popular children’s character which has completed 16 years in April this year and is still doing extremely well.

There have been six spin-offs of the character and Chhota Bheem merchandises are selling extremely well throughout the country, said Rajiv Chilaka. He informed, ‘’I had registered the character right in the beginning’’.

He revealed that after Amazon had bought all the versions of Chhota Bheem, his company created Mighty Little Bheem for Netflix, where the series has done extremely well for four seasons.

Phantom FX Director Bejoy Arputharaj revealed, ‘’a big reason why we wanted to own the IP of the Ayalaan character is that we felt it is marketable and will pay off’’. He too bagged the Intellectual Property rights before starting work on it.

While the Telugu version of ‘Ayalaan’ is already out, the makers are planning to release it in Hindi and other languages. Shri Arputharaj revealed that when the movie was being planned, producers were not sure whether it will work.

But Shri Arputharaj and his team were keen to make it work as it will break many a myth of Indian animation creation market and set an example for Indian VFX and animation artists.

‘’We are now planning to do a cartoon series on Ayalaan and also work on an idea of taking people to the ayalaan or alien’s planet in further series’’, he added.

Film Critic Naman Ramachandran said, people want more localised entertainment products in the post-COVID world. For instance, an Indian would like to watch Narcos, while a Mexican may watch Mirzapur, he explained. In this context, he feels Indian animation characters should come out from India’s rich history.

India is a massive market and producers need not look abroad for content, he added. Ideas should be deeply-rooted locally, he stated. Rajiv Chilaka too informed that, broadcasters were looking for Indianized content and that is how Chhota Bheem was born. In 2008 it went up in air for the first time and became a hit instantly.

Legal expert Anamika Jha, who goes by the name ‘Attorney for Creators’ cautioned the budding creators who attended the session by saying, ‘’if you put your heart and soul into a character, you must own its IP rights”. Shri Ashish Kulkarni reiterated that many creators and artistic people in India need to become aware about copyright of their creative products.


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