By Abhishek Dutta
It’s common to make an entrance with the question, “Swagat nahi karoge hamara?” or calm your nerves with a quick, “All izz well”. These dialogues are entrenched in our minds regardless of how old the movies are. With time, the fascination for all things Bollywood has transcended the silver screen, and is being creatively repackaged for television, especially for young fans. We are seeing many collaborations between children’s content platforms and cinema production houses. Bollywood-inspired shows offer memorable celebrity-inspired characters with potentially limitless, never-seen-before storylines. This offers relatable homegrown content for fans and promising prospects for advertisers.
Children, today, are exposed to a wealth of content, online and offline. So, a fan-first strategy works best to gain and retain their attention. In our country’s context, this translates into India-inspired characters and local storylines that evoke familiarity. With homegrown content as the anchor, there are now well-defined genres such as slapstick, slice-of-life, action-adventure, magic/fantasy, and silent comedies, amongst others.
In the quest of identifying genres that appeal to younger fans, Bollywood was discovered — a treasure trove of inherently local and relatable stories, waiting to be tapped by the animation industry.
Bollywood and the big bucks
The success of exciting cinema-inspired IPs like Golmaal Jr. and Fukrey Boyzzz have proven that Bollywood and animation are a perfect match. Creating several shorter length stories and episodes using the characters, their universes, and nuances of a two-and-a-half-hour movie is not without its challenges — including making the content child-friendly — but the process is definitely worth it.
The enthusiasm around Bollywood-inspired programming is not just limited to the country’s young viewers, but also extends to the advertising and marketing landscape. The mass appeal of a Bollywood-inspired animated show can work itself into several lucrative ways of advertising.
Tentpole shows can secure opportunities for brand integrations, licensing partnerships, and branded content production. It is no wonder, then, that Bollywood-inspired content is now being launched across all leading children’s television channels with a simultaneous increase in advertiser interest.
Why else does it work? Television content thrives in the conventional setting of a living room, where the entire family consumes content together. Considering that 98% of India still comprises single-TV homes, co-viewing is a defining feature of the television industry.
The co-viewing trend of kids’ content means cross-generational promotion for marketers, who can showcase their brands to the youngest and to the oldest member of the family, thereby boosting the advertising potential.
The road ahead
What also helped this evolution of children’s content was the simultaneous development of the animation industry. Indian animators are a talent powerhouse, and it is on the back of their skills that the transition of characters from the big screen to the animated world is possible.
Animation has become more sophisticated; the storylines have become more relatable and the characters — they were iconic to begin with. Add to this a catchy title track created along with Bollywood’s musical stalwarts, and there’s a recipe for success with just the right amount of filmy tadka to suit the palate of our young viewers.
The future will have no dearth of smash-hit animated content derived from popular Bollywood films. As this genre continues to evolve, we can also look forward to most admired film franchises from across the country to be transformed into animations that retain the spirit of the original characters while telling fresh stories with new narratives. It is just a matter of time!
The author is South Asia network head, Cartoon Network and Pogo
Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook