Cosmo-Maya marked their 10th year of original Indian IP creation with the Dabangg series. Salman Khan’s iconic character Chulbul Pandey is making an exciting return in a brand-new avatar with Dabangg – The Animated Series on Disney+ Hotstar VIP, the animation produced by Cosmos Maya and Arbaaz Khan Productions, Dabangg – The Animated Series.
With over 22 years of work experience, Suhas has done many international 2D & 3D projects like Pet Alien (TV series), Arthur, Monster Blaster Club, Word world, Barnyard, Land Before Time, Weird Monster, For Better or For Worse, amongst others. He has also worked with the UNICEF organization for the project, MEENA.
Suhas- the man behind Motu Patlu, ViR -the robot bo, LabmuGTinguG, Dabangg is one of the key creative forces in the company.
In conversation with Medianews4u, Suhas Kadav, Chief Creative Officer, Cosmos Maya, spoke about the Dabangg series, strategies behind the animated series, future projects, and more.
Speaking about the recently launched animated Dabangg series and the idea behind getting iconic Bollywood characters in the animated series, Suhas Kadav said, “After the spectacular success of the Dabangg movies, the lead character Chulbul Pandey became a household name amongst the audiences. The character shades of Chulbul Pandey, a law-abiding cop with a super sense of humor & an action-punched superhero who became the darling of the masses. With such character traits, there was scope for an animated character for kids. Hence, we decided to do this 2D animation makeover of Chulbul Pandey & his posse. This animation series takes the character & storytelling of the Dabangg series way beyond the live-action format, whether it is action sequences or storytelling or dialogue delivery. A line like “Kanoon ke haath bahut lambe hote Hain” gets a literal translation in the animation series visually. This animated exaggeration makes this title extremely watchable by every type of audience. Multiple hands, legs that can grow longer, multifaceted googles, jet shoes, etc., are a few of the gadgets that Chulbul Pandey is armed with.”
In India, many short films, dramas & novel books are being made into feature films by big movie houses; similarly, animation houses are producing famous characters from the movie world, whether they are the actual characters or their kids’ versions, it’s a trend that is catching up with the audiences nationally.
Comment about the broader strategies behind choosing Bollywood characters (apart from that they will connect to the audience) for animated series, Suhas said, “In Dabangg animated series, we have not tried to bring the kid version of Chulbul Pandey, but instead we have tried to take the character of Chulbul Pandey (the live Action version) as an extension of what the feature films portray. We have fused the storytelling with massive action sequences & the comedy timing of Chulbul Pandey along with his famous style to enthrall the kid audiences. The animation series brings along a lot of opportunities for character merchandising for kids like merchandising on caps, T-shirts, compass boxes, water bottles, etc.”
Elaborating on the age group and geographic area where the series has significant pull in, Suhas said, “We are targeting the age group of 4 to 14 years. There are no specific limitations in India that higher age group kids love elder animated characters while the junior kid’s age group likes junior animated characters. If you look at the Motu Patlu series, the lead characters are grown-up men, but kids of all age groups love the series. They love the characters for their unique characteristics like their stories, their antics, their buffoonery, etc. In our Dabangg series, we have incorporated Chulbul Pandey teaching kids what is good for them in a very entertaining way keeping in mind that it does not get preachy. For example, Chulbul telling kids that violence is not an answer to every problem and eating healthy is a good way of life are some of the things that we have inserted in our storytelling. In all our shows from Cosmos Maya, we weave animation which is at par with global standards with engaging storytelling & loads of non-pedantic entertainment for kids.”
Talking about the challenges faced as a creative director while conceptualizing already famous characters like Chulbul Pandey, Suhas Kadav, “It was a huge challenge to take on, as Chulbul Pandey is a very famous character and doing justice to his character was very important for us. Like if we make a junior version of Chulbul Pandey, we lose out on many famous characteristics of the character as there are limitations that we could explore in the kids’ version. But, we wanted to portray Salman Khan’s style & attitude in this animated version of Chulbul Pandey.”
“We tried to study everything about Salman Khan &Chulbul Pandey, including his huge muscles & his kid-like smile so that the animated character completely reflects Salman Khan. The series also has the translated versions of all the other characters like Makkhi Singh, Rajjo, the parents, and the villains Cheddi, Bachcha and Bali. To bring these characters to the animated world, the challenge was to be true to their style, talking habits, voices, etc., which we believe we’ve achieved to a large extent. As a director, my team and I took have worked to overcome every such obstacle,” Suhas added.
He continued, “Chulbul Pandey is a popular brand in the more significant Hindi-speaking diaspora. Being a popular brand, it helps in making the animated version makeover easier. Audiences await such projects, and only if they like them, it is an accurate measure of success for creative folks like myself.”
Commenting on the viewership of animated series during the pre-Covid and post-Covid era, Suhas said, “COVID pandemic hasn’t impacted the animation industry as much as it has impacted other industries. I suppose animation has a bigger repeat value amongst audiences. Kids watch the shows & movies again and again. Kids staying at home needed some much-needed escape from the mundanity of the four walls around them and the online classes they’ve been part of throughout the past 1.5 years, and the entire team at Cosmos Maya has worked consistently since the start of the pandemic to stick to the pre-decided delivery timelines and deliver over 7 shows since then.”