Chhota Bheem heads to an exotic island in Chhota Bheem and The Throne of Bali

When Chhota Bheem battled the curse of Damyaan in his maiden filmi avatar, children cheered with glee. The home-grown hero pummelled the villains, fought with a monstrous snake and danced and sang with his friends. He also managed to eat his favourite laddoos. Now, Bheem is back on the big screen with Chhota Bheem and The Throne of Bali.

The 100-minute 2D animation film, to be released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, is directed by Rajiv Chilaka, founder and MD of Hyderabad-based Green Gold Animation. Think Bali, and images of an exotic island and traditional dancers come to mind. The film features all the elements, says Rajiv. “Our team researched the location, the culture, the flora and fauna, the look… we wanted it to be as authentic as possible,” he says.

Bheem’s stories have always been set in an indeterminate time period. So, while the themes are contemporary, the setting seems ancient. “That’s because children see the present in regular movies. They are fascinated by the past. And, animation is a great way to show them the past,” says the director.

Two years ago, the team did wonder if the hugely popular television show Chhota Bheem would work as a movie. But after Chhota Bheem and The Curse of Damyaan did reasonably well at the box office (it collected about Rs. five crore) for an Indian animation film, the team went ahead with the Bali special, doubling the budget too!

“Our first film helped us grow as a brand. It gave us enormous reach. Children loved it even during repeat viewing,” points out Rajiv. Work is almost over on this film, due for a May release. Music, with an accent on Balinese tunes, is being finalised by Sunil Kaushik, known for his catchy Bheem numbers, and post-production work is on at the Hyderabad studio.

So, what can kids expect from Bheem in Bali? “Lots. There’s lots of action, adventure and comedy. I personally felt ...Damyaan was slightly dark for children. This is a perfect children’s movie. There’s lots of daylight, colour, beaches, happiness… everything that kids love. We’ve introduced some new characters too,” explains Rajiv.

Will food-loving Bheem go on a culinary trip in Bali and tuck into the martabak, a thick gooey crepe, or safely stick to his laddoos? “Laddoos. Can you imagine Bheem without them?” laughs Rajiv. “He carries a whole lot of them on the ship to Bali… enough to last him through the journey.”