After rewriting the rules of the game of infotainment for children with Manchadi, Pupi I and Pupi II, city-based Hibiscus Digital Media has raised the bar with a new animation video for children. Called Kathu, the latest 3-D video from the company, focusses on family and family values. If the two volumes of Manchadi were composed of folk songs and stories from the Panchatantra and Aesop's Fables, the two volumes of Pupi aimed at instilling the scientific temper in children. Pupi II, a 3-D animated movie, won the Golden Beaver Award at the National Science Film Festival conducted by Vigyan Prasar, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, with the 98th Indian Science Congress.

“We are constantly on the lookout for something new for children. For Manchadi, we created a young girl called Twinkle who narrates stories and recites folk rhymes. Pupi is a puppy that asks questions about everyday occurrences in our life. His questions and doubts lead viewers to discover and learn basic scientific facts. This time, we decided to make our protagonist, Kathu, a kitten. Media reports about child issues and child safety, and so on motivated us to make this film,” says Madhu K.S., director of the video film.

Focus on family values

Kathu lives with her mother, father, and younger brother, Kittu. Her best friends are Appu, a squirrel, some grasshoppers, and a golden Oriole.

“The film is divided into five stories. Obedience, courage, empathy, truth, and love are the themes of the five segments. But there is no preaching. For instance, the first story on love is a tale about sibling rivalry. Kathu is jealous about Kittu but she learns that she loves her brother as much as she loves her parents,” explains Manu K.S., who has written the scripts and dialogues for all their animation movies.

The villain in the scene is a tomcat who torments Kathu and her friends. Each story has several subtexts that make it a riveting film for children. Music and songs bridge the stories about Kathu's world.

“Moreover, we have tried to include birds, insects, and animals that we see around us in Kerala. Even the foliage in the background feature trees such as mango, jack, cashew, and so on that are found in abundance in our rural areas,” adds Madhu.

In fact, it was Madhu's courage of conviction that has helped Hibiscus bloom and take root in a competitive field. Madhu, a post-graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and an alumnus of the College of Engineering, Trivandrum, was keen on doing something unique and different for children. He and a few of his colleagues at C-Dit quit their jobs to form the company. Madhu's brother Manu, a former mediaperson and academician, also left his job to team up with his brother in his new venture.

“We have an excellent team and that is the secret of our success,” says a proud Madhu. He says work is already on to dream up a new set of characters and stories to woo children.

Keywords: animation film