Cartoon Network and Pogo take two more steps towards localisation of content

As we move to the second half of summer holidays, Cartoon Network and Pogo are ready with new offerings to keep kids engaged. With locally generated animated content being the new buzz word for channels, Turner, the company behind the channels, has come up with a new show Kumbh Karan on Pogo.

Mythology again? “Not quite,” says Krishna Desai,Director, Programming, South Asia, Turner International India. “It is the story of two identical twins set in an imaginary town of Ajab Gajabpur. While Kumbh is named after the demonic giant from Ramayan, who loves to sleep and eat, Karan is named after the skilled warrior from Mahabharat.” Desai says when animation started in India, creative teams did draw from mythology a lot, “but then you can't play with such stories beyond a point and you can't have a copyright on Gods. So it was time to move on and create new characters and it worked really well with Chhota Bhim and his adventures in Dholakpur. The name may be drawn from an epic but he does everything that is expected of a young boy of this day and age.”

First in-house production

Kumbh Karan happens to be Turner's first in-house production in India. “Our experience shows that whenever we put desi toons, the TRPs shoot up. So we are increasingly emphasising localisation of content.”

Does it work irrespective of the quality of the animation because generally, locally-created animation doesn't match the international standards? “Quality of animation is only one of the factors. If the story, characterisation and the narrative work up the required magic, nothing can stop the product. From the time Tom and Jerry first hit the screen, the animation quality has improved several notches but the series still connects with audience of all age groups and tops the ratings in its time slot,” Desai points out.

Further consolidating its local content library, Turner has also acquired the movie Krish, Trish & Baltiboy from Children Film Society of India. “India has great tradition of folktales which is a great way to introduce kids to our rich culture. The film is a treasure trove of stories steeped in Indian folklore told through a monkey, a cat and a donkey.” Produced by Graphiti Multimedia, the three minstrels take viewers on a journey to the heartland of Indian folktales and music — Rajasthan, Kerala and Punjab. “Artfully animated, each episode is in a distinct folk style, with a flavour of the local language,” promises Desai.

Meanwhile, Desai says the group is no mood to say goodbye to its international flavour. “We will keep bringing the latest of Harry Potter and Shrek, and Benton is doing really well in the Indian market.” But the prime time belongs to the toons of the soil!