InterviewRoshini Bakshi of Disney UTV on Mickey Mouse’s relevance today
The inception of Mickey Mouse could be attributed to the necessity that Walt Disney felt to create a character after he lost the rights to his previous character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Although, it has been 84 years since Steamboat Willie released, Mickey Mouse is still as popular as ever.
Roshni Bakshi, an IIM-Ahmedabad graduate, who joined Disney in 2006, oversees all of Disney’s retail and products and is responsible for creating and executing strategy for the franchise marketing, consumer products, publishing, and retail businesses. Her favourite Mickey Mouse Club character is Minnie Mouse. She reasons her pick stating that, “Minnie is fashion conscious and is a fashion icon across the world, but mostly because she has never let Mickey Mouse overshadow her.” She attributes the success of Mickey Mouse to the fact that, he is a hero who reminds people of all ages of the benefits of laughter, optimism and hope. “He is adventurous, silly, mischievous and optimistic,” she says, “And these characteristics are not old-fashioned.” Moreover, Mickey Mouse has been able to constantly change and evolve with the times. This has helped him to stand the test of time.
On the relevance of Mickey Mouse in the age of BEN 10 and Chhota Bheem, she says, Mickey Mouse still outranks the closest competition in likeability for kids in the age group of zero to five. “He is what we call an evergreen character,” she adds. When the popularity of other characters has been transitory, Mickey has managed to stand the test of time for the past 80 years or so.
She believes that the Mickey Mouse characters are universal. They signify universal qualities like friendship, innocence, optimism and hope. The conversation naturally leads to the Disney Magic celebrations that will go on till June 16 in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. Disney Magic is aimed at providing children and families in India an opportunity to experience the Disney stories and interact with Disney characters.
ANJU ANNA JOHN