Disney characters dance to Indian tunes

By Tarana Khan , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | November 11, 2008
Mickey and his friends visit India for the first time and dance to Bollywood music

A & #BANNER1 & # clear indication that Bollywood has arrived was witnessed recently when Mickey and Minnie, Walt Disney's trademark characters, flew down to Delhi to dance to Hindi film music.

The Mickey Mouse Show, organised last week by the Walt Disney Co. in India, featured Mickey and his friends performing live for the first time in India. In order to connect with the local audiences, they wore Indian attire and entertained in Indian style.

Though Walt Disney has been active in developing programmes specifically for India, this is the first event it has organised on such a large scale. "The show is an effort to build a family entertainment brand in India. We are increasing the relevance of our stories and characters to the local audience," a company spokesperson told afaqs!

Proof of this, perhaps, is the recent animated co-production by Yash Raj Films and Walt Disney Studios, Roadside Romeo. Featuring Indian characters and Bollywood celebrity voiceovers, this movie is Disney's first Indian product. The lead characters of the movie, Romeo and Laila, were also part of the live show.

Overall, nine ticketed shows took place in Delhi and the spokesperson claims that the hall, with a seating capacity of 1,700, was packed for all the shows.

The next stop for the show is Mumbai. There are currently no plans to take it to other cities.

Apart from the show, Disney has been organising school contact programmes and mall activities in India. Roadside Romeo, for instance, was promoted through meet-and-greet sessions in multiplexes.

"We want kids to experience the Disney characters firsthand," adds the spokesperson.

Children's TV channels connect regularly with their audience through talent hunts, cricket shows and other activities.