Chakra, a new local animated character

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | October 21, 2013
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Written by Stan Lee (the writer of many superheroes like Spiderman and avengers), the telefeature is co-owned by Graphic India and Pow Entertainment. The movie will be telecast on Cartoon Network.

After successful Indian animation series like Chhota Bheem, Roll No 21, Motu Patlu and Little Krishna, the upcoming animated Kid Krrish series will be followed by Chakra, the new Indian animated superhero. As of now, there's just one telefeature planned by the broadcaster (Cartoon Network); however, the makers of the series are quite hopeful of multi-platform extension of the character.


Snapshot from the Graphic India website for the Krrish comics series

Stan Lee, writer and co-creator of Chakra

Written by Stan Lee, the writer of Spiderman, Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man and Hulk, the movie with the first Indian hero created by Lee is Chakra: The Invincible and will premiere on Cartoon Network on Saturday, November 30 at 12 pm. There will be about 10 repeats in the following week.

So, is Turner (owning company of Cartoon Network) aiming at another hit after Chhota Bheem and Roll No 21? Krishna Desai, senior director and network head, kids, South Asia, Turner International India, explains, "Kids entertainment is very tricky. Six-8 out of 10 ideas might fail amongst kids. We are hoping that Chakra would however be a big hit in the genre. The whole point is to keep experimenting with the content, thereby giving more sampling opportunities to the audience. We term these as 'development' ideas."

Chakra: The Invincible tells the story of Raju Rai, a young Indian boy living in Mumbai. Raju and his mentor, scientist Dr. Singh, develop a technology suit that activates the mystical chakras of the body. When Raju dons the suit, he discovers superpowers and vows to use his newfound abilities to protect and serve. Using his amazing powers, Chakra must save the city and the world from super villains!

The deal with Turner to telecast the series is exclusive for the India region. However the creators of the character, Graphic India and Pow Entertainment (Stan Lee's company) plan to take it beyond television. "What a great opportunity to expand Lee's global brand by introducing Chakra as our first Indian superhero, and who better to partner with than Sharad Devarajan (Graphic India co-founder and CEO ) and Graphic India, as well as Cartoon Network," says Gill Champion, CEO and president, Pow Entertainment.

Devarajan, who is also the director and executive producer of the animated film, adds that sequels are an obvious extension. "However, it will later move far beyond animation and we might see a comic, a game or a live action movie around it." The comic books are just launched in the US and we will launch the same in India around November. The plans are to release digital as well as print comics, graphics comics and even, toys and merchandise once the character is established.

The company recently launched Kid Krrish Comic series in association with Hungama Digital and Filmkraft Productions. Marvel Comics Creators will be the print partners for the same. The recently launched digital comic series and comic magazine is called "Krrish: Menace of the Monkey Men."

In addition to the partnership with Cartoon Network, Graphic India recently announced that Chakra: The Invincible was also selected as part of a group of content partners to soon be featured on Angry Birds creator, Rovio Entertainment's new ToonsTV platform, reaching audiences around the world.

Devarajan adds, "Through the deal with Rovio for the Angry Birds app, Chakra will touch upon all the audience across the globe, with Angry Birds being used and downloaded by over 2 billion people. Our aim is to create content that can resonate with the audience across the world."

About the scope of the Indian animation industry, he further adds, "The Indian animation industry is in full force. Asia has created a lot of animation with Japan creating those Pokemon cartoons which can resonate with the kids worldwide. There's no reason why India can't become the next Japan. Why can't we create culturally strong characters who will be accepted by the world, just like Spiderman or Pokemon. In India, here we are sitting on a heap of wonderful stories, which are needed to be told."

He adds that even for Chakra, a team of Indian animators were in touch with Stan Lee for 18 days to create the character. The company has already produced Ramayana for YouTube and Devi, the Indian female superhero written by Shekhar Kapur.

He hopes that instead of comparing the character to Shaktiman or Krrish, the existing Indian superheroes, people will see what Chakra is, with an ironman-type suit and an amalgamation of science and spirituality.

Indian artist Jeevan J Kang, SVP creative at Graphic India, oversaw the visual development and created the character designs and art for the project, working closely with Lee and Devarajan to bring Chakra's story to life.

Cartoon Network, along with Chakra, will serve a feast to the kids during the Diwali season. Starting with the first movie of Kid Krrish series, the channel will telecast T&J Wizard of Oz, Oggy Ki Olly Special, Krish Trish Baltiboy: Battle of Wits (new), Oggy Special: I Love India (new), Chakra the Invincible (new) and Oggy Ki Shaadi.

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