Sumita Vaid

Cartoon Network acquires two new Indian animated series from Toonz Animation

The Adventures of Tenali Raman will have a world premiere on Cartoon Network in the second quarter of 2003

Clearly, the mandate for Cartoon Network is to be relevant to the Indian market as innovatively as possible.

In a step in this direction, Cartoon Network has recently acquired the 13 episode (each of half-hour duration) series titled The Adventures Of Tenali Raman, which is produced by Trivandrum-based Toonz Animation Studios. The Network has also signed a pre-buy agreement with Toonz Animation for a second series called The Adventures of Hanuman, currently under production.

Cartoon Network's serious India skewed programming was first reflected in the premiere of The Pandavas. And the success of The Pandavas paved the way for the acquisition of Ramayan - The legend of Prince Ram. This was aired on November 4, 2002 (on Diwali day). The programme notched up channel share of 12.06 (according to TAM), ahead of all national cable channels. The repeat airing of the full-length feature based on Ramayan on November 5, 2002 (10:00 am to 12:59 pm), reached another high when it touched a channel share of 14.19. A clear indication that Indian animation is here to stay.

The Adventures of Tenali Raman, the classic 2-D animation, revolves around the adventures of the popular folklore character, Tenali Raman, and is scheduled for world premiere on Cartoon Network in the second quarter of 2003. The 13 episode (each of half hour duration) of action adventure series The Adventures of Hanuman are expected to be ready for telecast on Cartoon Network by early next year.

Talking about the reasons for acquiring such India-centric animated series, Ian Diamond, senior vice-president and general manager, Turner Entertainment Networks Asia, says, "Providing content based on the Indian story-telling heritage is a critical mandate for Cartoon Network in its mission to contextualise the Network for our Indian audiences. As leaders in kids television entertainment in India, we are extremely excited that The Adventures of Tenali Raman will have its world premiere on the Network."

Tenali Raman was among the eight wise men who adorned King Krishna Deva Raya's (of Vijaynagar) court. The King's court is the arena where most of the outrageous battles of wit between Tenali Raman and his adversaries took place. Tenali Raman was the King's favourite and could never resist challenges - verbal or otherwise - and outwitted his adversaries every time.

That The Adventures of Tenali Raman will have a premiere on the Network, is a milestone in the Indian fledgling animation industry. "Toonz is very pleased to have the world premiere of The Adventures of Tenali Raman on Cartoon Network India. It seems fitting that the first television animated series to come out of India, and based on Indian folklore, should debut on the nation's foremost children's channel. We expect that this relationship with Cartoon Network to continue with the new series currently in development," says Bill Dennis, managing director, Toonz Animation India.

For the record, Toonz Animation India, set up in the fall of 1999, now occupies more than 18,000 square feet of space inside Technopark in Trivandrum, Kerala. With a staff of over 450 Indian and international artists, Toonz is host to the annual A Week with the Masters, an educational opportunity for Asian animators held in Kerala. Toonz is also publisher of various comic books and comic strips. © 2003 agencyfaqs!