He is a nine year old who lives in the fictional town of Dholakpur, and gets his superpowers from laddoos. Together with his buddies Raju, Chutki and a talking monkey called Jaggu, this little hero, fashioned on the lines of the Mahabharata’s gentle giant Bheem, fights the baddies, helps the poor and saves his village from all kinds of impending doom and perils.
Ever since he appeared on Indian television in 2008 in the Chhota Bheem series on Pogo, he has been the ultimate junior hero. The first two full-length feature films on Chhota Bheem — Chhota Bheem and the Curse of Damyaan (2012) and Chhota Bheema and the Throne of Bali (2013) — have also had a successful run. Now, the animation industry will see a first-of-its-kind 3D animation feature based on the character, titled Chhota Bheem and Kung Fu Dhamaka. “Although it is still in the scripting stage, we hope to release the film by 2015,” says the film’s creative supervisor Krishna Mohan, who was in Chandigarh for a seminar with the students of Arena Animation. “Our heroes, so far, have been foreigners — be it Superman or Batman. But here, we have a character who resonates with the popular Indian mythology and stands for everything good and courageous,” says Mohan.
Pogo, the channel that first aired the series in 2008, attributes several factors to the popularity of Chhota Bheem series. “The storyline and characters are very strong. The fact that it is in the local language (Hindi) also increases its mass appeal,” says Krishna Desai, Senior Director & Network Head – Kids, South Asia, Turner International India. The Chhota Bheem series was launched on April 6, 2008, as a 13-episode series which, after its roaring success, was extended to 60. As many as 13 short films on Chhota Bheem have aired on Pogo to date. Next in line is Bheem and Krishna v/s Zimbara, which premieres on September 8.
As a superhero brand, Chhota Bheem’s online presence is also mind blowing — be it games, contests or videos. Even offline, children look for Chhota Bheem merchandise — comics, books, T-shirts, tiffin boxes and water bottles. He is one of the first Indian superheroes to be used by brands such as Usha and McDonalds. “The success of the website, www.pogo.tv, can be attributed to the more than 700 games, of which Chhota Bheem-based games are a majority,” says Desai. Currently, they