Chhota Bheem, the popular cartoon character, which recently completed its 10 years, has powered its way in to Netflix. Being billed as the India's first Netflix original television show for children, a new version of the cartoon character would soon be available on the online streaming platform. The character, which is called "Mightly Little Bheem", would be a baby and therefore won't speak and this would make it possible for the channel to broadcast the content across the 190 countries.
Rajiv Chilaka, the founder and CEO of Hyderabad-based Greengold Animation, creator of Chhota Bheem, informed Business Today that the company recently signed with Netflix for the show and is currently working on the production. It plans to deliver the show to them by the end of this year and then the release would be planned accordingly.
"So, sometime next year, it will go on air," Chilaka said.
Chilaka is simultaneously working on another venture - another first for Chhota Bheem - a 3D theatrical release. Titled "Chhota Bheem Kung-Fu Dhamaka", it is a story based in China. The plot would involve Chhota Bheem travelling to China to participate in a Kung-Fu competition. The company plans to release the theatrical series globally, including China.
"In India, its theatrical release will be later this year around Diwali time," Chilaka informed. The key focus, he says, is to take Chhota Bheem global.
"After the feature film is ready, we will do the distribution deal and then we will get a better idea about the countries it will be released in. So far, based on the movie trailer, we have got a positive feedback from most markets," said Chilaka.
Speaking about the ideal markets for the cartoon character, he said, "Any story which is told well, especially in animation, can do well in any country. Provided it is distributed and marketed well. In this case, the story is in an international setting and will appeal to all the kids across geographies. However, the market for Bheem is already strong in India, Dubai, Middle East in general and South East Asia."
According to Chilaka, since this a 3D movie made using CGI technology, it would perform better globally than a 2D feature film.
"We have been working on this for almost five years, researched the location well, redone many shoots just to ensure the quality is good. We have also used latest technology and want to make it a benchmark for Indian and animation movies that is ready to compete with international movies," he adds.
The production budget for this movie is likely to be around $3 million (about Rs 18 crore to Rs 21 crore), Chilaka informed. The accurate numbers couldn't be ascertained as the film is still in production. The company, according to Chilaka, usually spends not more than a million dollar (between Rs 5-6.7 crore) on its feature films, including the spends on marketing and promotion.
Chilaka is vary about discussing the financials of the company and says that the company, which also has its own merchandise, is growing at over 20 per cent in revenues and is cash positive.