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Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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My Friend GaneshaAfter a long hiatus, GANESHA a cartoon film based on the life of Lord Ganesha, and made by the Indian producers and directors was released in the Indian market. Coming as it was after the success of the films like SPIDERMAN-3, SHREK etc., it was hoped that it would set the box office on fire, as HANUMAN had done. The expectations did not match the reality, and the film could not set the box office on fire.

Was the timing of the movie one of the reasons? As the film was released at a time when the children are in the middle of their exams, even the weekend footfalls were not as per the expectations. However, it could not be the single reason for its moderate success.

Cartoon films are capitalization of emotions that arise out of reading of cartoon books. While in India the cartoon reading tradition of Indian variety is obscure, western cartoon characters dominate the market. Right from the time when the children start growing up, they are fed on regular diet of western characters, so their identification with these characters is of a firm value as compared to those of Indian tradition. The characters of Indian characters are not fed in the same manner, as the grand parents earlier did the feeding of it. But with the families going nuclear, and children spending most of their time away from the parents they do not get any interface with the Indian historical or religious characters.

Cartoons are expressions of emotion in the picturised format, and when emotional attachment is not to be found with the product it is difficult for the product to be a hit with the target audience. It is the spectacle associated with the character that makes the project grandiose be it in the animation or in cartoon form. The LION KING series could become a super hit as there were top stars lending their voice to its characters. It is rarely done however in case of the Indian character, which have to suffer the ignominy of either small time actors or anonymous voice over. HANUMAN could succeed also because of the fact that it had the voice over of Shaktiman aka Mukesh Khanna whom kids allover the country identify.

The story line has to appeal to the child, as the recall value for the child is very low, and if complacency creeps in then the product goes out for a toss. Innovation in terms of usage of spectacle is what has the capacity to enthrall and keep the audience (primarily the children) glued to their seats. When complacency creeps in, it becomes the enemy of innovation. It is the spectacle that makes SPIDERMAN series or the TOY STORY series what they are.

Until and unless the spectacle and innovation combine, it would be difficult to break the stranglehold that Hollywood movies have started having on the Indian films market. Besides, as the oral tradition is slowly moving towards its gradual decadence, it can be revived only in the form of cartoon character, for which homework has to be done by the filmmakers. This has to be in terms of releasing cartoon magazines. Shekhar Kapoor has already taken the initiative in this record in tie-up with Deepak Chopra and is releasing cartoon books for the international audience. Somebody has to take the lead in India as well.

The sooner it is done, the better, as cartoon character based films have definite potential to strike the bullís eye. What is needed is the practice in the form of creating awareness about the characters, and then box office would jingle.

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