Chhota bheem’s bigger goals

Chhota bheem’s bigger goals

With a successful animated feature film, growth in its merchandising business and a Chhota Bheem carnival, Green Gold Animation is ensuring its little hero continues to captivate children

MAHATHI R. ARJUN

In May this year, Green Gold Animation Pvt. Ltd. (Green Gold) came out with its first animated feature film ‘Chhota Bheem & the Curse of Damayaan’, which was released across 252 screens in India and had grossed close to Rs. 5 crore over six weeks. Besides the movie, the Secunderabad-based animation company has also come out with two new shows – Mighty Raju on Pogo and Luv Kushh on Disney XD. When The Smart CEO spoke to Rajiv Chilakalapudi, founder of Green Gold, in September last year, Chhota Bheem’s popularity among children was already established. What was yet to be seen was whether the animation hero would continue to enthral its young viewers. “Over the last year, Bheem has grown from strength to strength. Today, Bheem is seen at every spot that children frequent. His face pops up on apparel, school products, comics, noodles, toothpastes, rain coats, umbrellas, board games, home furnishings and biscuits as well,” says Chilakalapudi.

So far, Green Gold has delivered over 148 episodes and 10 TV movies of Chhota Bheem to Pogo. In the last year, it had produced over 26 episodes, five TV movies and one theatrical movie of the character and is currently producing another 26 episodes and its second theatrical movie. ‘Chhota Bheem & the Throne of Bali’ is slated for release on 3rd May 2012 and produced at a bigger budget than the first film. Henceforth, Green Gold plans to release one animated theatrical film every year. Chilakalapudi has also ensured that the company has made technological advances. It has upgraded its classical animation and layout team from 2D to digital by using Tablet and Flash CS4/Photoshop software and also technical advancement in its pre-production area. “By ‘going digital’, we can see the entire flow of the film/episode before going into production,” he shares.

“The peak will last at least for two or three years more but if we keep coming up with fresh concepts, we can make it last a decade to a lifetime.”

But Chilakalapudi is aware that his team needs to constantly innovate to keep Chhota Bheem’s popularity at its peak. “The peak will last at least for two or three years more but if we keep coming up with fresh concepts, we can make it last a decade to a lifetime,” he says. Having initially made the storyline simple for children to grasp, it slowly came up with twists and turns to keep them engrossed now and has graduated to movies and merchandise. Green Gold’s licencing and merchandising (L&M) has grown over 100 per cent year-on-year, contributing to about 40 per cent of its overall topline. It now has more than 80 product categories and 1000 stock keeping units. Over the last year, the company has opened 18 stores across India in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Rajkot etc. and plans to open at least six more this year. By the end of next year, the target is to have about 50 stores. And there are also ongoing talks to sell the license for Bheem’s favourite food, laddoos and launch them next year. Its drink, Notty, launched last year, is now available across 30,000 outlets in Gujarat, Maharashtra, M.P, Rajasthan etc. and hopes to distribute across India by this year end. Green Gold has also started licensing Mighty Raju this year.

Much like how Mickey Mouse heralded the formation of Disney theme parks, Chilakalapudi also hopes to open a theme park in the near future. But to ensure that the company succeeds in gathering and managing crowds, it launched Chhota Bheem Carnival in a resort in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The carnival, which had Dholakpur village as the main theme besides fun rides and exclusive shows, drew a crowd of about 3000 people in three days.

With all these initiatives, Green Gold is all set to clock a 75 per cent growth in its top line compared to last year.

Interesting tidbit:

‘Chhota Bheem and the Curse of Damyaan’ was released across 252 screens in India and grossed close to Rs. 5 crore. It has delivered an average of 80 per cent occupancy in the first week despite that a significant percentage of the shows were slots of 12 noon or earlier in the morning.


GROWTH DRIVERS

  • Increase in demand for locally produced content in TV channels across India
  • Indian animation movies finding success at the box office
  • Partnerships/ co-productions with international animation studios
  • Government giving incentives to animation studios

THEN AND NOW

Green Gold delivered 120 episodes since 2008 In the last year, produced over 26 episodes, five TV movies and one theatrical movie of Chhota Bheem
In the process of setting up exclusive stores for its merchandise Opened 18 stores in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, etc.
L&M constituted 15 per cent of its revenues Contributes to about 40 per cent of its overall top line
A team of 141 Total strength of 234 – a growth of 65 per cent