Golmaal… Fun, but Safe for Juniors

13 May,2019

 

After launching popular children’s television characters, Motu Patlu, Shiva and Rudra amongst others, Viacom18 is launching its eighth indigenous show called Golmaal Jr. Produced by Nickelodeon and created by Reliance Animation and Rohit Shetty Picturez, the show recreates the fun and pranks that exist in the theatrical version of Golmaal. But the show is meant for kids, so it’s going to minus all the risqué jokes and scenes that were unsuitable for children’s viewing (though very popular with kids!).

 

The show premieres today (May 13) on Sonic, part of the Nickelodeon bouquet of kiddie entertainment of Viacom18. MxMIndia spoke with Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Head – Hindi Mass Entertainment and the Kids TV Network at Viacom18, at the press launch of the show held in Mumbai last Friday (May 10)

 

Did you consider other characters and themes before zeroing in on Golmaal?

Yes, we did. In fact there are three more shows in the pipeline which are not necessarily Bollywood-associated. We have more IPs in newer genres which of course I can’t talk to you about but there are three in the pipeline.

Given that kiddie television viewership is very high in the South, did you evaluate something around a southern superhero like Rajnikanth? Did that ever cross your mind?

No, that hasn’t. I don’t think kids’ content has got anything to do with geography. So even if I did create a show, it could be an international hero, it could be a local hero. For example, when you look at Shiva or when you look at  Rudra I don’t think of South North, East or West… they are all very homogenous. And that’s how kids’ content is traditionally created, because it doesn’t look at white or black, it doesn’t look at dialects. It doesn’t look at content that is specifically for a region, because we cater to the common denominator. And when you cater to the common denominator, you should be very homogenous.  And the fact of the matter is that I cannot customise animation for regions. From an investment perspective, I can’t do it and I can’t do that in animation as a format anyway.

Did the success of the Rohit Shetty-Reliance Animation show Little Singham on Discovery have any impact on your decision?

The theme about friends and their pranks in this mischievous show is something that has been terribly missing from the  Nickelodeon franchise. This little bit which is grey and not black and white, was totally missing on the channel and I think that encouraged us to go with it. But having said that, 13 years ago, we actually made ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ into an animation film on Nickelodeon- it was called J for Jadu!

But the movie ‘Golmaal’ has its risqué bits, bordering on the vulgar…

No, no we have made this a very safe show. We are very responsible broadcaster, so what you saw were kitchen and slapstick fights.

You haven’t replicated the original franchise of Golmaal?

That we couldn’t have replicated. This is obviously adapted for children, and therefore it is called Golmaal Jr. We’re not doing a Golmaal! Therefore. we’ve introduced a Principal, for example which was not in the movie. So we have adapted and introduced a school and there is whole scenario of being in a school, in a hostel and all of that.

L to R: Child artist Ruhanika Dhawan, Anu Sikka , Head – Content , Kids TV network, Viacom18; Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Head – Hindi Mass Entertainment and Kids TV Network, Viacom18; Madhav from Golmaal Jr, Rohit Shetty, Gopal from Golmaal Jr & Vikram Vetturi – Creative Director, Big Animation

Internationally, cartoon shows do get the big voices from Bollywood, big voices from Hollywood. Did you try doing that given it’s Golmaal Junior?

No, also I don’t know how sustainable it can be. So, we may want to try it for a movie which is like a one to three-hours movie at best but if we have to sustain ourselves over 100 episodes and 500 hours it’s impossible.  Actually, we’re going to experiment with our next movie, the theatrical, one with big voices.

And any targets on viewership or revenue that you’d like to specify? What would you like the show to achieve for Sonic?

Sonic has been ailing for a while and if I look at the whole year number, we are at a No 7. We’re hoping that with Golmaal Jr as the show sets in, in the next 6 months or so, it should be in the Top 3-4, if not better.

But Sonic is in a tougher TG bracket, right? Kids most often grow into your other channels?

But kids are embracing newer characters and we saw that with Rudra, right? Last summer I launched Rudra – It was the Prince of Magic, it’s become the No 1 in the category today which means that while kids are actually in love with the characters that they love to watch, it’s not like they’re not embracing newer characters. That’s the nice thing about kids and that’s why you’re noticing that repetition value. You know repetition is going down in the category to some extent where they’re willing to embrace bigger and newer characters.

Are the newer shows – those three IPs – going to be on Sonic given that you want to push up the channel in a big way?

No, these are franchises and IPs that we’ll create so they take time anyway so they’re about a year away. Every IP takes some 18 months to create.

And how much did Golmaal Jr take?

This took us almost a year. But then it was slightly easier one to tell because it’s a story we are familiar with.

Hmm.

Yeah, so it’s not a story that we had to re-imagine and start writing from scratch, it was slightly easier so to do… Otherwise a typical story which starts from scratch is at least 18 months.

What works better… getting a franchise like Golmaal or building one from scratch?

I think both are equally difficult to do. And I’ll tell you why: One, you have to create the character and the new character has to, get the imagination of the child. But, and that’s the challenge of creating an original because it’s a brand new character. The challenge here is that there are certain set of perceptions of the franchise and of the characters – there is a Madhav and there is a Gopal and there is already a Lucky and therefore you’re trying to match up to a particular perception that a child or a viewer already has. And that to my mind that’s also very challenging.

So, for example, in the movie, Tushaar has that speech problem. Now as a very responsible broadcaster, we didn’t want to go there. We can’t show a child which is kind of challenged in that way but the way to get around that was that we’ve said that this child loves to eat lollipop and has a lollipop in his mouth.

And did Rohit Shetty have an issue on tweaking the film?

In fact he was happy to do so because we had to make sure that we are creating a safer adaptation for children. Therefore, he is very happy to adapt it for juniors and call it Junior otherwise he could’ve called it, Golmaal on TV and we’d have gotten away with it. But the fact that it is ‘Junior’ means that it is safe, it’s good for children. Of course it is slightly grey like I said, but now that’s where content is going and that’s where kids are going. They are this restless bunch for whom style has become important, where fashion has become so important. They are so confident today of themselves, they’re performers! They’re performer in hobby class, performer in school – it’s all about performing today and achievement. It’s about success. It’s about being happy so they’re on a different level and I think shows have to now start catering to this.

 

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