Popular Culture and Indian Cartoon Characters
Syed Ali Mujtaba
Popular culture is something that cannot be ignored. I remember reading chanda mama, bikram vaital, chacha chuddary, akbar birbal etc, the print cartoon characters available at that time. There was no TV medium at that time so print only occupied the cartoon space.
Now several cartoon characters are available on the television and today’s kids are glued to the TV sets watching their favorite programme. One such programme is chota bheem on Pogo channel. The programme is a huge success among the children in the entire country.
I could foresee the popularity of the cartoon characters when a mall in Chennai organized an exhibition of chota bheen and his friends over the weekend. A crowed of over 500 kids had assembled to have a glimpse of their icons.
The show was a grand success in terms of sheer numbers that had turned for meeting and greeting chota bheem and its gang. The kids were crazy watching their favorite characters dressed up like orginal avatars. The kids never had thought they could see their icons other than their television screens. It was a celebration of these cartoon character. The kids enjoyed moments of applause, cheers and thrill with sheer madness. There was Chota Bheem, Chutki and Jaggu in the stage.
The event was huge commercial success as only those who have made a purchase of over Rs 3000 rupees at the mall could only enter the enclosed arena to have have a photo session of their kids with the dressed up cartoon characters on the stage.
The makeshift shop selling memorabilia of chota bheem and others was doing brisk business. There were accessories like, towels, bed sheets and whole lot of other things that depicted the cartoon characters. The excitement among the tiny tots towards the chota beem artifacts was unbelievable.
This event was a true representation of popular culture. All of the kids belonged to different background but they all had one thing in common, the love for chota bheem.
While Micky Mouse, Donald Duck, Tom and Jerry, Noddy may be the international brand of cartoons, around which global kids rally around, to watch a local brand of chota bheem competing with them was something amazing.
In the TRP ratings, the programme ‘chota bheem’ is giving a run for money to many TV serials in the country. Some trade analyst of the television programmes has acknowledged the success of chota bheem. This suggests that in the age of globalization, national products too have the wherewithal to hold its ground.
It was amazing to watch such a popular culture unfolding itself. This popular culture needs a more thoughtful study by trained sociologists….