If you thought that the most popular cartoon character on Indian television was from Disney, think again. Because a chubby little boy in a dhoti from an imaginary Indian village called Dholakpur, has caught the fancy of kids all over India. Chhota Bheem is no doubt the first truly successful original Indian cartoon series that has seen the kind of popularity that has so far been accorded only to Disney and Hanna Barbera cartoons.
Vaibhav Kumaresh is easily the most recognised face of Indian animation. At any animation festival or seminar, you will find him surrounded by throngs of starry-eyed, aspiring animators hounding him with questions. When not animatedly narrating his ideas, you will find him scribbling rapid sketches on sheets of paper, or tracing invisible characters in thin air.
The Indian film industry’s obsession with superstars seems to have infected animation too, with big names being sought after not only for dubbing Hollywood blockbusters in Hindi but also for original Indian animated films. Several big stars have been roped in by producers to lend their voices to animated characters, in the mistaken belief that the mere presence of Bollywood stars will increase the marketability of a film.