Creating an Indian Super Hero

Try and try till you succeed! An adage that aptly sums up Rajiv Chilaka’s journey in the world of animation and thrilling kids with pukka made in India cartoon series. If you have al little one at home, chances are Chota Bheem is his imaginary friend and this Chota Bheem was a dream for Rajiv for 3 long years before he could have his little patrons enjoy his strength and madness!

From the Memory Book
In Rajiv Chilaka’s own words, “As a child Mickey Mouse, Superman, He-man and Spiderman fascinated me no end. I would turn to my father and always demand a personal meeting with them and to my dismay each time he would turn it down saying – they live in the US. Back then, my innocent mind made a decision – to have an Indian superhero! It was there in the subconscious. Life moved on. I went ahead to get a degree in software engineering and worked in the US in the early 2000 as a software engineer. Things were awesome! Something struck me and I decided I wasn’t a fit as a software engineer. My calling came and I got myself a certified degree in Animation from San Francisco University. India pulled me back to her and on returning I set up my small animation studio. We worked on creating a cartoon series on Krishna but then Krishna wasn’t our character and any other company would take him away from us if they did a better job. Three years of struggle and three rejections and then finally my little Indian superhero – Chota Bheem was born. Proud to say that today, Chota Bheem commands 80 per cent of the air-time on a cartoon channel and this very same concept faced 3 rejections earlier as people weren’t comfortable with having an Indian cartoon with a completely new character.”

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Ask him to talk about some decisions he is proud of and he shares, “When 3D came into picture, a lot many studios re-invented themselves to have a 3D set-up. I held on to what I had. I knew 3D was in demand and that the entertainment business was undergoing a change but I held on to my @d set-up and now looking back, this was one of my best decisions undertaken.” Today, Chilaka’s Chota Bheem has not only managed to create a storm in the cartoon world but in retail too, Chota Bheem’s merchandize is a hit – be it for water bottles or bags. Chilaka set-up Green Gold stores and he has a strong franchise network selling nothing but Chota Bheem merchandise.

Words of Wisdom
“There is no winning without losing!” Rajiv strongly feels that there is immense talent in India – that all the small studios, which are into animation, have a lot of potential. It is just about being persistent and determination to carry on rather than give up. As he says, “Success really doesn’t come in overnight and that is my message to entrepreneurs. We have gone through a lot many struggles but today when I look back, it was all learning! I am happy to have gone through it!”

Listen to your Gut
Chilaka shares, “Listen to your intuition. It is the universe talking to you!”

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