Keymon Ache, a new show on Nickelodeon, takes over from Japanese Manga characters Doraemon and Kiteretsu, infusing rap, magic and philosophy into a desi set-up for kids sick of cartoon Hanumans
When you ask Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Nickelodeon India, the channel that will host the upcoming children's show Keymon Ache, about the name of the show, she tells you that if you were a kid you would have figured it out. "Keymon is actually an anagram of monkey. We wanted to infuse some fun and masti in the name," she laughs. The fact that it means 'how are you' in Bengali is completely incidental. And ache has been added for phonetic value. Animated by Hyderabad-based DQ Entertainment Group in 2D animation in high definition, the show is the channel's first locally produced content.
The show, which will premiere tomorrow, is about nine year-old Rohan Tendulkar, whose monkey-shaped bag brought by his father from one of his international travels, transforms into a magical monkey Keymon, who gets Rohan out of sticky situations, reprimands him when he is naughty and is his friend, philosopher and guide. If this sounds somewhat like the robot cat Doraemon or Korusuke, another robot created by genius boy Kiteretsu, both characters in a Japanese Manga series, you may not be wrong. Both series work on the same principles of a magical creature acting as conscience-keeper to kids.
But what makes Keymon different from these characters, claims Tapaas Chakravarti, CMD, CEO and Executive Producer, DQ is that the situations are extremely culture-specific and in this case, Indian. "There is a middle class mother, father, a typical maths teacher and other regular Indian characters which you will not find in these Japanese series. Plus, there is the use of humour, rap music and dance, which makes this show different." A Doraemon couldn't possibly compete with a Keymon who retorts with lines like 'Nahin mein Preity Zinta hoon' to Rohan's question: 'Tum zinda ho?'" explains Jaipuria.
The show has been developed on the notion that kids are tired of watching animated mythological characters on Indian TV and films and want something they can relate to and engage with. Targeted at five year-olds and older, the show has been developed by the animators behind international shows like Jungle Book, Iron Man and Back in the Barnyard and had the challenge of creating characters who would be Indian in sensibility, but global in appeal. "We created characters that looked cartoonish and stylised, but could be anywhere -- from India or even Mediterranean regions in Europe," says Tapas.
While it might not be fair to compare Keymon Ache with films like Wall E or Finding Nemo because they are proper CGI feature films with mammoth budgets, Keymon is at par with any international animated show on television in terms of quality and slickness, claims Tapas. Keymon Ache premieres on Nickelodeon on May 9, 7 pm.