In conversation with Nina Jaipuria, Head - Hindi Mass Entertainment and The Kids TV Network at Viacom18.

In keeping with the maxim that nothing appeals to kids more than Bollywood, Viacom 18’s children’s division, Nickelodeon, has decided to partner with well-known producer-director, Rohit Shetty, for an animated version of his super-hit franchise, Golmaal.

“Golmaal Junior kicks off on Sonic channel today at 1.30 pm (as with animation protocol, 2 fresh episodes will be telecast back to back). We plan to have at least 100 episodes,” added Nina Jaipuria, Head – Hindi Mass Entertainment and The Kids TV Network at Viacom18.

The new series brings to life a heady mix of slice-of-life friendship, relatable characters, humor and loads of fun – all rolled into an enthralling joyride. It follows the fun face-off between two groups, helmed by film characters, Gopal (Ajay Devgn) and Madhav (Arshad Warsi) respectively. Together, they are fun, chaotic, mischievous and are sure to entertain and engage the kids.

Nina says, “Although our series is based on Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal, we have also created the character of the stern principal, which will remind you of Utpal Dutt’s character in the old Golmaal (Hrishikesh Mukherjee).”

“Research has shown that today kids don’t want only positive characters. Rather, they want guys who have lots of fun, who might even border on the grey. Today, kids have really matured and get life.”

Going on, Nina adds, “Nickelodeon has always identified white spaces and launched characters that are ground-breaking. Each of the local home-grown Nicktoons, Pakdam Pakdai, India’s first chase comedy, Motu Patlu – the only adult protagonist in the kids’ animation category, Shiva, India’s whiz kid, Gattu Battu, India’s first animated detective series, Rudra Boom Chik Chik Boom, India’s first Magictoon, have all introduced kids to new genres of entertainment. With the launch of Golmaal Jr, the Nickelodeon franchise will set into motion an aggressive content strategy for the year. With over 500 hours of content, the franchise today has the largest, most immersive and the most versatile local content library in the category. The coming year will see further scaling of the content library with over 200 + hours of content, expected to be added through shows as well as made-for-television movies.”

“Not resting on our laurels, we plan to grow aggressively in the south regional markets as well. Our homegrown IPs have also worked in other, non Indian markets, thereby increasing our revenue streams,” says Nina.

Talking about children’s channels’ prime time band, Nina opines, “Ideally, we don’t have any fixed time slot, but yes, during summers and winter breaks, which is our core season, kids tune in more in the noon hours.”

When we ask as to why Golmaal Junior was shot in animation and not real life, Nina says, “Kids still prefer animation as the vehicle to let their imaginations fly. We have tied up with Reliance Animation for the same. In keeping with digital, the series will stream on Voot as well.”

The channel is leaving no stone unturned in creating buzz about Golmaal Junior. “Apart from promos running on all Viacom channels (Colors, MTV), there is also an extensive reach out programme via billboards and mall activations going on across major cities,” says Nina.

Nina admits that Sonic has not done well and hence they were bringing in Golmaal Junior to fire it up. Any cross-channel telecast? “No, all our brands remain loyal to their mother channels.”

She also accepts that the market is in a flux right now with TRAI guidelines kicking in.

In closing, Nina adds that they would love to make a short or long film (as they do with all original characters) with Golmaal characters as well. “But as the rights remain with Rohit Shetty, let’s see how things work out.”

We hope that Golmaal Junior gives blockbuster numbers just as its cine franchise does on the Box Office.

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