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Exclusive | 'Motu Patlu' is our big ticket item: Nick's Nina Elavia Jaipuria

Viacom 18’s Nickelodeon is premiering   a rib-tickling comedy ‘Motu Patlu’ that cuts across all age groups on 16th October 2012 at 6.30 pm . The high quality state-of-the-art 3D animation with a hilarious Indian storyline is part of Nickelodeon’s constant attempt in offering differentiated Indian content to kids. The classic comic stars Motu-Patlu of Lot Pot Comics. They will be brought alive through stories that are deeply rooted in the Indian culture. Maya Digital Studios, known to have pioneered the art and technology of animation and visual effects in India, have been consistently offering international quality 3D animation for some of the best international studios. Inspired by the characters Motu and Patlu of Lot Pot Comic fame they are now launching it for Viacom 18’s Nickelodeon.
 
Motu Patlu is a lively comic caper which is sure to entertain and engage kids as well as their  families. The stories are set in the beautiful city of Furfuri Nagariya and the ‘Awesome Twosome’ always on adventurous expeditions have an uncanny ability to get into tricky situations without fail! Motu, the super funny character loves binging on samosas and dreams of an exciting and thrilling life! He has an attractive face that can only attract trouble! In contrast is Patlu, Motu’s best buddy who has a heart of undying friendship. His brain travels faster than the speed of light but always lands him in a soup.
 
Music director Gulzar has written the title song for Motu Patlu and in this venture he has teamed up with Sandesh Shandilya, who has composed music for the entire series including the theme song and with renowned singer Sukhwinder Singh who has lent his voice for the song. All the three are glad to be associated with the show and hope it is a great hit with kids!
 
Adgully spoke to Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Executive VP & Business Head, Sonic and Nickelodeon India & Anu Sikka, VP , Programming & Scheduling, Nickelodeon India in connection with the launch of the new show, how they expect it to be an innovative offering from Nick for kids and their families, how comedies are the preferred genre today, the promotional activities undertaken for show and much more.
 
It was when Maya Digital brought their short clippings of Motu Patlu to Nick which created the original thought of having this show on the channel. Says Anu Sikka, “When we saw the 2 minutes clippings we fell in love with the characters. This is just not something new atleast to my generation. We have read it before and we got excited by the thought of creating something which existed with literature for children in India. It’s not been brought up earlier and was a huge risk given that there isn’t a kid’s protagonist so initially there was a huge debate about that.” Adds Nina Jaipuria, “At Nick we have an appetite for taking risks!”
 
Liked and appreciated by one and all, they realized that the stories were strong in the sense that its basic concept, the story, its narration and the characters together combined to make a deep impression. Nina went on to say, “The search is constantly on. It took us long to create Keymon and post Keymon we were looking for something original. It is not easy to find so the minute this came our way we fell for it and wanted to take it up.”
 
Comedy forms the core of a kid’s channel. When asked if this held true only for Nick in comparison to other channels Nina said, “It holds true for most young kids because as they grow up they grow out of comedy as well. But for young kids I would still believe the core is comedy. A comedy action like Ninja would be preferred by them. Otherwise the core is various genres of comedy such as slapstick or silent.” In  Anu’s opinion nothing works better than a comedy. It is universal for the younger kids and works beautifully with their age group. With regard to show’s popularity she said, “It used to be a silent comedy. We have now made it a verbal version and it has now made it to the top 10 because we dubbed it. The show has been on the channel since the last four years and it performs decently well. In the fourth week of rating we see it among the  top ten! 
 
Nina considers themselves a challenger brand. “We challenge ourselves all the time. We were challenged when we dropped at number five  but now we are back to number two position. It is the challenger brand innovation and content which is really working for us,” she says.
 
Motu and Patlu are from the adult category kids but inspite of it Nick went ahead with their decision and did not consider it a cause for issue for a kids channel. Anu explains, “Initially it was a huge debate. Everytime you are making a show it is from a child’s point of view and  how he relates to it. But here the idea is to introduce them to these two characters.  Sadly the culture of reading is disappearing so the television medium is the only way such characters can be brought back to life. It happens abroad all the time where animation series come from kid’s literature so it is happening here too and for the first time at Nick.”
 
But they do not intend selling the show based on nostalgia. Both Anu and Nina share the view that kids do not know the nostalgic language. Nostalgia will come in only when parents get involved since they have read about Motu Patlu during their childhood. This angle would get them interested in the show.
 
Nickelodeon will bring Motu Patlu to the audience through a 360-degree marketing campaign consisting of multiple touch points covering ATL and BTL media vehicles. Mass media such as a cross channel television plan, print, outdoor and radio will be used. In addition, Motu Patlu will also be brought to the kids through numerous BTL activities consisting of van activations in smaller towns, mall activations and engagement in retail chains. Motu Patlu will also be promoted through hobby workshops with Hobby Ideas.
 
Where marketing and building an engagement with the two characters is concerned plenty has been planned on that front .Nina says, “We have done it. Being busy with the launch of the show we have not got the characters costumes as yet as they are very Indian. That will be our next step as we had done for Keymon. We are taking the engagement to the footfall areas where kids are going today. During Dassera, Diwali, Durga Puja vacations we hope to catch them at Malls, Pantaloons and Timezone. We are going to do workshops with Motu Patlu. Bombay Blues is going to do a samosa item for us. The show does a lot of justice to radio as well and these are the different ways we are going to engage with children.” They plan to take the characters outside television and into children’s lives on the lines of promotional activity done for Ninja or Keymon.
 
In order to connect with the tech-savvy kids of today, Nickelodeon will invest in building digital assets for Motu Patlu. Kids can interact on the digital and mobile platform through numerous Motu Patlu games, contests, and a lot more on the dedicated microsite, www.motupatlu.in. Social media like Facebook and Twitter will also be used to keep the engagement going.     
 
On the print front they are restricting themselves to comics, Mayapuri, and Chacha Chaudhary. But Nina considers the television medium more effective where a lot of reach and awareness  is created. Facebook and digital too play an important role  in terms of reach according to her. She went on to elaborate their engagement with children on the social media front and said, “When you go to the website children can play online Motu Patlu games. It is a digital piece which is very evolved and very customized.” Starting with Keymon initially, Motu Patlu is the second in original content from Nick and kids can look forward to some more of this genre soon.
 
Action has been relegated to Sonic and less on Nickelodeon. But presently they have no plans of having action shows on the latter but only slapstick and verbal  humour which kids take to easily. Anu shares her thoughts on this and says, “What is missing in a lot of series especially the older ones is the verbal humour which children can relate to. As a result their attention is diverted to hard core action. So we generally hope that this cuts across the age 4-14 barrier since there is enough slapstick for the younger ones and enough verbal banter for the older children.”
 
Research was conducted with few children in cities such as Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur & Gwalior to find out how they would catch up with the dialogues in Motu Patlu . The response being positive, the heartland is on their focus radar next since the show is in Hindi and the protagonists too are from that demographic area.
 
Today kids watch international action more on the television medium and hence original action has taken a back seat according to both Nina and Anu. Action is universal it is not verbal and need not be Indian for kids today to understand hence the demand for action shows. They also inform that soon Nick has plans to launch their own international Ninja Mutant Turtles.
 
Translating the show is not on their priority list since in this process humour tends to  get lost in translation . Says Anu, “Humour is far more difficult to track. Foreigners may not get attracted to the sense of humour which may attract us. The phrases and references ingrained and picked up from the past and culturally associated will lose its meaning while translated.”
 
With regard to the characters there is presence across the nation with Inspector Jhengum from the South, Dr. Jhatka from Punjab. Ghasitaram from Bengal, Motu Patlu are from the heartland and John the Don from Bollywood!  
Dubbing too is not a priority and they have not given it a thought as of now. All animation shows are expensive with latest technology involved and hence not many are seen on channels today. At this point of time sponsors too have an important role to play. In this regard Nina  says , “Looking at all advertisers on board now because everyone knows this is our big ticket item!”
 
 Nina considers kids as the most dynamic consumers to please and Nick has  to keep evolving and innovating to keep them engaged. With Motu Patlu on the anvil they promise kids a show that has not been seen in the kids category yet.  Motu Patlu is a path-breaking and contemporary show that will go multi-platform to connect with kids all across the country. “We will make sure that the kids have a rollicking time with our crazy duo!” she exclaims. Anu Sikka too supports Nina views and says “Motu Patlu has great story telling, engaging characters and world class quality of animation – the three things that we look for in a show. Motu Patlu surpasses our expectations on all 3 parameters and we are sure that kids will love the show as much as we loved bringing it to them.”
 
Premiering on 16th October 2012 kids can look forward to spending hilarious moments with the lively comic caper and Nick is betting big on the Maya Digital produced 3D animation comic show.
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