"The medium offers unparalleled creative freedom with storytelling"
Chulbul Pandey, one of Bollywood’s most recognised characters, is getting an animated makeover for a new series.
The popular policeman was played by Salman Khan in the Dabanng franchise.
Arbaaz Khan Productions will collaborate with animation studio Cosmos-Maya to bring the Dabanng story for children.
In addition to Chulbul, characters Rajjo, Makkhi, Chhedi Singh, Prajapati Pandey among others will also feature in the series.
The adaptation is currently at the early stages of development. The first of two planned seasons will have 52 episodes set for 2021.
Arbaaz said: “Dabangg’s dramatic personae are so widely appreciated that the audience is craving for more stories on these characters.
“The quicker production time of animation will fill in the gaps between feature films.
“The medium offers unparalleled creative freedom with storytelling, and we can focus on shorter standalone stories of favourite characters in lieu of longer, linear narratives.”
Although Salman Khan is known for playing Chulbul Pandey, the actor will not be doing the voicing.
Arbaaz explained: “The animation series is an adaptation.
“Thus, there are a few creative changes audio-visually to make it more befitting for the medium. Strategically, we have decided to not have Salman or the other actors doing the voice-over for their avatars.”
For Cosmos-Maya, the Dabangg series is their first adaptation of a major Bollywood franchise.
Anish Mehta, CEO of Cosmos-Maya, said:
“We did not want to create the show as a marketing gimmick.
“The idea was to take a popular character and reimagine him in the animation space. For instance, the exaggerated comic elements in Dabangg are well suited for kids and family audiences.
“We have the director of Motu Patlu and our top creative team on this project. Of course, Arbaaz and Salman will be hearing all the stories and guiding us through the development.”
It will be a dynamic 2D animation. Anish expanded on the decision:
“If you see the TV adaptations of Hulk, Spider-Man or Superman, they are all dynamic 2D animations. Since Chulbul Pandey is the Indian equivalent of Hollywood superheroes, we wanted to adopt this format.
“Instead of doing a low-budget 3D animation, we have created a distinct art style for the character.”
“Think of a shot where Chulbul kicks a villain and the villain shoots up in outer space. We can easily take such liberties which won’t be believable in live-action.”
While India’s lockdown has delayed production, Anish hopes to have the show on screens by April 2021.
He added: “We managed to be up-and-running at a 70 per cent capacity with work from home. We are planning an exciting marketing campaign for the series around Diwali.”
Arbaaz said: “Bollywood and television has always been a beautiful combination, more so with OTTs coming in.
“As the IP propagates itself further in this space, more feature films will be planned.”