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By Roshni Chakrabarty
The children’s animation industry in India has long been dominated by foreign characters of international fame. Local successes are very few and far between and are easily forgotten. Mickey Mouse was created in 1928, while Tom and Jerry were born in 1940. Even the recently popular ‘Doraemon’ started off as a manga in 1969, and was later turned into a TV series in 1973.
It takes a long time for a cartoon show to garner massive popularity. Besides, the cost of producing such a cartoon is quite high, while the success rates are low. As a result, Indian children have long been familiar with only some very popular international cartoons, which are at times, dubbed in Hindi, as procuring these shows from abroad is more economical than creating fresh ones.
Ek Anek Aur Ekta, the first Indian animation released in 1974 was only seven minutes long. The very first animated Indian TV series Ghayab Aya was telecast on Doordarshan in June 17, 1990. However, these were the only Indian animations available at the time.
In the 90’s Doordarshan, being the only primary channel for Indians, telecasted animated series such as Mowgli, Tale Spin, Duck Tales, and other Disney cartoon shows. Soon, Cartoon Network became the first 24-hour cartoon channel in India. Within a few years after that, there cropped up a number of TV channels for kids such as the Disney Channel, POGO, Nickelodeon India, Hungama TV, Animax India, and Toon Disney, which primarily showed cartoon series apart from game shows and educational programs.
Despite the country’s rich television and film history, Indian animators used to routinely be hired by foreign production houses to work in the backend. This resulted in a lack of story-telling sense among them. Besides, children don’t mind if a cartoon character doesn’t look Indian, and as such, there was little to no demand for Indian originated content.
In the recent times, however, despite the economic constraints, the Indian animation industry is slowly and steadily churning out cartoon series based on Indian characters and derived from Hindu mythology.
1. Chhota Bheem
This series, since its first appearance on the Pogo channel in 2008, has made a massive climb in popularity. Now, Chhota Bheem merchandise is all the rage among kids.
Created by the CEO of Green Gold Animation Rajiv Chilaka, ‘Chhota Bheem’ features the very brave, intelligent and extremely strong nine-year-old Bheem, who lives in the fictional town on Dholakpur in rural India. Bheem’s character is evidently based on the super-strong Pandava brother from Mahabharatha.
The cartoon series follows Bheem and his friends in their efforts to assist Dholakpur’s Raja Indravarma in protecting the city-state and even neighboring kingdoms from various forces of evil. It also shows the rivalry between Bheem and Kalia Pehalwan, a jealous ten-year-old bully who goes around the town with his sidekicks Dholu and Bholu. Their plots to defeat and embarrass Bheem never succeed.
2. Mighty Raju
Also produced by Green Gold Animation, this is a spin-off of the Chhota Bheem series. The series, focusing on 4-year-old Raju with superhuman strength and a strong moral code, is more of an animated film series as each episode is of one hour.
Raju’s mother Sandhya, while pregnant with him, had mistakenly consumed a compound called Neutrino, created by Raju’s scientist father Swami. This resulted in Raju being born with super powers which he uses to fight his father’s former partner and scientist rival Karati. Raju tries to do good in the world without expecting any reward, and while risking his own safety.
3. Roll No. 21
Airing on Cartoon Network India, this award winning series features a modern take on the Krishna-Kansa rivalry and is a hit with school-going children as it deals with the problems a student faces.
‘Roll No. 21’ shows Kansa reincarnated as Principal Kanishk of the Mathura Anath Ashram (Mathura Orphanage and School) who plans to take over Mathura and the world with support from his demons and minions. However, his plans are always foiled by Kris, the reincarnation of Krishna, who is a student at the orphanage. Kris keeps the goodness alive in the orphanage children and uses his wit and mythical powers to fend off Kanishk’s evil plans.
4. Little Krishna
This 3D computer animated series, which started airing on Nickelodeon in May 2009, was created after extensive and thorough research into the legends revolving around the childhood pastimes of Lord Krishna. It goes beyond the popularly known tales to present a truly exclusive content to the audience.
‘Little Krishna,’ depicting the traditional tales from Krishna’s childhood and his interactions with the Vrindavan villagers, is based on the writings of the Six Goswamis of Vrindavana, the Srimad Bhagavatam chronicles, and seven years of research work by ISKCON Bangalore devotees. It then underwent a further two and a half years of production and research work by BIG Animations.
The show combines motifs of Indian design with classical Western styles to produce a contemporary format. Though it was primarily created in English, it was later dubbed in several other Indian languages, including Hindi.
5. Krishna Balram
This is yet another Hindu mythology-based production by Green Gold Animation, which depicts the childhood pastimes of Lord Krishna and his brother Lord Balram. It shows Krishna and his friends, including Radha, embarking on thrilling adventures based on Lord Krishna’s time-honored tales.
6. The Adventures of Tenali Raman
This was the first Indian animated television series to gain this much acclaim and was made available in both English and Hindi languages. Produced by Toonz Animation Studios, the series aired on Cartoon Network in June 2003.
It depicted the tales featuring Tenali Raman – a much loved character from Indian folklore. It was one of the first Indian produced cartoon series acquired by Cartoon Network to increase its hold on the Indian audience and also make the channel more relevant to the Indian market.
7. Chorr Police
This funny cartoon series by Green Gold Animation airs on Disney XD only in Hindi.
Anthony, a Mumbai slum dweller, who steals from the rich and gives it to the poor, is called the Robinhood Slumdog of Mumbai. Each episode begins with the ‘Chorr’ Anthony stealing something and trying to escape the crime scene with the ‘Police’ Lovely Singh, a muscular Sardar in police uniform, chasing him. Anthony, at the end of each episode, narrowly manages to escape.
Very realistically, Lovely Singh is said to have come to Mumbai initially to be an actor, failing which, he joins the police force.
8. Motu Patlu
The India CGI animated Sitcom television series, adapted from the classic comic strip on Lot Pot Magazine, premiered on Nickelodeon in October 2012.
The cartoon series features two close friends Motu and Patlu, living in the fictional city of Furfuri Nagar. ‘Jon the Don’, who longs to be a well-known criminal, along with his henchmen, form a villain group whose plans are always foiled thanks to the duo. The episodes show how the two friends land in hilariously troubling situations, usually initiated by Motu, and how Patlu solves the problem, often depending on sheer luck.
The series theme song ‘Motu Aur Patlu Ki Jodi’ is sung by Sukhwinder Singh.
9. Kumbh Karan
Broadcasted by Pogo, this series was released in June 2010. The show follows the twin brothers Kumbh and Karan, living in a small colony named Ajab-Gajabpur.
The plump 10-year-old Kumbh is lazy, sleepy and hungry. He is extremely strong but has a soft heart. His character is evidently based on the mythic giant from Ramayana, Kumbhkarna, who was one of Ravana’s brothers. He slept for half a year and could only be awoken with the aroma of food. On the other hand, Kumbh’s brother, Karan, is agile and smart. The cartoon series depicts the various quests the brothers embark upon along with their pet porcupine Kaddu, and their friend Tara.
This 2D animation series was initially a comic series named ‘Cricket Miracles’ developed by Toonz Animation. It was then turned into an animated series which aired on Discovery Kids.
‘Howzzattt’ depicts the adventures of a group of cricket crazy youngsters calling themselves ‘Gulab Nagar Junglees’ who coach under Sweety Aunty and play matches against bullies who refuse to adhere to the rules of the game. Each episode shows a cricket match against different opponents as the children overcome various obstacles to attain success. Most of the time the challenge comes in the form of Thakral, a rich neighbourhood businessman who longs to acquire the Gulab Nagar Society land.
Owing to India’s cricket craze, the cartoon series quickly gained popularity leading the producers to launch ‘Howzzattt Game’ for Android mobile phones.
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)
The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.
Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.
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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.
"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.
It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.
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This applies to less intense situations too. Dating, for example, can be tricky — especially when it's online or via digital apps, as it often is now.
The study also found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
In celebration of World Emoji Day on Saturday, Adobe's '2021 Global Emoji Trend Report' surveyed 7,000 people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. (IANS/KB)
Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.
Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.
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After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin
Sirisha flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University.IANS
Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Mary Wallace 'Wally' Funk, and other passengers are set to liftoff from west Texas and travel just beyond the edge of space on July 20. Blue Origin announced this week that Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old high school graduate from the Netherlands, would join the crew.
Oliver is the son of millionaire Joe Daemen, Founder, and CEO of the Dutch investment company Somerset Capital Partners. Blue Origin, however, did not reveal how much Daemen paid for his son's trip to space. Bezos chose July 20 as the launch date to honor the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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The launch site for Blue Origin's first human flight will be in a remote location north of Van Horn, Texas, from where the firm had launched New Shepard for previous flights. Blue Origin has received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry humans on the New Shepard rocket into space.
On July 12, Bandla touched the edge of space with three others, including Virgin Galactic's billionaire CEO Richard Branson. Bandla vaulted into space onboard VSS Unity 22. After the successful spaceflight, Branson carried the Indian-American on his shoulders while celebrating their flight to space, at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (IANS/KB)