Exclusive Launch of the First Teaser of The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid’- In tęte-ŕ-tęte with the creative trio behind the series

Maya Digital Studios and Vimanika comics have come together to bring India’s favorite mythological comic characters into their animated avatars. Maya Digital Studios have created an animated TV series and TV Film based on one of Vimanika’s best selling comic, The Sixth: The Karna. The project titled ‘The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid’, is a contemporary take on the story of the legendary warrior in a format meant for the kids of today. The story of ‘The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid’ revolves around the adventures of a present day 9 year old boy who happens to be the reincarnation of the great warrior Karna. The TV Film will be a 70 minute long, followed by a series of 104, 11 minute stories that will be created based on this comic series. An exclusive preview of the series was presented at the Mumbai Comic Con 2012. The film and the show are primarily aimed at kids in the age-group 7-10 and promise an action adventures treat for them, with a subtle connection in the Indian mythology. Maya Digital Studios and Vimanika comics are launching the first teaser of the series today on the digital platform exclusively on Animationxpress. On this occasion, Animationxpress’ Ishpreet Chandock had an exclusive chat just hours before the launch with the creative trio behind the series- Suhas Kadav, Director of The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid’,Dheeraj Berry, Creative Producer of the show and Karan Vir of Vimanika comics. Here are the excerpts….. Suhas Kadav – Director of ‘The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid’ What is the main reason behind you directing ‘The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid’? As we have mentioned before, Maya as a studio has decided to produce more and more Indian animated content for Indian kids. With the evolution of the Indian animation industry and the positive response to the Indian content we are even more convinced about our strategy in creating this Indian content. The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid is a concept that is completely in line with the kind of content that Maya wants to make and thus we are making it. For me, as a director I am looking at fresh stories, and this one offers precisely that; the challenge of working on a concept based on Indian cultural heritage with a contemporary treatment. Balancing the both beautifully is the challenge and that is why I’m making The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid. How did this show come about for you, and what inspired the idea? As a part of Maya’s strategy to create more and more Indian content, we were on the lookout for Indian concepts when the discussions with Vimanika Comics began. Theirs is an extremely interesting comic; with concepts rooted in Indian mythology get a contemporary treatment for the audiences of today. Among the titles that they had, we chose to begin with The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid, because this story has ample scope for action, adventure and fun which the kids can relate with. That is how this idea came about. How did you decide on the look of the animation for this and what the characters would look like? For a concept like this one, the look is a critical factor. Even with a contemporary treatment, people are familiar with the great Karna and therefore there are certain specific expectations that people have in terms of the look of the character. Also, we had to ensure that while adhering to that image, we had to make the character appealing to the kids of today. So after enough brainstorming, we decided to go ahead with a look that is very today. Also, for a large part in the show and in the film, the story revolves around a 9 year old boy in today’s times, so he had to look like that. The challenge in getting the look as Karna was to maintain the obvious connection with his present day avatar and also make him look like the great Indian warrior. It was indeed a challenging but also an extremely rewarding process. In what stage has the production reached? As we speak, we are in advanced stages of scripting the show, and the pre-production work for a large chunk has already begun. The other production processes are also going full swing. How was the response for the show at the Mumbai Comic Con 2012 where a special preview was showcased? I was very happy with the response we received at the Comic Con. The audiences cheered for the teaser while it was getting unveiled and we had to showcase it multiple times. As a director, I was naturally very thrilled. ‘The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid’,is a contemporary take on the story of the legendary warrior, How different would it be from the actual book in terms of story line and characterization? The primary difference from the book is that The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid, is the story of a 9 year old boy. It is primarily aimed at kids and thus the premise of the show will vary from the original comic accordingly. The comic speaks to an elder audience group. The story line will be suitably adapted to suit our medium and so will the characterization be. As the first teaser is launched today, tell us your thoughts about it? Happy, excited, thrilled; what else can I say? The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid, is a very special project for us at Maya and as it comes face to face with the audiences for the first time, I sincerely hope that the audiences too like and enjoy what we enjoyed making. What can the readers expect from this teaser? The teaser is a snapshot of the film and the show. The readers can expect the same amount of action, adventure and fun from the teaser, and of course a lot of intrigue about The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid. Dheeraj Berry – Creative Producer Tell us about your experience working on The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid’ An Indian storyline, that the story of the mighty Karna, with a contemporary treatment for the kids of today; the work on this already begun with great expectations. From a production standpoint, so far it has delivered the promise on every front and The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid, adheres to every reason why Maya as a studio decided to produce it. The experience has been very good so far, and as the production progresses, I’m sure we will continue with the same fervour. First off – you must be pleased with the feedback for The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid’ special preview earlier this month at Mumbai Comic Con 2012. Thoughts on the good word of mouth it received? Are you pleased that fans are happy with it? One is always happy with the praise one’s work receives that too from the fans. Given the fact that The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid, is based on a well known comic brand; we had both an advantage as well as a challenge to deliver on the set expectations of the brand. It is then that the praise we receive makes it even more special. But what I in my personal capacity and Maya as a studio are happy about most of all is the fact that we set to bring in pure Indian content for today’s kids and so far we have been successful in achieving that. Earlier it was Motu Patlu, with which were able to showcase how world-class 3D animation for a concept from India’s heartland can be married beautifully. And now with The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid, we have taken the next step. It is an action adventure visual treat for the kids and I hope they enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed working on it. In doing a show that’s part mythological and part mystery, with comedy and drama, what are the biggest challenges in keeping everything in balance? Keeping the balance is the biggest challenge. While adding comedy and action elements to a concept based on mythology we had to make sure no one is offended in the process. Also, given the fact that we had to make mythology contemporary and appealing to the kids of today we needed to ensure that no where does it come across as an age old story. That differentiation, which connects well with the Indian, roots as well; is our show’s biggest USP and thus we had to maintain it. Given the fact that our story revolves around a 9 year old boy and it primarily aimed at kids 7 years up, we had to make sure that at first our show appeals to the core TG, they find it exciting, and would want to watch it again and again. With this being a kid’s show, how do you go about deciding the level of violence you want to have on it? The entire action in the show is pertaining to the adventure of this boy Karan, who transforms into the great warrior Karna. It is from the perspective of this young boy and even the warrior Karna is showcased during his childhood days. So there isn’t really any violence so to say. It is about this boy realising his powers and using them only for the betterment of the people around. It is all meant for a good cause and the violence aspect of the action doesn’t exist. The premise of the show includes fun, adventure and action, in that order; so kids can thoroughly enjoy it without their parents having to worry about the violence. How do you plan to market the show from here on? Given the legacy of the original comic, we decided to launch it at the Comic Con. That was a strategic decision. The second interface with the audiences who couldn’t watch it at the Comic Con will happen today, which will be followed by digital promotions. The next phase for the marketing of The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid, will be jointly planned in conjunction with the channel partner, which I can share at the moment. KaranVir – Vimanika Comics Tell us more about the collaboration between Vimanika Comics and Maya Digital Studios? Vimanika is a progressive and contemporary comic brand of India that is set out to create a qualitative benchmark internationally. Naturally when I was seeking for prospective studio partners to collaborate with for The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid, I decided to work with Maya, because as a studio and as a brand, we share the same values, strive for the same level of excellence and want to deliver the same international quality Indian content. So this collaboration was actually a perfect one for us. Can you briefly outline our readers what you intend to achieve with your new collaboration? Through Vimanika, we have managed to give the audiences a different flavour and quality standard when it comes to reading comics based on Indian mythological concepts. We are trendsetters in that sense and strive to better out efforts consistently.  The collaboration with Maya is the next logical step for brand Vimanika. With this, we intend to get our content to the viewers in a more engaging format. With Maya’s legacy of quality I’m sure that the audiences will be able to enjoy the content. The intention of the collaboration was to take a progressive step for the brand and with the launch of The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid, I’m happy to say that we’ve achieved what we had set out for. What kind of creative input do you have in the production of the series? As the maker of the original content on which The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid is based, I ensure that the show is true to the essence of the comic. The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid is definitely an adaptation of the comic which is made more suitable for the medium of animated content, so it isn’t entirely identical to the comic book. What are your expectations from the show? Karna’s is one of the most compelling yet untold stories in Mahabharata, which need to be told. In order to appeal more to the kids of today, we have given it a contemporary treatment. I’m very happy with the way it is turning out and I’m expecting that the audiences too enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed working on it. How has been your experience working on The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid’ with Maya Digital Studios so far? Maya Digital Studios and our brand share common goals of excellence, which is the main reason for our collaboration. So far the experience has been very good and even post The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid; we are looking at a long term content creating collaboration with Maya. The Sixth Karna is a very popular brand both – Nationally and Internationally. Will the series be able to achieve the same success in the digital platform? The fact that The Sixth: Karna is so popular, is the main reason we are beginning the digital adaptation of comic content with the story through The Sixth: Karna – The Warrior Kid. I sincerely hope that the animated adaptation is as popular and the audiences shower the same amount of love and support that they have always given Vimanika. How important is this leap for Vimanika Comics in the road forward? Like I mentioned, it is a strategic and logically progressive step for Vimanika as a brand. A lot depends on how the new format is received and then of course a lot more avenues of content creation and monetisation open up for us. At the moment, I have my fingers crossed. Additional Comments? The real evolution of comics to animation in India begins with this movie. connect@animationxpress.com