Every kids’ content creator in the world today is trying to hold the attention of children a little while longer. As a result, there are abundant shows in the kids’ market segment making the broadcast and animation industry highly creative as well as competitive.
To gain popularity among kids, what could be a better idea than creating a show based on one’s own parenthood experience? Well, that is what Siddharth Maskeri has done through his show PaJaMa. In a candid conversation with AnimationXpress, Maskeri shed light on the Sony Yay!’s comedy show.
The official synopsis of the story reads: Set in the cheerful sub-urban neighbourhood of GolGol, this endearing comedy series is centred around Ja’s misadventures and its hilarious consequences on his unsuspecting father, Pa. With his doting mother Ma always there to keep things together, this lovable family takes us on a fun ride full of laughter, light and love.
Talking about the concept, he said, “It was inspired by my own family and its quirky relationship dynamics.” Maskeri conceived the idea of the show in 2015 when his son was six years old. His son’s curiosities and dreams have guided his family’s decision and it has been a memorable adventure so far for him and his wife, he said. This is the sentiment he wanted to express through the show. The idea was to “spread happiness to more families when they watch it together.”
In terms of characters, with the concept of the show being universal, it inspired the designs to be as simple and symbolic as they could get. The personalities of the characters were inspired from Maskeri himself (Pa), his son Advait (Ja) and his partner Smriti (Ma). And as for why the show is called PaJaMa, Maskeri revealed, “It was born out of spontaneity and it happened to sound like “Pyjama” (a night trouser), which made it sound even funnier.”
Another attraction for children is the language and the sounds. It would be burdensome for them to understand the content if it is not projected in the right language. Using gibberish – as is used in popular shows like Pingu, Molang and Mr. Bean – has become an instant way of attracting an audience. Gibberish, but with well-coordinated actions, can make a show hilarious for children. While Sony Yay! has dubbed PaJaMa in Hindi and Bengali to cater to Indian audiences, the gibberish version of the show has been created for the international regions thus giving it an universal appeal.
Apart from his family who serves as an inspiration for the show, writer Vineet Garg, colourist and light painter Alber Lledo, and Toonz CEO P Jayakumar have helped Maskeri create this kids content. Toonz has produced PaJaMa and commenting on this, Maskeri said, “It happened by the grace of the universe. Wonderful connections are always divine intervention and this divine intervention occurs when one follows their heart.” Further talking about his collaboration with Toonz, Maskeri added, “In 2015 I had shared several concepts with Toonz to partner on. I was in discussions with their IP development team. After several rounds of filtration, the team chose PaJaMa to partner with and develop together. Then we mutually agreed on our roles, investment and profit sharing. In 2016, during the Week with the Masters Animation Festival, I visited Toonz where we signed the collaboration agreement.”
PaJaMa is currently being aired on Sony Yay! from Monday to Friday at 8:30 AM. It has been more than four months since it started running and in Maskeri’s opinion, “the show is better than average even though it is not in the primetime slot.”
Maskeri is currently developing several animated IPs in collaboration with multiple studios. He has also created Story Rainbow pedagogy which facilitates discovery and creativity, and is now looking for a game publisher to make a card game out of it. Apart from that, Maskeri is also writing a children’s novel.