Green Gold Animation, the creators of the famous animated character Chhota Bheem, has signed up with the famous tennis star Leander Paes for an original animated series tentatively titled Little Leander. The animated original will feature Paes’ life, the challenges and his childhood experiences during his journey to become one of the greatest tennis stars and a global icon.
Talking about the legend Paes and the upcoming show, Green Gold Animation founder and CEO Rajiv Chilaka told Animation Xpress, “Leander is one of the most successful players in tennis history with eight career Grand Slam doubles titles and 10 career Grand Slam mixed doubles championships. He also holds many firsts in the world of tennis. The show will take inspiration from true events in his life and will be created with kids and young teens in mind. This sports adventure will serve to bring out the passion, the sacrifices, the attitude and the heart required to accept wins and losses with grace as personified by Leander throughout his life and career.”
The studio is looking at creating the series in 3D/2D animation format. Not revealing much about the episodes and the format of the show, Chilaka shared, “The life of Leander has been one of many memorable moments and experiences that defined the journey of the champion that he grew up to become. We have been privy to a few of those and are working closely with him to understand more of his life, journey, struggles and inspiration. At this stage of development, we are hoping to capture as many of these experiences as we can and will soon decide on a number that will do justice to him and the show idea.”
The animated IP will be co-owned by both Green Gold Animation and Paes. Sharing the idea and inspiration behind creating this series, Chilaka commented, “The inspiration has been Leander himself! A champion such as him does not come often. A better human being, even fewer in number. The idea is to share the discipline, the struggles and the doubts that make Leander not just a champion but a good and kind human being. Sports makes one understand the value behind a loss and the win behind even a failed whole hearted attempt. We want the show to inspire the best version of every kid.”
Commenting on the association with Paes, Chilka said, “It has been a whirlwind and an amazing journey so far. We have been discussing the concept, the direction the show needs to take, the look and the visuals very closely with Leander over the past year. It gives us great pleasure that he is equally enthused about creating this show and has given us access to his life defining experiences and learning. Moving ahead we will also try to glean as much as we can from his family, friends and compatriots to understand him more. We are privileged to be able to get a glance into his early life and hope to do justice to him and the idea.”
The tennis star has visited the studio’s state of the art facility at Hyderabad for multiple narration sessions and has been involved in the initial phase of visual development. Little Leander will not just focus on Leander Paes’ life story, interesting incidents, turning points but will also use his childhood images for referencing and research work.
Speaking on the occasion, tennis superstar Leander Paes said, “I’m thrilled for this show to be made because this in a way also becomes my legacy to stay. This is a very heartwarming opportunity because through this series I will be communicating with young minds and looking to inspire them towards positive development. The thought in itself is very fulfilling. I met Rajiv multiple times to understand how the story will develop and his vision for the series. I’m assured that I’m in safe hands. I would like to thank Kim and Rajiv for making this happen. I’m glad that this is taking off and can’t wait to see the pilot now.”
The pilot/teaser is expected to be ready soon and Paes has also committed to the promotion of the series along with Green Gold. Chilaka concluded, “At this stage, we are aiming to have a teaser or pilot ready in the next three months and move on from there. The show promises to perform immensely well on both linear as well as OTT platforms. Hopefully we are able to create a global IP that inspires today’s generation to carry the legacy of Leander Paes both on and off court.”