Vaibhav Studios “Return of the Jungle” Conviction in Indian content for the Indian audience

When it comes to creating animated characters and stories that connect and become favourites with Indian audiences, he is arguably India’s best. When it comes to storytelling full of humour, timing and punchy performances, again he is amongst India’s best. The creator of Simpoo, Birthday Bhoot, Ooga Booga, BulaDi, ChulBuli, Amaron battery TVC campaign, Vodafone Parrot and several other super popular animated characters, ‘Vaibhav Kumaresh’ is possessed, manically obsessed and driven possibly by the devil himself. Every time he creates a character, it becomes an instant hit! With kids, with youth, with grown-ups and in the process making terms such as age groups and gender groups meaningless. His content appeals and connects with all of the Indian audiences! (His films have also wowed audiences in Malaysia, China and conferences and festivals whichever part of the globe they have been shown in. But that’s for sharing in another piece)

Having explored the TVC and Interstitial space completely, making one popular character after another for more than a decade now, Vaibhav Studios for the past one year has been working on its dream project ‘Return of the Jungle’ a NexGen CGI feature of 90 minutes which is made up of 3 x 30 mins stories titled Josh, Dosti, aur Taqaat.

A still from Vaibhav Studio’s Return of the Jungle

Return of the Jungle: Synopsis Mihir, Rohan, Ali and their gang of friends from class III face their biggest challenges in school. To their rescue comes their close buddy Thatha: the nutty old man. He peps them up with his highly inspiring stories from the jungle where he lives! Will the gang of friends stand up to the challenge? Find out with the return of the jungle! NexGen Feature Explaining the term NexGen Feature, Vaibhav shared, “Well our 90 minute feature consists of multiple stories interwoven to create a larger plot. This means that going by the trend of shorter attention spans of the post modern child, a smart exhibitor can take a couple of those stories and make a 60 minute NexGen Feature and have more shows in a day. A broadcaster can serialize and showcase one story a week for 3 weeks or put all three together. This brings more flexibility to the product without compromising on the storytelling or the fun and entertainment experience! That is what I mean by NextGen Feature.” The 1st promo clip of Return of the Jungle was recently showcased on Facebook and Youtube and it has re-energized the Indian animation fraternity which is bowled over by the Eccentric Design, Original Local Flavor and amazing richness of detail. Vaibhav Studios: Conviction in Indian content for the Indian audience “We are investing all that we have into this show” shares Vaibhav, “The Indian audiences have loved our films and characters for more than a decade. Now we want to try and achieve the same consistency in production, storytelling and entertainment value in the longer format as well. Return of the Jungle is our attempt to do that. It is indeed a rare conviction that truly gifted geniuses possess. In Vaibhav’s case he is convinced that the Indian audience is the audience to target, this despite the fact that most studios in India want to create content that targets global audiences. Given his track record, Vaibhav knows that people all over India, of all ages love his animation and characters. “Studios keep harping on global content, however as a creator I feel, that the stories I tell need to be those that communicate and talk to people where I come from.  I would bet my last penny and all my talent on the Indian audience which is my audience.” he shares.
View the Promo :
Putting his money where his mouth is Vaibhav has put his money where his mouth is, for the past whole year Vaibhav Studios has not done any commercials devoting all its time to the creation of the NexGen feature, involving 40 artists at peak time and 15 artists consistently throughout the 12 month period, and no 3rd party investor involved so far. Doing no commercials means saying no to so many loyal clients, it also means resisting the obvious temptation to letting some moolah flow in…that must take a lot of conviction? “That’s right.” Shares Vaibhav, “During the last one year we have refused/ cut down on many of our projects to be able to devote ourselves entirely to our film. Thankfully a majority of our clients are extremely understanding, and even wish us well. In return we do recommend some of our close friends so that the project goes to safe hands. So far God has been kind. Whenever we have opened shop to restart our commercial projects our clients have always been there for us.” Design, Animation, Production Values: Leaving no stone unturned Like any project that Vaibhav Studios is involved with, and probably more since this is their maiden long form project, a mountain of effort has gone into impeccable detailing, texturing, rigs, animation tests and creation of a whole ensemble of characters leaving no stone unturned. That of course is on the production side, the real deal is the story telling and characterization and performance for which Vaibhav Studios has built its legacy on.
View the Slide Show :
The animatics is so detailed it almost looks like the final animation, albeit in a stylized design, the hallmark Vaibhav Studios nuances are there in every scene and the relevance to the average everyday Indian is so strong that one instinctively knows that if animation has to go as mainstream in India as bollywood is, then this is it! Vaibhav the Producer vs Vaibhav the director. Who wins? So is there any inner conflict between Vaibhav Studios the Producer VS Vaibhav Kumaresh the director?  Vaibhav shares,“In most cases the producer and director within work together beautifully. However conflicts do happen. The director at times falls in love with certain items in the wish list that are highly time consuming! The producer within at once runs a quick mental budget scan! Meanwhile the director tries to think like a lame audience to see whether that ‘wish’ is critical to the story telling of the film or not. If yes, then the producer goes all the way to accommodate. If not then the producer mercilessly rejects the ‘wish’ and inspires all artists including the director to move on. The ‘wish’ however is postponed to the checklist of the next film!” Queuing up: Investors, Broadcasters, Distributors That takes us to the next and obvious question. There must have been a rush of broadcasters, distributors, buyers and investors wanting to tie-up and partner with Vaibhav’s maiden long form venture? “Yes of course all the broadcasters and a lot of distributors are interested. We have had investor interest as well. We are in talks but want to be sure that we eventually work with the right partners where the mindset, goals and vision match.  We have a 100% conviction in the Indian Audience and in products made with a strong focus on the Indian market. And we are convinced that no effort must be spared in the best writing, performance and production values, which means we do not want to cut corners or budgets. Any potential partner needs to share conviction on both fronts with us. On my part I can definitely assure handsome return on investments” shares Vaibhav. The man who has been prolific and historic on the Indian animation scene for the past decade is creating a new chapter in the history of Indian animation. And no smart broadcaster, distributor, investor will want to miss featuring in these golden pages! Chak De!