Arena Animation spreads Covid-19 awareness through animated videos

B. S. Srinivas
The Covid-19 pandemic is getting scarier with every passing day, but it’s not something to panic about. Managing kids in this situation is a task and making them understand the contagion and its effects is all the way more difficult.  Arena Animation developed a cartoon character called Vajra to explain young and grown-ups alike about all the precautions that need to be taken to stay safe. A team of eight from Malleswaram centre and VedAtma Animation Studios worked relentlessly day and night to put together these videos in a record time of three days. Everything was developed in-house including the script, storyboard, production, post editing & voice-overs. Vajra is an outcome of an initiative launched in collaboration with Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and the Health Department of the Government of Karnataka. The animated videos created in English and Kannada were launched on 23 March. The 20 animated videos are 20 seconds each, which sees Vajra, a young boy aged about 10-12 years with a doctors coat & glasses. The character came into existence when the team at Arena sat down to conceptualise the videos, and thought that an unique friendly character conveying the messages would be perfect for the subject. Then started the process of finding the right look for the character which should connect to kids. “When it came to naming the character, a few names were considered which should be related to a strong fighter or a weapon. Vajra  sounded just perfect for the character as it is the name of the lightning thunder weapon of Lord Indra, the celestial King of Devas, which he used to destroy the evil Asuras with. So Vajra came into existence to help the kids destroy the evil Corona,” mentioned Arena Animation director, VedAtma Animation Studios CEO and ABAI Secretary B. S. Srinivas. Each animated film comprises relevant messages and  voice overs conveying precautionary measures to be taken during the Covid-19. Washing hands regularly for at least 20 secs, maintaining at least one metre distance with others, wearing a mask, avoiding crowded places are some of the ideas. “Kids usually don’t listen to lots of preaching by elders. To be able to convey these messages properly to the young ones, it is appropriate to connect through a medium which they like & love, a lovable cartoon character. So we thought that if a good looking positive & strong character reaches out to them & shows them how to take care during these times through animated videos, it will be effective,” added Srinivas. Srinivas and his team were approached by the local body BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) which comes under the Karnataka State Health Department to come out with something innovative for the kids on Covid-19. “We hope that these videos reach out to every nook and corner of the state and help in creating awareness leading to a safer and a healthier state. Our intention is to ensure that we do our bit towards rebuilding a healthier country after coming out of this crisis being faced,” he concluded. Hope these videos reach every corner of not just the state but our country as a whole and make the initiative global soon, so that more awareness spreads to make this pandemic end soon.