Cartoon Network India & Animasia Malaysia come together for Roll No. 21

By FARHATNAZ ANSARI | 24 January, 2011 - 10:35

Roll no. 21, Cartoon Network‘s new series is developed jointly by Cartoon Network India and Animasia, the famous Malaysian Studio which has earlier produced a popular Malaysian cartoon series, Balla Bowl with CN. For Roll no. 21, CN provided the story and script and Animasia did the character designs, directing, story boarding, animation and final post production. This 26X11 min series has the title track music composed by Dhirendra Mulkalwar, Rajat Dasgupta and Sanjay Ramachandran. Background Music Director is Francis Cobb from Malaysia. The story of Roll No. 21 is written by Divya Chandel, Kaushik Chawla, Richa Deo and Robert Adams.

Research and ratings of shows based on the character of Krishna on TV channels revealed that Krishna was one subject that the kids‘ audience always loved. It was across all regions and sections in India. Based on this, CN developed their own IP that played on Krishna‘s mischievous character and yet was true to the Cartoon Network brand - that‘s why Krishna, coming to school as Kris with mischief, action and adventure through Roll No 21.

Speaking to Edmund Chan, Managing Drector, Animasia Studio Sdn Bhd, shares, "The working experience with Cartoon Network was fantastic as we learned a lot from their experts. Moreover, I think Cartoon Network is also very happy with our strong team of talented animators in Animasia. During these processes, we manage to gain a lot of pre production experience as we were under the guidance of the Producer and Creative Director from Cartoon Network".

When asked about the production of Roll no. 21 Edmund says, "For the production work, it was all handled by Animasia. Cartoon Network‘s team will provide script and Animasia will then produce the Story Boards. Once the Story Board is approved by Cartoon Network, we will then start work on the animation process".

Krishna Desai, Director, Programming, South Asia, Turner International India Pvt. Ltd. echos Edmund words saying, "Right from the concept level, the production studio was kept in loop about the Indian mythology, Krishna and Kansa‘s story. It was made clear that mythology was to form the base without hurting Indian sensibilities. The preproduction level had numerous sketches of the main characters studied and finally the channel zeroed in on the ones in the series. Idea was to have colorful backgrounds and equally colorful characters that looked Indian without looking similar to any of those present in a typical Krishna story".

When asked about the challenging part in the series, Krishna Desai replies, "The most challenging part was to have a distinction between the mythological, typical Krishna and modern day Kris. Same with other main characters like Kansa, Narad etc. It was challenging because it was never done before and we had walk on a tight rope that told Krishna centric stories in a modern setting taking full cognizance of Indian sensibilities".

He further adds, "The challenge lied in bringing out the mythological flavor and mixing it with modern day, day-to-day school experiences that every kid has. It was important to have the main characters (Krishna and Kansa) show off their human side as Kris and principal Kanishk... The age old battle between the two characters, between good and evil needed to be brought in front without it looking dull and boring and in a way that was never explored before."

To make idea understood clearly Cartoon Network organized workshop for the writers and animators, and a constant back and forth of ideas and illustrations were done till the channel was sure that the two parallel worlds and characters met in a convincing setting.

Roll No. 21 is being aired on Cartoon Network India from Saturday-Sunday at 5pm. This modern Krishna series has hit the sweet spot with an on-air yield of over 115% since launch, with episodic ratings beginning to hit 1 TVRs.