The leading kids channel, Cartoon Network, celebrates this festival season by showcasing the timeless Indian epics. It launches 'Ramayan-The Legend of Prince Ram' on October 5. This two-hour feature-length animation will be telecast in half-hour episodes at 4.00 pm every Saturday leading up to Diwali. On Diwali day, the Network will telecast the entire feature. The Cartoon Network incidentally also completes its 7 years in India next month.
Ramayan-The Legend of Prince Ram, along with Pandavas-The Five Warriors, is part of a specially packaged programming block for Dusshera and Diwali, titled The Great Indian Epics. The block will be telecast in Hindi and English. Currently, the channel is running a teaser campaign to create awareness and build-up the hype. The growing interest in programming of Indian origin indicates a major shift in the Cartoon Network's content policy.
"Cartoon Network's aggressive localization strategy, of which sourcing local content is an integral part, has led to strong growth in ratings and viewership. As per the August 2002 TAM ratings reports, within the core target group of kids 4-14, SEC ABC, C&S Homes, the Network today ranks number one among kids channels and number two among all national channels during kids primetime as well as the 16-hour day part," said Ian Diamond, senior vice president and general manager, Turner Entertainment Networks Asia Inc.
"Cartoon Network is celebrating this festive season with truly relevant programming for our young generation in an entertaining format," added Anshuman Misra, managing director, Turner International India Pvt. Ltd.
Produced in Japan with technical collaboration from India, the Ramayan feature is a fusion of the MANGA School of animation from Japan and the artistic style of famous Indian painter Ravi Varma. It is directed and conceived by Japanese filmmaker Yugo Sako. It was awarded the best animation film of the year in 2000 at the Santa Clarita International Festival, California.
"The telecast of Ramayan-The legend of Prince Ram's telecast on Cartoon Network establishes animation as an entertainment genre in India," said Ram Mohan, co-director of the feature who also happens to be toying with the idea of a similar kind of animation feature on Lord Krishna.
Well-known Bollywood actors Shatrughan Sinha, Amrish Puri, Rahul Bose besides Cyrus Broacha have dubbed for the feature. Vanraj Bhatia has composed its music.