The craze for cartoons will forever be one emotion that will bind together generations of kids. In their witty, hilarious avatars, cartoons are one of the most innocent and enjoyable means of entertainment. And why just kids, even as adults we cannot seem to miss any airing of our favorite cartoon show. More than the show however, it is the characters that become more endearing to us. While Tom and Jerry, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Teletubbies are eternal favorite, there also are some Indian cartoons that have garnered their own exclusive legion of fans and popularity. Here are some such Indian cartoon characters that got so popular that they are now very common household names-
Among the most famous cartoon characters of India is Motu Patlu who have been enthralling children with their entertainment. Though a cartooned presence since only about eight years now, this duo of physical contrasts had been as popular a source of delight when they featured earlier in the Lotpot comic strips. The best of friends despite being worlds apart in physicality, with even their names manifesting this stark difference, both Motu and Patlu turn out as amiable characters that feel like and look so Indian.
A short, stout man, Motu is fond of samosas that render him more powerful and goads him on to a host of adventurous tasks that often lead him to trouble. To bail him out, his thin and lanky friend Patlu devises a number of ways, often a times however himself also slipping into troubles with Motu. Together they go about their lives in the fictional city Furfuri Nagar, embarking on everyday adventures and indulging in antics, delivering the adage ‘Bure kam ka bura natiza’ through their own recurring trysts with trouble.
One of the cartoon characters that has become a household name in India now is that of Chhota Bheem. Featuring in the animated television series of the same name, Chhota Bheem is a drawing from one of the five Pandavas, Bhim, though the tales are not references to mythology at all. Known for his valour and bravery much like the Pandava brother himself, Chhota Bheem leads a life of immense adventure. Fun loving and good natured, Chhota Bheem makes use of his superhuman strength to portect the people of his homeplace Dharamapur from trouble.
Known also for his love for the Indian sweet laddoos, a nine year old Bheem goes about his life along with his friends Chutki, Jaggu and Raju forever outshining arch nemesis Kaliya and his sidekicks. On air for more than a decade now, Chhota Bheem continues to rule the popularity charts and has been considered as India’s largest children’s entertainment brand.
(Roll number 21)
Kris, an apparent reference to Lord Krishna is another of the Indian cartoon characters that pretty much every Indian kid adores. Featuring in the show Roll Number 21 that does not sound anything like having to do with the mythological tales of Krishna, Kris is in fact shown as an incarnation of Lord Krishna. And so are all his friends and the other characters projected as incarnation of such names derived from mythology. Roll Number 21 happens to be a modern take on the tale of Lord Krishna and his uncle Kansa. And so is Kris a modern take on Krishna, with all the characteristics of the Lord built into him.
A blue skinned godly child who harbours a fondness for butter and can transform to his divine form as and when needed, Kris is a student at Mathura Anath Ashram whose principal is Kanishk, the reincarnation of his evil uncle Kansh. The show follows the plot of the many ways in which Kanishk tries to get rid of Kris and how on every occasion, the divine child manages to outsmart him with his wit and intelligence.
With yet another resemblance to the epics evident in the very name of the cartoon, Kumbh Karan however has no any drawings from mythology. Even the name is only a play on the mythological Kumbhkaran and alludes to twin brothers Kumbh and Karan who are the protagonists of the show. In their fun routine, these two make for another of the Indian cartoon characters immensely liked by children.
A plump 10 year old boy who much like the character after who he has been named can while away days and months in sleep, Kumbh is a lazy lad who can only be woken up from his slumber by the wafting aroma of delicious food. His twin brother Karan too is a big eyed and big eared presence much like him but is a complete contrast in nature. Active and energetic, Karan’s affinity towards adventures make up the crux of this show, accompanied of course by Kumbh and their friend Tara and porcupine Kaddu as they together embark on a journey of wholesome fun and entertainment.
Much like Kris, Little Krishna is also a cartoon character born out of Lord Krishna, though in an avatar that is more leaning towards the mythological God as we know him. Chronicling the childhood adventures of Lord Krishna in the namesake show, it is no wonder that Little Krishna has managed to be the favorite among Indian cartoon characters, much like how Lord Krishna has always remained our favorite among the 33 crore deities encountered in Hinduism. Thoroughly enjoyable while invoking a sense of divinity as well, Little Krishna is an animated take on the darling of Vrindavan who goes about his adorable mischiefs even as a scheming uncle Kansa is forever devising ways and means to have him out of his path.
One of the rare times when an Indian cartoon character that isn’t a human managed to make its way into the hearts and homes of the viewers is Doggy Don. Featuring in Pakdam Pakdai or Rat-A-Tat, that which is inspired by another popular cartoon series Oggy and the Cockroaches, Doggy Don, as the name suggests is a dog inspired from Oggy. Annoyed constantly by three mice, based again on the cockroaches that inspired them, the skilled dog schemes on forever to take revenge, albeit with little success. A chase comedy much like Tom and Jerry that which in fact had inspired Oggy and the Cockroaches, the hugely entertaining Pakdam Pakdai has ensured that for once Indian dogs also stand a fair chance at being household names across the country.
The Robinhood Slumdog of Mumbai, Anthony might be a clever thief but as a good Samaritan at heart, his is another character that has managed to win over Indian audiences. Following the principles of robbing the rich and giving the excess to the poor much like Robinhood, that has lent him his name, Anthony is yet another of the Indian cartoon characters with a linking to Krishna. His real name is said to be Krishna and the show follows his many stealing adventures that almost lands him in the hands of the muscular Inspector Lovely Singh. The Sardar seldom succeeds though as Anthony somehow manages to escape in the end every single time.
Sally Bollywood might not be an Indian cartoon character as far as her makers are concerned but she is out and out an Indian as her very name seems to signify. A detective with her own investigative service, Sally Bollywood Investigations, the purple plum haired school girl generally investigate cases with her friend Doowee McAdam. But what renders her even more endearing is the many adventures she sets out on while dancing to the tunes of Bollywood songs, being therefore the true Indian that she is.
Badrinath and Budhdeb
(Bandbudh and Budbak)
Another duo presence among the many Indian cartoon characters stems from the show named Bandbudh and Budbak. Revolving around the life of the two naughty friends Badrinath and Budhdeb who are interesting characters in themselves, the show is an exploration of friendship and childhood, through their many antics and pranks. Once again opposite manifestations of each other, Badrinath is a smart young boy while Budhdeb is shy. Both however share common traits of disliking studies and being loyal in their friendship. It is such relatability in their childlike mischiefs and naughty nature that make Badrinath and Budbak among the loved characters in Indian animation.