Superhero movies and animated toon series are riding high on screens in the West, and Graphic India co-founder and CEO Sharad Devarajan believes his series Chakra the Invincible will lead to the same trend emerging in India.
The series follows Raju Rai, a regular boy living in modern day Mumbai who, along with his mentor, develops a suit that gives him superhuman powers based on the mystical concept of chakras (natural energy points in and on the human body).
“The concept of an Indian boy who wears a technologically enhanced suit that activates the mystical chakras is bridging the concepts of science and spirituality. This is a theme that resonates with people around the world as different societies try to reconcile the fast pace of our scientific breakthroughs with the ancient wisdom traditions of each culture,” says Devarajan.
A key selling point is comic book guru Stan Lee’s participation in the development of the character. Lee is behind Spider-Man and many other well known Western superheroes and developed the Chakra character along with Graphic India through his POW! Entertainment imprint.
Devarajan is gushing in his praise for the seasoned storyboarder. “Working on a superhero with Stan is like creating a painting with Da Vinci or a poem with Shakespeare – there is simply no way to put into words how unbelievably awesome of an experience it has been.” Add in the TV experience of former News Corp chief Peter Chernin, whose Chernin Entertainment indirectly owns a minority stake in Graphic India through his Asian investment arm CA Media, and the pieces look to be in place for a strong franchise.
Often, superhero characters tap into the great narratives of the era and culture it comes from, and Chakra follows that canon. Where US heroes such as Lee’s Spider-Man got their powers from radiation as realisation of Cold War fears or Japanese manga is often defined by ‘Man versus Nature’ storylines, Chakra is in a sense based on a cultural phenomena happening today. “What makes Chakra so special to me is that speaks to the great story of our generation in India and the world – and that’s the story of globalization,” says Devarajan.
The show launched on Cartoon Network in India on November 30 last year and a deal has been secured with ToonsTV, the online animation channel from the Angry Birds app producer Rovio Entertainment. The show will join the platform this year.
Graphic India is also working on digital and print comics, grapic novels and toys and merchandise for the brand.
The show: Chakra the Invincible
The producers: Graphic India, POW! Entertainment, CA Media
The distributor: Graphic India
The broadcasters: Cartoon Network (India), ToonsTV (various)
The concept: The first ever Indian superhero cartoon, developed with comic book legend Stan Lee