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Rajiv Chilaka is an entrepreneur, businessman and founder MD of Hyderabad based Green Gold Animation. He is the brain behind the most popular Indian cartoon series on television ‘Chhota Bheem’. His world is the world of animation, creative ideas and unlimited imagination.
Evolution of Green Gold Animation
Since childhood he dreamt to enter the word of cartoons and animated films. At the age of 5, he saw Jungle book and his father told him that it was an animated film created with pencil drawings, which could move. He watched Jungle book from theatre and since then he got addicted to animated movies and frequently watched them. He watched ‘Lion King’ in 1995 while doing Master’s Degree in Computer Science at University of Missouri Kansas City. It was that moment when he took a decision his mind to make an animated film of his own, like Lion King. He also discovered that Walt Disney, his biggest inspiration, had spent the initial part of his career in Kansas City.
While at Miller Nichols Library university campus he started reading a few books about Walt Disney. He also read on animation and filmmaking. After graduation, he worked in IT and telecom industry for three years, but quit the job to join Academy of Art in San Francisco to study animation, with the savings of his job. This decision proved to be the turning point of his career.
Rajiv Chilaka set up Green Gold Animation in 2001, the biggest animation company in India exclusively for kids. The animation series Bongo in 2004 was his first work, followed by Vikram Betal, Chota Bheem and Krishna series. The concept of Chota Bheem was first aired in 2008 with Pogo Channel and has completed 10 years this year, one of the dominating cartoon series of Indian network in the past one decade.
Birth of Chota Bheem
It was September 18, 2003 and I was reading an Amar Chitra Katha comic book," he says. "The last page had a listing of other titles in the series. One of these was Bheem, the Bheem of the Mahabharata, the second of the five Pandava brothers. Bheem had been my favourite character since childhood - he was very strong, fond of good food, plain speaking and uncomplicated. He was a mythological character very different from those usually featured in comic books and animation films, such as Rama, Krishna or Arjuna. Suddenly, the character of Chhota Bheem, distinct from the original Bheem but sharing many of his attributes, popped into my head."
It took nearly five years to translate the concept into reality - develop the character fully, prepare a pilot and get it approved, set marketing strategies in motion - but finally the first episode of the animated Chhota Bheem show was aired on April 6, 2008.
Following the TV shows, the first comic book featuring Chhota Bheem came out in 2009. The merchandising of the characters began the same year.
Chhota Bheem and the Curse of Damyaan movie was released in 2012 is an Indian animation film based on the characters Chhota Bheem and his friends. This is the eleventh movie in the Chhota Bheem series and first of the movies to be released in theatres. The film was made under Green Gold Animation banner in association with Inox Cinemas. The film got surprise success at box office. This movie has been awarded 'Superstar of Indian Animation'.
Chhota Bheem and the Throne of Bali, movie released in 2013 directed by Rajiv Chilaka. The film released in three languages - Hindi, Tamil and Telugu - in over 500 theatres.
Mighty Raju: Rio calling, movie released in 2014 the third animation feature film from Green Gold Animation.
In February 2015, with a modest investment of Rs 1.5 crore, Green Gold itself began manufacturing Chhota Bheem soft toys.
Chhota Bheem Himalayan Adventure movie released in January 2016 written by Teja Pratap and Chilaka directed by Rajiv Chilaka and shrewdly released strategically by Srinivas Chilaka and Samir Jain just one week before the Telugu Sankranti festival, the movie soon became a mega-super hit receiving great response from kids and grownups alike.
Rajiv Chilaka, recognising the need for renewed effort, launched Super Bheem on May 1, 2016 Chhota Bheem's birthday, where Bheem and his companions are no longer confined to Dholakpur but travel the universe riding a dragon, supporting good and battling evil. Super Bheem, which includes use of 3D animation, has begun as a series of short films and a regular TV show.
Golden Robot Animation, Mumbai the studio has been launched in 2017, Golden Robot will complement the parent firm Green Gold Animation by focusing on international projects that may be outsourced to India.
Hanuman vs Mahiravana is a 2018 Indian mythological adventure 2D and 3D stereoscopic animated movie, produced by Green Gold Animation Pvt Ltd and distributed by Yash Raj Films. Written by Narayanan Vaidyanathan and directed by Dr. Ezhil Vendan. It is the story of Hanuman and his attempts to free Rama and Lakshmana from the clutches of evil wizard Mahiravana. It focuses on the tale of Hanuman and his biggest battle with Ravana’s youngest step-brother, the king of Patala Mahiravana. The Movie Hanuman vs Mahiravana was released across India in Hindi and Tamil on July 6, 2018.
Chhota Bheem Kung Fu Dhamaka, first Chhota Bheem feature film in digital 3D. Directed by Rajiv Chilaka, the Green Gold Animation production will be distributed by Yash Raj Films and is expected to be released in mid-2019. “With Kung Fu Dhamaka we are taking a giant leap with Chhota Bheem,” Chilaka said in a statement.
The company evolved, expanding from 25 employees in 2007 to over 700 at present.