Boxing legend Mary Kom gets animated for her small screen debut

The venerated Manipuri boxer Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom aka MC Mary Kom’s amazing exploits certainly merited a feature film, given her inspiring journey from Kangathei, a small village in Manipur, to winning a bronze medal at the London Olympics in 2012. But the biopic helmed by Omung Kumar didn’t do much justice to her many achievements.

The boxing legend from India will seen in an animated avatar as the country’s first girl superhero, who will get her powers from the gloves she wears. ScreenYug Creations, the company set up by animation veteran Ashish S Kulkarni, has created the basic concept of the show and is now in talks with Mary Kom to give the protagonist of the show a younger looking Mary’s touch.

The deal will entitle royalty to Mary Kom on global sales of the animation series, christened Mary Kom Jr and any merchandise, games, comics, online distribution, story books and e-books that will be associated with it in future, though all rights to the IP will remain with ScreenYug Creations.

“Most children’s shows today are boy-centric and there isn’t much to engage the girls. As a result, we found that 10-year-old girls are resorting to watch only general entertainment shows,” expounds Kulkarni on the need for such a show.

The series will capture the fictional school life of the 8-10 years old Mary Kom Jr, borrowing a little from Mary Kom’s native Manipuri culture. The idea, however, will be to keep the series and its characters fairly neutral, so it can appeal to a larger global audience.

The series will be made in 2D animation (a mix of Flash and Toon Boom depending on the requirement) and ScreenYug Creations will be creating the show along with Aditya Horizons. The teams will soon be meeting Mary and finalising on various aspects of her childhood that she would like to see incorporated within the show.

Mary Kom felt that this would be an interesting way to motivate the girl child. “I think it is time to take more responsibility for the girl child. I want girls to be confident, strong,” she stressed. The animation series will bring in a flavour of self-defence, which is very relevant in today’s times, according to her. “Parents are usually not keen on fighting games for their girl child but with all the crime going around, their eyes are now open and this will help,” she added.

The 32 year-old, mother of three, is preparing for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games; post which, she intends on hanging up her gloves for good. In 2012, filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali signed her up for a biopic on her life in which Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra played her character. The movie, which was released in the second half of 2014, enjoyed a decent run at the box office.

The ScreenYug Creations team is currently in talks with a few broadcasters for the telecast rights of this show. On the question of whether Mary Kom Jr could pose a tough competition for the likes of Chhota Bheem, Ashish explains: “Every product has its own purpose and following and it’s not about competition but an opportunity that we saw was worth exploring as I honestly believe that girls from ages 7-10 would want a role model and there is no one better than a Mary Kom.”

ScreenYug Creations already has three shows in the pipeline now with ‘War Heroes of India’, ‘Mary Kom Jr.’ and ‘Amaziing Kids’ The team at ScreenYug has Ashish Kulkarni helming the projects as producer, Vikram Veturi as director, Sudip Banerjee and Aditya Bakshi are concept and story directors, J V Varaprasad is the editor and music director, Rajesh Bhosale taking care of line production and Anand Pandey is the production architect.