Lord Krishna is one of the most popular Hindu gods who is portrayed in multiple images as the naughty child, divine lover and eternal philosopher. And television producers and filmmakers are cashing in on his aura to woo audiences.
While TV shows like Jai Shri Krishna on Colors and Nick's latest animated show Little Krishna have been entertaining viewers, the big screen has also been abuzz with animated movies like Bal Krishna and Krishna: Aayo Natkhat Nandlal in recent times.
Prem Sagar of Sagar Arts, which has been popular for producing mythological shows like Ramayan and Shri Krishna, says it is the "universality" and "completeness" of Krishna's character that makes for interesting storytelling.
"It is not like only Krishna is the most popular mythological character being shown on TV. There are shows on other gods like Shani, Sai Baba and Maa Durga as well. But what makes Krishna stand out is the fact that he is complete in all aspects," Sagar told IANS over telephone from Mumbai.
"He has so many different shades to his character - romance, bravery, diplomacy, he was cunning, but positively...He is an epitome of completeness," he added.
Krishna is equally loved by devotees for his mischievous escapades like stealing butter and curds as a child, his romantic interludes with Radha and his sacred message of the "Gita" to Arjuna on the battlefield.
Such a diverse nature in one person is what interests viewers about Krishna, says Nina Elavia Jaipuria, senior vice president and general manager of Nick India. "Krishna is a prankster, a superhero, a lover, a musician - all captured into one and has immense universal appeal," Jaipuria told IANS.
Lord Krishna was introduced on TV in 1987 with BR Chopra's mega mythological show
and seven years later came Ramanand Sagar's
" that was completely dedicated to the blue god.
People have since then endeared him as a character despite the flurry of 'saas-bahu sagas and reality shows that have seeped into the Indian television scenario.
Sagar says that people of "every age, sex, society and income group identify with Krishna" and that is what has made him stay an on-screen favourite over the years.
According to Ashish SK, the brain behind Little Krishna on Nick, it is a wise idea to use mythological stories in an engaging and entertaining manner. "Indian mythology has a lot of stories to offer. Many times people ask us why we make animation movies based on mythology only, but then we ask why not?
"When the animation industry was in its nascent stage abroad, even they made films on their popular folklores like Alice in Wonderland and Snow White - but that was because they didn't have any such mythological stories to tell.
"When we have these stories, why not take them to a wider audience through animation," said Ashish, who is CEO of BIG Animation, a subsidiary of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-ADAG).
Sagar, who has been in the business of producing and conceptualising mythological shows for decades, feels the creation of such programmes helps bring kids and new generations closer to our culture.
(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org )