Haroon Aaron Rashid is also the Creator, Director & Producer of Burka Avenger & the Founder/CEO of Unicorn Black
Burka Avenger got a superb response. Are we going to get the same enthusiasm from Teetoo and Tania?
Burka Avenger was quite an incredible experience! The show received worldwide press, international awards and accolades. But more than anything else, for me it was important that the show be successful in Pakistan. And it ended being very successful here. I ended up producing 52 episodes of Burka Avenger that were aired on multiple channels in Pakistan and around the world. The series was dubbed in 10 languages. Burka Avenger was also launched in Afghanistan, India and Indonesia to huge success. In Indonesia it was the number 1 watched children’s show in the 5-14 age category. Several other countries are now in the pipeline.
Teetoo and Tania is a completely different project. Each Burka Avenger episode was 22 minutes long while Teetoo and Tania are 16 episodes of 4-5 minutes. The animation quality of Teetoo and Tania is superb and superior to what I did with my team at Unicorn Black with Burka Avenger So far the response has been really great. The show has been getting millions of views on PTV, and we have received hundreds of thousands of views online.
You are extremely passionate about promoting a soft vibrant image of Pakistan. Is it safe to say that this is your passion now?
The concept behind Teetoo and Tania is to highlight real life Pakistani heroes and role models to inspire the Pakistani youth. Positive role models such as Edhi, Aitzaz Hassan (the school boy who stopped the suicide bomber), Muniba Mazari, Shariq Chappra (founder of TCF) and many others have been highlighted. All the episodes have also been subtitled in English and uploaded online. The goal of that is to show the rest of the world what Pakistanis are really about. Often people from abroad come to Pakistan and are completely blown away by the beauty of the land and hospitality of the people. Pakistan has an image problem and that needs to be corrected via media projects.
The characters Teetoo and Tania. How did they come to you?
The characters are very fun and dynamic and the story is really interesting. Teetoo is an alien bureaucrat that works for the Galactic Council who have deemed that earthlings are threat to existence of the universe. Teetoo is sent down to earth and his survey suggests that earth must be destroyed. Pakistan is the only country left to survey. Teetoo crash lands in Pakistan and Tania rushes out to save him. Tania’s stories of Pakistani heroes and role models eventually convinces Teetoo not to destroy earth. I was actually brainstorming for a while to figure out a great concept to highlight Pakistani heroes and role models in an entertaining and engaging manner. I was on a road trip with my parents and siblings driving down to Lahore. That is when the original idea hit me along with a lot of back and forth from my family too.
Projecting strong women in society is clearly very important to you. That is something else that seems to drive you.
Yes, absolutely! I think that in a patriarchal country like Pakistan, it is important to highlight strong female characters in media projects to try and address the dis balance.
Talk to us about the hard work you and your team have to put in to create these animated series.
From a technical perspective, Teetoo and Tania was a huge challenge because we wanted the animation production quality to be on par with top international projects. So we had to go the extra mile to pull it off with a lot of late nights. My whole team at Unicorn Black worked really hard. I want to thank Nida, Zeeshan, Sara, Adeel, Nabeel, Jonathan, Arif and the rest of the team who went out of their way to make this a fantastic project.
What are we going to see next from you?
I am really keen to work on an animated feature film at some point, and I am also very interested in releasing some new music in 2018, so stay posted.