Inspired by the cultures and customs of India, the animated series from Disney Junior Look, Royal Detectivebased on the authenticity and empathy of its young protagonist, aims to inspire its viewers to broaden their perspectives as they join to some mysterious adventures, and cheerful dances. Becca Topol, developer of the series, and the editor of the story, and Sascha Paladino, executive producer, speak with TV Kids Weekly on what distinguishes the show and gives it its international appeal, as well as how your music can unite the whole family.
Set in the magical land of Jalpur, the series features a girl named Mira, a commoner brave and clever that the queen appoints to the position of detective for real. Disney Junior approached Topol several years ago to develop the series which would become Look, Royal Detective, a project that was more than happy to take. “Mira is an ambitious model to follow for both boys and girls,” says. “I refer to it as small and powerful. Mira is very empathetic and intelligent. But there is something more important that is the main inspiration for the character: The idea that she pay attention and be aware of things in the world: Images, sounds, smells, and how it informs. I feel that today, both for children as well as adults, the idea of paying attention to the world around us, to notice things, how people feel, see problems and then intervene and help, is very aspirational and we all need that message.”
The conscience of the global community is part of what makes Look, Royal Detective, is a natural choice for the people all over the world. “Create universal themes that any child or an adult watching with a child can relate to” it was something that was considered from the beginning, according to Paladino. “And the idea that now, more than ever, we are part of a global community and that we show how we approach and support to those around us. How we notice things, how we care for other people?”.
Both Topol as Paladino are happy to say that Look, Royal Detectivewith its strong female protagonist, attracts both boys and girls. In addition to that the best friend of Looks is the Prince Neel, a boy who handles artifacts and the team of espionage, in addition to having a gift for making useful inventions. Add to that their fun companions Mikku and Chikku.
“For me, it is important that children also have [una parte] in the show,” says Paladino, who believes that the fact that Mira is a girl, does not mean that children will not be able to identify with it. He wants you to, “see Mira as a character that they like and that gender is not something that you define. Of course that is part of who she is, but we also have fun characters and interesting”.
“I have three children, so it is very important to me to see female characters on screen who are strong leaders,” he adds. “Historically, it is something that we have not seen much, but it is really important, as well as the male characters agree with that. That does not always have to be [los niños] those who have the command or control, and that is what happens with Mira and her friends. She is definitely the leader. But his friend, the Prince Neel, is a very important member of the team.”
Even the parents can relate to Mira and her journey, adds Topol, who personally believes that the courage of the young detective is aspirational. “Look’s who I had wanted to be when he was 11 or 12 years,” he says. “We are giving the adults the ability to see themselves as children again and to recognize the crazy things that we all do. The same thing happens when you create adult characters as strong as Sahil, for example, the father-of-sight, and the close relationship between father and daughter, and his relationship with his aunt. You create different characters for everyone to relate to them.”
And then there is the music and the dance numbers that accompany it. With original songs in each episode and the help of the dancer and choreographer of Bollywood, Nakul Dev Mahajan, Look, Royal Detective aims to take to their young viewers and their parents off the couch and dance.
“[Las canciones] are influenced in some way by the music of South Asia,” says Paladino. “We use the greater amount of live instruments as possible for authenticity and then Nakul designed the choreography with his assistant. Subsequently, record those movements on video. Later, our artists of storyboard drawn to those movements and copied in as detailed a way as possible to be as accurate as possible. For me, that is something that parents and children will enjoy. My greatest hope is that children love these dance moves both to take to their parents, and to rise from the couch and dance together”.
Among the original songs is the theme characteristic of Look, We’re on the Casethat was a great conversation in the early stages of the development of the series. “We wanted a kind of call-to-action and there was another part that was being presented to the children, very simply, what does it mean to really be in a case?”, adds Topol. “She must have your magnifying glass and your notebook. These were great discussions that we had. The other theme was the joy. Get a new case to Look at is the best in the world, so we start to dance. It truly expresses your spirit. Oh my god, it’s a case!, “let’s start dancing!”.
Throughout production, Disney provided support to a series that not only allowed the musical components are authentic and lively, but also a cast of voices enviable that includes characters such as Freida Pinto, Kal Penn, Jameela Jamil and Utkarsh Ambudkar.
“Freida Pinto and I had some conversations and she is very committed to the empowerment of girls and women and works on issues such as this,” says Topol. “She is the perfect person to play the queen because the queen is a role model to Look at, his mentor. Kal Penn (Mikku) is very fun. Brought a lot of humor, along with Utkarsh (Chikku) and the way in which the two play each other. As a writer, there is nothing more exciting than to write for these amazing actors that are so talented”.
The well-known actors of South Asia, that expressed to Paladino who wanted to have had a program like Look, Royal Detectivealso helped the show to achieve the level of authenticity desired.
“Once we saw what were our objectives and, with luck, that what we were doing in such a way that will further those objectives, were quick to join in and say that they wanted to be part of this,” says Paladino. “It has been really exciting for us to feel that they are true partners in this show. Not only come to the studio and read the lines that we write and then move on. They love to talk about the Look, Royal Detective and give us their opinions. And we love to be creative contributors”.
This commitment to immerse themselves in the culture of South Asia with specificity, and in combination with universal themes is what makes the show work, and what distinguishes it from other programs for children quality.
“One of the things that really excite me with Looks is how we have been able to integrate all of these different things in just one program” notes Paladino. “It is the cultural aspect, the music, the dancing, the cast of voices from the South Asian never seen. The fact that we have been able to gather all these pieces in one show is really exciting. It feels like something that hasn’t been done before”.
Look, Royal Detective he made his debut in the united States on the Disney Channel last march 20, and Disney Junior. Disney Channel India premiered the series on 22 march. After these premieres, the series will be launched worldwide in approximately 160 countries on the platforms of Disney Channel and Disney Junior.