New Delhi: Whether you`re six or 60 - one look at the golden, honey-loving bear and you know you`re going to love Winnie the Pooh. The philosophical cartoon is making its debut on the Indian big screen Aug 12, and producer The Walt Disney Company promises the film will be a delight for "grandparents and grandchildren alike".
"As it is with our movies, we look at family entertainers and `Winnie the Pooh` will be entertaining for grandparents and grandchildren alike. The story may be kids-driven, but also caters to a family audience," Seshasaye Kanthamraju, executive director (Marketing and Distribution), The Walt Disney Company (India), told reporters.
Pooh, the character, was developed by British author A.A. Milne.
In the past, there have been several short and feature length films made as part of the "Winnie the Pooh" series. But the last full-length movie with Pooh as the lead character by Disney was "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" in 1977.
"It`s been a while, almost 35 years since a full-length Pooh movie came on the big screen even internationally. Sadly, that movie didn`t come to India. But this time Winnie the Pooh is making it here," Kanthamraju added.
In 2000, Disney released the full-length film "The Tigger Movie" in which Pooh`s friend Tigger played the leading role. Following its success, two more feature-length Pooh movies based on other characters related to Pooh, were released - "Piglet`s Big Movie" (2003) and "Pooh`s Heffalump Movie" (2005).
Indian viewers are quite aware of Winnie the Pooh as a character through, what Kanthamraju calls, the "Disney difference" - books and merchandise based on it.
"Winnie the Pooh", directed by Stephen Anderson and Don Hall, will take fans down a 68-minute long adventure trip to the Hundred Acre Wood, the fictional land inhabited by Winnie the Pooh and his friends Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo, and Eeyore.
The latest animated Pooh feature has been created out of three of Milne`s stories.
"At Disney, we aim at providing wholesome entertainment for all age groups. So this movie too has elements of fun, friendship and love through Pooh`s adventures in the woods. We are sure children would take back some learning," said Kanthamraju.
"We are super excited about bringing Pooh to India for the first time," he added.
The movie has also been made keeping in mind the idea to draw a young, below eight-year-old audience to cinema halls.
"Though it is more a storytelling process, it turns out to be a huge advantage for parents whose toddlers can`t sit through long, three-hour movies in a dark hall. So they can enjoy the movie peacefully, and introduce their kids to the world of cinema in an entertaining way," said Kanthamraju.
According to him, the existence or absence of quality children`s films in India makes for a "philosophical debate".
"I would say there`s good space for family entertainers which everyone can watch. We have always believed in films with characters and stories that cater to a universal crowd. We have fun with our stories in that space, and so far it`s worked well," he said.
Next up from Disney`s bouquet will be "Muppets", which will release in December.