Breaking the fourth wall, phucka mama looks at the camera and thanks the viewers for their enormous support in the latest episode of "Captain Kathal in Dhonnobad: The Thanks".
The five-minutes long hilarious animated short film begins with the last scene of the pilot episode - "Captain Kathal in Baaper Rasta: The Wrong Road" where the phucka mama waves goodbye to Captain Kathal, our very own vigilante super-hero.
Directed and edited by Samir Asran Rahman and written by Oliver Simon Halder and Samir, the amazing animated short film is produced by Mighty Punch Studios. The storyboards and concept art was done by Asifur Rahman.
In 2019, the studio introduced the prickly Captain Kathal comic book character in his first animated short film, "Captain Kathal in Baaper Rasta: The Wrong Road".
Since then, fans have been asking for new episodes. This new video conveys some important messages on sponsorship problems in our country in very comical ways.
"The first episode was about the importance of road safety and respecting traffic rules. Of course we did it in a highly comical way. We had plans to make more Captain Kathal episodes that had him taking on various problems in our society. However, due to a number of reasons we have not been able to make those episodes yet. The latest episode is a 'thank you' to all our fans as well as an explanation as to why there has not been any new episode. It has a lot of meta humour and a few pop culture references to movies such as 'Into the Spider-Verse' and 'Avengers: Infinity War'," Samir told The Business Standard.
According to Samir, Captain Kathal is a parody of Batman and as such he does not possess any superpowers. He has brute strength and state-of-the-art armour that also allows him to be quite mobile.
Captain Kathal has a whole bunch of gadgets such as a kathal gun that fires tiny bags packed tight with broken kathal seeds, another gun that fires "Kathaler Atha" at criminals to render them immobile.
The mighty superhero also uses kathal smoke bombs that have kathals as an active ingredient. Interestingly, while he loves the smell of kathal, the stench of the kathal smoke bombs really makes criminals sick.
"There have been quite a lot of people who have worked on Captain Kathal. I wrote the script and directed the animation. Asif, our production designer, created the storyboards and designed new characters and backgrounds. Nipu and Romel helped to make the final backgrounds. The animation team consisted of a lot of people including Shajib, Sudipto, Farid, Mreethmandir, Aurthy, Abesh, Wahid, and Nabidur. Finally, Oliver did the incredible Bangla translation and voiced every character," informed Samir while talking about the production team of Captain Kathal.
The idea of Captain Kathal came to Samir after watching the trailer of the "Batman Vs Superman" movie.
"I thought it would be fun to have Shabash (popular superhero of Mighty Punch Studios) have a rival superhero who he could compete against. At first they would not get along but then they would become good friends. Hence, I came up with the idea of Captain Kathal."
Captain Kathal is really a parody of Batman, inspired by the movie trailer. And Samir gave him qualities that were the opposite of Shabash's so that they could get on each other's nerves and also challenge each other.
"Since Shabash loved mangoes, Captain Kathal loves kathals (jackfruit is the national fruit after all and can feed an entire family). Thus was born the patriotic but prickly superhero. He first appeared in Shabash #7 and while they did not get along at first, they had to put their differences aside to defeat Formalin Foe, a villain who was injecting both mangoes and jackfruits with harmful chemicals. The character was so popular that he made another appearance in Shabash #8 and then he got his own comic book series."
When asked how long it usually takes to make an animated short film, Samir replied, "The first Captain Kathal took us a long time to make (more than 4 months) as we did it in between our commercial work."
There are many phases that the production team needs to go through. For the Mighty Punch Studios team, writing the script and storyboard are very important. Then comes doing rough animations and cleaning that up.
Then there's post production which involves colour correction, editing all the shots together with sound, and voice acting. It is a long process; depending on the duration and complexity of the short film, it can take up to 2-4 months (even for a 5-8 minute video).
So, what inspired Samir to create the characters of the Mighty Punch Studios?
"I started Mighty Punch Studios because I wanted to create characters and stories (through the mediums of comics and animation) that would appeal to both kids and adults in Bangladesh," said Samir.
"I grew up with characters like Spider-Man, Batman, etc, so I thought it was high time that we had our own local heroes," he added.
Mighty Punch began its operations in October 2013. Since then, the studio has brought out comic series' featuring colourful characters like Shabash, Ms Shabash, Lathial, Captain Kathal, and Zooey. For the past few years, they have also been developing in-house animation.
"Captain Kathal was the first animated short film we made and we followed it up with a series for kids called Tepatuli, which consists of Bangla nursery rhymes voiced by contemporary artists (such as Zohad from Nemesis) and delightful animation, inspired by local aesthetics," said Samir.
Currently, Mighty Punch Studios is developing more animated shorts films including "Sundarban Friends" (which is a pre-school show, sort of like Peppa Pig) and "Team Dalim" (a spin-off from Lathial comic).
The pilot episode of Ms Shabash is also going on as the character's first comic book received a lot of international attention because it dealt with issues of skin-lightening creams. Creators at the studio want to develop some animated shorts featuring Shabash, who is their flagship character.
Samir shared some of the drawbacks they face while making the animated videos.
"Animation is expensive and unfortunately, not many people in our country seem willing to sponsor cartoons. I believe that everything we create has a universal appeal and since streaming companies like Netflix seem to be investing heavily in animation, we may be able to pitch our ideas to them eventually. "
This year, Samir had actually planned to go to the Annecy International Film Festival in France in order to meet animation buyers and distributors and showcase their work. The plan got cancelled due to the pandemic.
Mighty Punch comics can be found at Meena Bazar outlets, PBS, Rokomari and a handful of other places. They also had a delivery service but that has been stopped for now due to the pandemic.
Animated films are available on the official YouTube channel of Mighty Punch.