The co-creator of Deepa and Anoop, acclaimed writer and script consultant Lisa Goldman, takes us on a 17-year journey of the idea that culminated in a series that enabled Mattel to expand its roster of beloved brands well beyond the toy aisle and into the television and film space
This has been a 17 year journey from the moment the idea chose me until now. It all started when Kartik Mohan (Ram Mohan’s son who is also in animation) came to a WIA NYC meeting with Simi Nallaseth (now a Mumbai-based animation director/artist). Maybe this was 2005 or 6 and I was the president of WIA at the time. Kartik is now my adopted brother. Shortly after, Kartik said he wanted me to meet his parents who were visiting from India. I said yes and little did I know Kartik’s dad was the Walt Disney of India. Ram Mohan changed my life! Truly.
We had many discussions and in one, Ram told me how India would never be a leader in the industry until India was creating its own IP. His company, Graphiti Multimedia, was starting an animation school at the time and he wanted me to teach a workshop on writing for animation/creating shows. I instantly said yes! And this is how a nice Jewish girl from Nutley, New Jersey winds up with an animated Bollywood preschool show.
Ram submitted my resume to the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) and I was chosen to be on the international jury. During the film fest, we’d get the Times of India every morning at the hotel and I couldn’t wait to get it. Since I am such a big fan of all things Hollywood, I was very much attracted to the column on page 3 covering all things Bollywood. I kept thinking if you were the little kid in one of these first families of Bollywood, your life would be a Bollywood movie. This inspired “Deepa & Anoop!”
After MIFF I did the workshop for Graphiti and on that day, I had breakfast with Munjal Shroff and his partner, Tilak Shetty. This is where we first met. They suggested we work on a show together. They said you think of the concept/characters — so you do the words and we’ll do the pictures! “Deepa & Anoop” was born shortly after that (inspired from those newspaper columns and conversations about Bollywood with Ram and Munjal)!
Originally, Deepa was called “Dimple.” Munjal and I always had a lot of fun working together. We learned a lot. Sometimes people share in a project but when 17 years happen, you share a lifetime. It’s been great knowing Munjal and working with him all these years. It’s rare that you get this kind of opportunity. And Ram Mohan, changed my life! It was an honor to know him.
Heather came on board to help us sell the show. She was instrumental because she knew how to navigate the industry and drive home a sale. Her feedback on the show was also invaluable. Christopher Keenan has been Deepa & Anoop’s biggest advocate from moment one. The pitch meeting was one of those magic pitch meetings.
It was at Mip Jr. in 2014, where Heather Kenyon and I pitched Christopher on a Wednesday and two days, he called Heather to say he wanted the show. Everyone Mattel has brought to the show from story editor, writers, producers, voice actors, music composer, animators have all helped to make the show even more special.