Bollywood surprises with sequel

Follow-up to ani feature 'Hanuman' planned

NEW DELHI — For an industry not known for doing sequels, Bollywood has sprung a surprise by deciding to do a follow-up to its first high-budget animated feature, “Hanuman.”

The Percept Picture Co. said it is aiming to have a sequel to the unexpected 2005 box office hit, about the exploits of the Hindu monkey god, ready for release in October 2007.

The original film topped the Indian box office for a month and grossed more than 100 million rupees ($2.25 million) on an outlay of 80 million rupees ($1.8 million) — a record for an Indian animated film.

Percept wanted to ensure “Indian stories reach out to Indian children the Indian way,” chief operating officer Mahesh Ramanathan said in a statement.

“The sequel is a reaffirmation of PPC’s faith in creating world-class animation content,” he said.

The 90-minute “Hanuman,” a diversion from traditional Hindi-lingo Bollywood offerings, took four years to make and featured 40 characters. At least 250 artists created more than 200,000 images for the film.

“Full-length animation films are a costly affair, but ‘Hanuman’ has paid dividends to its maker,” said Bollywood trade analyst Vinod Mirani. Hanuman is Hinduism’s mythical monkey god who led an army to Sri Lanka to free the abducted wife of the Hindu deity Rama.