Animated series Burka Avenger brought with it a number of unprecedented developments in Pakistan. It was the first time a musician-turned-director helmed an animated series, the first time a show witnessed Pakistan’s very own female superhero, and the first time a company planned on churning out an animated film from a television show. Now gearing up for a fourth season, the show has been a stepping stone for creator Haroon.
“When Burka Avenger was launched, we were on the verge of shutting down as a company,” he said. “The huge success of season one suddenly meant we could continue and work on more seasons,” he added. Haroon shared the first season of the show was devised on the basis of trial and error by him and his team as “nothing like this had ever been attempted in Pakistan before.” He explained how they had to invent a production pipeline and establish their own way of creating it.
Over the years, the team behind the venture has been able to streamline the process further, adding advanced management software, graduating from 2D to 3D sets in season two, and making the shows available in 1080 HD. They’ve also begun working with the latest high-end animation software.
According to Haroon, this season addresses socially relevant issues, such as sectarian violence, theft, the struggle for peace, and having the courage to fight for one’s rights. Burka Avenger has also launched merchandise like action figures, T-shirts, projector watches, wrist watches, notebooks and hoodies, which they stock at Leisure Club countrywide. What piques one’s interest is that Burka Avenger is entirely made in Pakistan. “It’s 100% Pakistani and made in the offices of Unicorn Black in Islamabad,” stated Haroon.
Haroon had earlier told The Express Tribune that his animation company Unicorn Black is working on a Burka Avenger animated film, which is still in the pipeline. “We are also working on a brand new secret animation project featuring a new Pakistani superhero,” he revealed. “We have incredible talent in Pakistan and have the opportunity to make the country an outsource hub for international projects just like India and South Korea,” said Haroon. “We need the government’s support on this as it could bring in millions of dollars of foreign exchange for us.”
India and Afghanistan have made way for the lady in black where it has garnered attention from the masses and critics alike. Burka Avenger has been dubbed in languages such as Hindi, English, Tamil and Telugu, and will now be launched in Indonesia. “Many social advocacy groups have praised the move to welcome Burka Avenger to these countries,” shared Haroon.
Although projects such as Burka Avenger and music-streaming platform Taazi occupy most of Haroon’s time, the musician in him still yearns to devote more time to his art. “I have recorded two albums as well as recorded a number of music videos and hope to launch them next year,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2015.