Disney Junior Announces India-Inspired Cartoon Series For Kids

Mira royal detective

New Disney animated show starring a smart and independent young Indian girl.

The inner child in me is jumping for joy.

News that Disney Junior is launching a new animated mystery-adventure series for preschoolers that is inspired by cultures and customs of India is making all kinds of headlines this week.

Production has begun on Disney Junior’s ‘Mira, Royal Detective with ‘ with Leela Ladnier starring as Mira in the series slated to Debut in 2020. Freida Pinto, Hannah Simone, Kal Penn, Jameela Jamil, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Aasif Mandvi are among the voice cast for the show.

The show’s backdrop is in the city Jaipur and story follows the journey of the brave and resourceful Mira, a commoner who is appointed to the role of royal detective after solving a mystery that involves saving the kingdom’s young prince.

The young girl in me is ecstatic and if this week’s announcement reaction on twitter is any indication, so is the rest of the global South Asian community.

Joe D’Ambrosia, senior vice president, Original Programming, Disney Junior stated the show aims to  “introduce kids and their families to the rich, diverse cultures and customs of India through Mira, a young girl who looks at things with her own unique lens to gain different perspectives and help others in her community.“  

At a time when we need more diverse characters and voices on screen especially for young minds, the show is a welcome initiative for masalamommas everywhere. As a parent, I longed for shows like this to help inspire my daughter when she was young. The premise for the show is promising–depicting a female character who is a superhero.

The animated series features Mira, as a royal detective. She travels throughout the kingdom helping both royals and commoners. With her friend Prince Neel, a talented inventor, by her side along with her creative cousin Priya, and comical mongoose sidekicks Mikku and Chikku, “ she will stop at nothing to solve a case, taking young viewers on adventures that highlight critical thinking and encourage deductive reasoning,” says the press release.  The series is expected to feature music, dance and customs from India into two 11-minute stories.

The show has a star-studded voice cast: Freida Pinto (“The Path”) as Queen Shanti; Hannah Simone (“New Girl”) as a young commoner named Pinky; Jameela Jamil (“The Good Place”) as Mira’s Auntie Pushpa; Kal Penn (“Designated Survivor”) and Utkarsh Ambudkar (“The Mindy Project”) as mongooses Mikku and Chikku, respectively; Aasif Mandvi (“Shut Eye”) as Mira’s father, Sahil; Sarita Choudhury (“Homeland”) as Prince Neel’s Great-Aunt Rupa; Aparna Nancherla (“BoJack Horseman”) as Mira’s cousin Meena; Kamran Lucas (Disney’s “Mech-X4”) as Prince Neel; Karan Brar (Disney Channel’s “BUNK’D”) as Prince Veer; Karan Soni (“Deadpool”) as twins Ranjeet and Manjeet; Sarayu Blue (“I Feel Bad”) as the palace tailor; Parvesh Cheena (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) and Sonal Shah (“Scrubs”) as bandits, Manish and Poonam, respectively; and newcomer Roshni Edwards as Mira’s cousin Priya.

The Emmy® Award-nominated Sascha Paladino (“Miles from Tomorrowland”) is executive producer of the series, which was developed by Becca Topol (“Elena of Avalor”) who also serves as story editor. Sue Perotto and Dorothea Schoentag (both of “Phineas and Ferb”) are supervising director and art director, respectively. IW Group’s Shagorika Ghosh is the series’ cultural consultant. Additional consultants include Bollywood dancer and choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan (“So You Think You Can Dance”) and music producer Deepak Ramapriyan (“Basmati Blues”). Emmy Award nominees Matthew Tishler (“Fancy Nancy”) and Jeannie Lurie (“The Muppets”) will write and produce original songs, and Amritha Vaz (“Miss India America”) will serve as composer.  

2020 can’t come soon enough.

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