Animated series aims to create awareness on environment

Published June 15, 2023
Singer Haroon Rashid, actor Ahmed Ali Akbar and others gesture during the launching ceremony of animated series Planet Champs on Wednesday. The other picture is a scene from the series. — Photos by Tanveer Shahzad
Singer Haroon Rashid, actor Ahmed Ali Akbar and others gesture during the launching ceremony of animated series Planet Champs on Wednesday. The other picture is a scene from the series. — Photos by Tanveer Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: Unicorn Black hosted the launch event of Planet Champs, a new animated TV series airing on PTV at the National Press Club on Wednesday.

The series features teenage superheroes saving the Earth from villains that pollute the environment.

The series has been created, directed and produced by Haroon, pop star and the creator, director and producer of the multi-award winning and international hit animated TV series, Burka Avenger.

Speaking on the occasion, Haroon said he was excited about the super entertaining show, whose quality was at par with any animated show in the West.

“I’m very excited to launch Planet Champs online. It is going to be available globally; people will be able to see it all across the world. The most important question is why Planet Champs? You are all aware of the various environmental problems in Pakistan. You go to tourist spots like Hunza or Swat and see mountains of plastic bags. You go to Lahore, which was the most polluted city in the world in 2022 in terms of air pollution. Even here, while travelling on Margalla Road, you will see people in nice cars rolling down their windows and throwing trash,” the pop star said.

He added that “there is a need for education; there is a need to raise awareness. These issues are all ones that we, the people of Pakistan, can solve – and that is the call of action of Planet Champs.”

The screening of the first episode of Planet Champs mirrored the need to spread correct information and demonstrated how small actions could have a significant impact.

Action-packed and entertaining, the show is centred on Shanzay and Shazil, siblings who are members of the Planet Champs Club (PCC) environment society. One day, during a clean-up drive, they come across an ancient book and two amulets which give them superpowers. Together, they fight villains that litter and pollute the environment. The voices of the lead characters are superstars Ahmed Ali Akbar (Shazil) and Hania Aamir (Shanzay), while Zahid Ahmed stars as Pollutio, the arch villain determined to cause devastating climate crises.

Ahmed Ali Akbar stressed the importance of being aware of how individual actions affect the environment. “This issue is very close to me — not just to my heart but this is now physically close to all of us. We are affected by the environmental issues deeply and we have seen in Pakistan that if we are able to teach children they may be able to bring about small changes to make a big difference,” he added.

He said: “I want to take this opportunity to thank the entire team who created Planet Champs. It has taken hours of meticulous, difficult, painstaking, backbreaking effort. I am so impressed with the attention to detail – from the animation to the music it is incredible work.”

While raising awareness on key environmental challenges such as the energy crisis, pollution, irresponsible consumption, waste and so on, the show also incorporates elements of comedy in the interaction between the siblings and between Shazil and their team robot.

Haroon also said, “When PTV first shared the idea with me to create an animated show based around climate change and the environment, my creative juices immediately started flowing.”

The show has the potential to inculcate habits of responsible and responsive environmental citizenship amongst young people.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2023

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