As Prabhas starrer Adipurush hit theatres on 16 June, it reminded people of the epics they enjoyed watching as they grew up.

One of these was the anime rendition of Ramayana, or as some people would fondly call it, ‘Cartoon Network Ramayana’.

What is interesting is the story of how ‘Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama’, directed by Koichi Sasaki and Ram Mohan, and conceived by Yugo Sako, became one of the most beloved renditions of the epic in India.

The animated adaptation would be remembered through generations as one of the best ways of telling the story, whilst preserving its meaning.

It all started when in the 1980s Sako visited India and was working on a documentary of archaeological excavations near Ayodhya.

Having understood the impact that Ramayana had on the people of India, he wanted to come up with his own rendition.

He was joined by Ram Mohan, the father of Indian animation and winner of the Padma Shri award in 2014.

Mohan had started his career in animation at the cartoon films unit at the government’s Films Division in 1956, and left in 1968.

He then headed the animation department at Prasad Productions and in 1972, established his own production company.

It was this company — Ram Mohan Biographics — that worked on the animated version of the Ramayana.

The masterpiece, which was released in 1972, was loved and cherished by the masses. But in spite of this love, the film did not get a theatre release as the depiction of deities as cartoon figures was protested.

The film continued to be broadcasted on Cartoon Network in India, where it had a fan following for years.

The production is remembered even today as a success with 450 Japanese artists working on it and a budget of nearly $13 million.