Sanjiv Waeerkar wants to create an army of animators that will include school children
Hes done his father proud. Sanjiv Waeerkar,son of Ram Waeerkar (a three-time National award winning cartoonist who infused life into the Amar Chitra Katha series and gave timeless characters like Supandi),is the Chief Creative Officer of Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC),who is also spearheading the Indian animation industry. He was in Chandigarh to screen his upcoming movie,Super Heroes,produced by MAAC Creative Studios. I was always drawn to animation and cartoons and after finishing my graduation from Mumbai,I joined Ram Mohan,also credited as the father of Indian animation, says Waeerkar. He rewinds to 1991,a time when the animation industry was young in India. Three years later,Waeerkar,who also juggles between being a director,entrepreneur,educator,social activist and artist,joined Ronnie Screwvala and formed UTV Toons. This was a time when a small group of Indians,including Waeerkar,were at the helm of kick-starting the outsourcing industry for animation. From a 25-member small studio handling local commercials,his company grew to a staff of 450 skilled animators in two years,making it the first of its kind in India. Another company Dream Teem was formed,awards and accolades poured in,but Waeerkar had his heart set on animation education.
I took time off and travelled across the world to understand the animation industry,not to outsource but to create original properties, says Waeerkar who has been on projects like the recent animation feature Arjun and Ali Baba and 40 Thieves that is due for release. My interest lies in education and content. Animation is a walk of life today,it is in everything mobiles,iPads,television,computer and so on. But there is no proper academy or course to create professionals,and with the industry opening up,we need more force, says Waeerkar.
Keeping the content in mind and the need of a rapidly growing media entertainment industry in the country,Waeerkar has put together MAAC Creative Studio (MCS) to enhance the skills of students. This studio boasts of producing three movies in the last three years,which were broadcast on Disney. Made by students,Super Heroes will be the first theatrical movie release. It is the story of four kids with supernatural powers and how they save the world, says Waeerkar. He refers to the animation industry in Europe and America and is seeking government support. The consumption of content by the youth is phenomenal and technology is making animation a very interesting and charged industry. Now is the time to make schools and academies as incubation centres,to give the skill set to students in the form of add-on courses because animation education is the next level,says Waeerkar.