‘Delhi Safari’,’Krishna Aur Kans’ and ‘Gul-e-Bakwali’. While the names might conjure up a wide spectrum of responses,the trio form the group of animation films that are being released nationwide and are made by Pune studios. More creative flexibility,wider technicians and even world-class equipment are making Pune a good choice for movie makers to produce their animated films here. It’s a big thing that out of the six animated films that are releasing this year,Pune accounts for half the films, says Arpan Gaglani,creative director,Krayon Pictures,the studio that will release ‘Delhi Safari’ in stereoscopic 3D. In the recent years,Pune has fast emerged as an animation hub with over ten animation schools coming in and the MCCIA (Mahratta Chamber of Commerce,Industries and Agriculture) forming a body of creative individuals and institutes to give it an impetus.
Santosh Raskar,director Srajan Institute of Animation and Gaming says that the animation industry is nascent in India and Pune schools are not only dedicated to teaching animation but also boast of studios with world class infrastructure. Once these students enter the industry,the demands for skilled animators and technicians is met and studios choose to work here as they have direct access to them, he adds.
All the three films have taken a long time to complete – as long as five years – and are now releasing over the next few months thereby making the city an emerging hotspot for commercial films. Take the case of the Big Animation mythology venture ‘Krishna Aur Kans’ that releases on August 3. The production of the movie began in Bangalore in 2007 but was shifted to Pune because the studio shifted to the city. As far as the environment for these movies is concerned,Pune provides an ideal mix of students as well as technicians and professional animators to fuel the industry, informs Vikram Veturi,art and animation director,Big Animation,adding that it has taken them nine years to complete the project. The first four years went in research where the team travelled up north to Mathura,Benares and other cities understanding the story and the scriptures related to Krishna and it was after that,that we got down to the production which took five years, says Veturi.
Even ‘Delhi Safari’ took more than four years,because they had to convert the 2D film to 3D to suit the market needs. Gaglani says,Making these movies is not easy. To shoot them in 3D means first creating individual models and then shooting each frame with two cameras simultaneously. Veturi also adds that the money becomes an issue. The government should subsidise these movies by making them tax-free. It is only after investors are assured of good returns that they will invest in them, he says.
As far as the themes of the other two films go, ‘Delhi Safari’ is a story about animals raising their voice against deforestation while ‘Gul-e-Bakwali’ is an out and out fantasy. An interesting point that Rahul Bakshi,founder of Phoebus design studio makes is about the themes. The West often questions our fascination with mythology in animation. But isn’t it the most integral part of film-making? If you see Disney’s initial animated movies they were all fairy tales. In India,mythological animated movies are popular because both children as well as the older generations relate to them, says Bakshi.