Painting a picture of a dystopian future, Wade is an animated short film where the city of Kolkata no longer has its streets, the rooftops are the only refuge left for inhabitants and there is a constant fear of the ferocious royal Bengal tiger. The film is a part of the set of four in-house animated films — Mother, Beyond Borders, Watchmaker: At Time’s End and Wade — curated by a collective of animators, artists and filmmakers, called Ghost Animation, based in Kolkata, which were screened in Pune recently.
“If you see the predicted satellite images, the sea levels will rise engulfing the Sundarbans and then rise further towards the city of Kolkata. The inhabitants, including tigers, will have to migrate north to save themselves. With such tough circumstances, there will be a conflict for survival,” says Upamanyu Bhattacharya, a member of Ghost Animation.
Ghost Animation is a collective of animators Bhattacharya, Kalp Sanghvi, Gaurav Wakankar, Isha Mangalmurti, Shaheen Sheriff and Anwaar Alam, who studied at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, in different batches of Animation Film Design. With a driving passion for filmmaking and 2D animation, Ghost Animation has worked on four short films over three years. The group has toured major cities such as Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru to screen their films. They also explain the process, techniques and idea behind each animation, colour scheme and sound used in the films.
Mother, one of the animated short films, dives into the intricate human behaviour and emotions. It is about a mother and her son and how they are pushed to their ethical boundaries when their regular day of foraging takes a sinister turn. Beyond Borders is an animated documentary from the point of view of doctors deployed at states or regions that face the brunt of conflict and violence. The film follows the experience of Alan Pereira, his battle as a doctor in regions without borders, and the extreme conditions inflicted upon him while working towards humanitarian causes. The animation of the film explores unique media like ink spills to construct the narrative that could not be depicted well in a live action. “I read a lot about the attacks on humanitarian and medical facilities around the world, especially at armed conflicts or war-inflicted areas. Most of the people affected in these areas are civilians. This is a topic that bothered me and I wanted to tell all the stories I gathered from my research,” says Mangalmurti.
Based in a small town in Kerala, Watchmaker: At Time’s End is a science fiction story about a watchmaker and how he struggles to make the perfect watch to keep up with the times. The film, with a hint of humour and irony, says that although time is running out for the planet, one needs to keep track of the time one has left with.
“Indian animation is changing and evolving. There is a much larger audience for animated content as more original stories and ideas are being explored in the medium. As an animator, there are instances wherein one says that it cannot be done but one should not get bogged down by that,” says the collective.