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Animation Films touches the sky

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By: Praveen Lance Fernandes, IndiaFM
Friday, March 23, 2007
"If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse." - These were the inspiring words of Walt Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse and many more popular animated cartoon films.

Children and families will have something really entertaining to look forward to in the next couple of years. Reason - The number of animated films that are currently being made. So if Happy Feet and Cars made your day, So if Happy Feet and Cars made your day, let us take you on a tour and show you exactly what is in store and what people behind these films have to say.

One could say that the success of Sahara and Percept's Hanuman opened quite a many doors to the animated films industry in India. Officially recorded as India's first indigenous animation film in the Limca Book of Records, this 2-D film reaped good benefits for the producers and director V.G. Samant who worked on it for a gruelling two years.

And after that film's success, work on its sequel has already begun. While the producers and director will be the same, Anurag Kashyap has been roped in to write the dialogues for Hanuman 2.

"Hanuman opened up a whole market. That was a relief because people realized that there is a market for animated films. Previously there was uncertainty", says director Govind Nihalani who is currently busy in the pre-production of his own 3-D animated film Kamlu.

Kamlu recites the adventures of a baby camel called Kamlu, the people and other animals he meets and the circumstances he goes through in his journey. "People still believe that in India only mythology works and maybe the established brands like action heroes. As far as original content is concerned there is still a certain amount of apprehension", adds the cinematographer turned film-maker.

However Smita Maroo, Vice-President, Animation Division at Shemaroo Entertainment begs to differ. "Mythology is just the genre out so I don't think it is a question of the safe way out. Story-telling is universal whether you say it in the medium of a comic book, a movie or a play".

Ravi Chopra who had earlier announced an animated film Lord Krishna but shelved it because another producer picked it up too is currently working on an animated mythological. "This is my first animated film so I'm taking the safe way out. I want to pick up the expertise in all sectors before venturing out on original content. This film is going to be an international project and has nothing to do with mythology", says Chopra.

Shemaroo too is coming up with their own 2-D film Ghatothkach directed by Singeethan Srinivasa Rao of Pushpak fame. The film revolves around Ghatotkach; a character from the Mahabharat and son of Bheem and Hidimba. It's the story of his escapades and what he did. "Ghatotkach is not really known to the younger generation. The whole story is full of action, comedy, romance and fantasy and so it looks like a complete Bollywood masala film", adds Smita.

Speaking of Mythology and branded heroes producer Firoz Nadiadwala is planning both. Firstly there is Mahabharat and Ramayana. "These two films will be dubbed in all major foreign languages and released internationally. Also, in India, these films will be dubbed in the regional languages and the voices to the characters will be given by the famous film stars of that particular region," says the producer. Apart from that he is also planning the animated versions of his hit films Hera Pheri and its sequel Phir Hera Pheri.

Soumitra Ranade who earlier directed the fairy tale film Jajantaram Mamantaram is planning a semi-animated film Friends Forever. Thought the film is not completely animated, it consists of a character Zampano which is completely digitally created. Zampano is the childhood toy turned friend of the film's heroine and helps her get her love. "An animation film has different kinds of requirements. Our traditional way of story telling is more verbal and is based on dialogues. Our animated films will initially be more verbose but after about ten films we will realize that we don't have to speak so many words in an animated film. One beautiful scene will convey the message in itself. So we need, not only those kinds of writers but also that kind of thinkers", explains Ranade. Karan Johar's Dharma Productions also has already begun work on their animated film and Suresh Nair who is scripting the film says, "The writing style is similar. If you read a live action script and an animated film script, they both read the same. But if there is any kind of specialization for this writing then it is most welcome."


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