By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
The unexpected success of Sahara's animation film on Hanuman has triggered off a trend towards mythological animation films. A well-known animation company from the South named ColorChips is well into another animation-feature based on the life of lord Krishna. Being directed by the well-known Hindi-Telugu director Bapu, who made Hum Paanch, Woh Saat Din, Prem Pratiggya and several other hits in the 1980s. Bapu who was a well-known animation artiste before he became a feature-film director has almost completed the film.
ColorChips' chairperson Sudhish Rambhotla sees a great future for animation in Indian even though the technology applied to our films cannot compete with what's done in Hollywood. Rambhotla disagrees. "Of course we can compete with Westerners and we must. In fact we can do it better if we had a budget. I once told DreamWorks (who've done Shrek) to give us forty percent of their budget and we'll provide double their quality. Given the chance we can make a King Kong. But like I said that kind of budget isn't given for animation work in India. That's why international content swamps the local television channels. We've been in business for five years. We at ColorChips have centres all over, including Manila. We've six hundred people working for us. Last year we collaborated with a US company for 26 episodes of a half-hour cartoon show called Legend of the Dragon that was picked up by several television companies including BBC all over the world. In fact it's currently being aired every Saturday on the BBC at prime time."
ColorChips' Krishna in Hindi will be a hand-up for animation films in India. "Hanuman has certainly given a boost to animation films in India. We plan to make several others. So far 98 percent of our revenues came from overseas. Hanuman and now Krishna will change that." Rambhotla's company which started off by doing special-effects for several feature films, plans to make 3-4 films every year. Besides the animation film Krishna they are also producing Mani Shankar's thriller Mukhbir with Sammir Dattani in the lead. "We want to do subject-oriented original subjects. Ideally we wanted to cast newcomers in Mukhbir. But when we saw Sammir Dattani's screen test, he was the unanimous choice for the role. Mukhbir is like a dream re-launch for him."
"We want to do both animation and live action, like several Hollywood studios. We're also in advanced stages of discussion with another major Bollywood director. We'd start our second Hindi film with a big-name director after Mukhbir releases. One thing is for sure...Only the content matters the most. Mukhbir will prove how serious we're about doing innovative work."
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