Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ghatothkach cannes play

Is the world ready for an Indian hero’s animated adventures?
Raja Harishchandra was the first Indian full-length film directed by Dadasaheb Phalke which was based on the legend of Harishchandra as described in the Ramayana and Mahabharata. It had hit the screens way back in 1913 and since then, Bollywood has definitely come a long way from the era of black and white mythological films with the latest craze being animation. Of late, animation films have been winning a roaring applause in Hollywood and the Hindi versions of the same received great response from the Indian audience from across the world. Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Happy Feet and Ice Age are some such films which not only fared well commercially, but also opened up a completely new business opportunity for retailers in India, with soft toys of such characters, kids stationery, lunch boxes, school bags and other kids’ merchandise making way to the shops.

Spurred on by this success story, Bollywood followed suite with a plethora of animation films like Hanuman, Bal Ganesh, Hanuman Returns and My friend Ganesha, based on characters from Hindu mythology. Despite being marketed well, these films didn’t turn out to be runaway successes.

What such films contributed was not just advanced technology and a new kind of storyline, but also a trend where the adult audience also displayed the same enthusiasm and excitement as did the little ones. Hence began a new era of animation films targeted at every cine lover, promoted and packaged like any other Bollywood masala flick. Ghatothkach-Master of Magic happens to be the first animation film to do so. Says Smita Maroo, Vice President, Shemaroo Entertainment, “With the increase in adult audience for such films, we have given this film a Bollywood-style narrative with drama, magic, action, comedy and music.”

For such animation film enthusiasts, in the pipeline is Karan Johar’s Kuchi Kuchi Hota Hai, an animated version of the award-winning Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Yash Raj film’s and Walt Disney co-production Meet the Roadside Romeo, Pritish Nandy Communication’s animated version of popular films like Howrah Bridge, Amar Prem, Barsaat Ki Ek Raat and Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina; with the aim to recreate the magic of these films using animation. Interestingly, Ghatothkach-Master of Magic, directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao of Appu Raja and Pushpak fame, produced by Shemaroo Entertainment and Sun Animatics, made both in 2D and 3D, has been released in English apart from Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Bengali to reach a wider audience. Revolving around the escapades of Ghatothkach, the mighty son of Bhim, the prince of the forest blessed with magical powers, this film has managed to generate a lot of curiosity amongst both the Indian and International audience.

“Most of the animation films made so far have been based on well known gods and goddesses. But this film is based on a lesser known mythological character which does not enjoy a ‘God status’ in Hindu mythology, thereby making it very interesting in terms of characterisation and packaging,” reinstates Maroo. Such is the magic of Ghatothkach...that the film happens to be the very first Indian animation flick to be premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this year. “Last year we had promoted the film at the Cannes and by God’s grace the film received a very good response. There are no boundaries to creativity in animation, and with such films’ market flourishing, I think it is the right time to move towards the unknown,” adds Smita Maroo.

With trends changing fast, it is difficult to predict what future holds for this genre (animation). For now, just sit back and sing along... “Main hoon Ghatothkach…”

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source :
IIPM Editorial, 2008
An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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