Bollywood Animated!

Animation seems to be the next big thing in Indian movies and Hollywood may have something to do with it. Movies like Shrek, Ice Age, Cars etc. have been smash hits across the globe and Bollywood obviously would not want to be left behind.

While the trend in Hollywood is to make movies on the basis of comic books and animated cartoon films like Spiderman and Superman, Bollywood generally uses the ancient Indian Mythology as its basis for animation movies.

In India, the animation movie scene started with the release of Ramayana and Hanuman. Utilizing the deep-rooted respect for Hindu mythology seemed to be the safest bet for animation filmmakers, with both movies doing remarkably well at the Box-Office. The awe inspiring and all powerful characters of Lord Rama and his faithful accomplice Hanuman seemed to have caught the fancy of both the young and the old alike. Besides, these movies were seen as means to develop a connect with India’s ancient culture, which seemed to have paled into insignificance given the onslaught of modern “masala” movies.

The enormous kids and teenager community is being perceived as a target audience, and film makers are leaving no stone unturned to tap the potential of this viewer segment via animation movies.

However of late, animation filmmakers have diversified into different fields and are trying out different themes. Apart from this, animation is now not limited to kids only; filmmakers are trying to attract all age groups towards animation.

A number of animation movies have already released this year and have also tasted considerable success –Ghatothkach: Master of Magic and Hanuman Returns being two of them. Both movies had magic, action, romance, comedy, fantasy and of course, music and were an instant success with the kids.

The animation scene in India has also caught the fancy of celebrated filmmakers. Yash Raj Films, which introduced animation in their films with Hum Tum, now plan to make an animation film to be directed by Jugal Hansraj, with Saif Ali Khan likely to lend his voice. Hum Tum, in which Saif played a cartoonist, saw two animated characters called Hum and Tum, who would always argue with each other. Apparently, Hum and Tum will make appearances in this latest animation flick as well.

B R Films, the makers of movies like Baghban and Baabul, have also made popular serials like Mahabharata in the late 1980s and the more recent Virasaat. Now, the company is looking at the animation business seriously and plan to make an animation film on Lord Krishna.

Karan Johar is the latest to jump onto the animation bandwagon. After making family dramas like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Karan will direct an animated film. The movie, which is rumoured to be a remake of the superhit Kuch Kuch Hota Hai has been tentatively titled “Kuchie Kuchie Hota Hai”. Like his movies, this film will have all the usual ingredients – songs, dances and emotions.

Over the last few years, there has been increase in the making of animation movies in Bollywood. However, Indian cinema is still not using the advanced techniques and latest trends in animations in its movies and the result is that the final product of the animations movies are not as attractive as witnessed in Hollywood movies. However, Taare Zameen Par, the much acclaimed movie of 2007, stands out for its experimentation and innovative ideas. Even the animations used in the movie’s title sequence were not general animations but Claymation, which is animation made by using clay.

With greater technical expertise, Bollywood has initiated using technology and story clubbed together. Henceforth, we can expect betterment in the field as newer movies roll out. The future surely looks animated!

Raghav Agarwal