‘India lacks finances, design sensibility for animation films’

Mumbai, Feb 3 (Calcutta Tube) Lack of finance, design sensibilities and original story ideas are stopping the Indian animation industry from attaining global standards, says filmmaker A.K. Madhavan whose animation movie ‘Alpha and Omega’ is set to release Friday.

An Assocham study states that the $1 billion Indian animation industry will grow to $1.7 billion by 2012, but Madhavan, CEO, Crest Animation Studios India that produced ‘Alpha and Omega’, says it is not easy.

‘The problems that the Indian animation sector faces is that the cost of animation projects is much more than live action projects and you don’t have those kinds of finance available in the Indian markets,’ Madhavan told IANS.

‘Secondly, we lack the sensibilities of designing global characters and situations. Not that we won’t be able to do it. But I think it’ll take a couple of years to do it. So India lacks global sensibility when it comes to design storytelling. So these areas we need to work on,’ he added.

Madhavan stresses on creating original ideas for animation films, saying: ‘When you look at the Indian animation films that usually come out, they are largely based on mythology.

‘If you personally ask me, I don’t think the kids today are very excited about that. They are into online games, video games, action-based kind of stuff; so the audience is looking for original ideas rather than stories which have been told so many times. My opinion is that it will take five-six years for the Indian animation market to do better.’

In the past Indian audiences saw many animation movies but most were on mythological characters like ‘Ganesha’, ‘Ramayana’, ‘Luv-Kush’ and ‘Gatotkach’.

A co-production between Crest and leading Hollywood distributors Lionsgate, ‘Alpha And Omega’ will be released across India after doing a good businees at the US box office. It was released in the US in September last year in over 2,600 theatres and earned $2.5 million in the opening week and then went on to gross $50 million.

The maker is delighted that the film made by an Indian has been appreciated worldwide.

‘It certainly is a great moment for us. In India, the movie is releasing on Friday and you will see the credit list contains more than 200 Indian artists,’ he said.

However it was not easy to make the movie.

‘Animation films take five-six years to make because it’s a very complex process of computer graphics. When we agreed to do it in three years’ time, it certainly was difficult. So there was pressure to deliver best quality under the time frame. But we enjoyed working under that pressure. We had to prove a point that India can do it and we did it,’ said Madhavan.

Already released in 25 countries, ‘Alpha And Omega’ is about two young wolves Kate and Humphrey that are thrown together into a foreign land and need each other to return home, but love complicates everything.

‘Crest was the Indian animation company that delivered animation series ‘Jakers’ about six years ago for the US. It won Emmies and BAFTA in the best animation category and that actually opened up the animation outsourcing market in India because until then nobody had seen India delivering animated shows,’ said Madhavan.

‘About five years ago we did an animation DVD feature for Lionsgate and they were very impressed by the quality and the timely delivery. Then we did a three-picture deal with Lionsgate. Out of the three, the first is ‘Alpha and Omega’. From script to screen, it took us about three years,’ he added.

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