Animated film on Shaktiman too…!

Mumbai: Animation is evolving as the fastest growing sectors on in the movie industry. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry has estimated the global animation content development market by 2009 at Rs. 1,125 billion rupees ($ 939 million). It is also expected to help India’s animation and gaming market quadruple its revenue by 2009, according to the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM).

The latest to join the race of making animated films is Mukesh Khanna. Popularly known as Bheeshma Pitamaha and Shaktiman, he is planning to make an animated film based on Shaktiman. He is also planning a daily soap on DD too.

“I live two lives,” says Mukesh Khanna. “I’m an actor and producer too on one hand. On the other I’m badon ke pitamah aur chhoton ka shaktiman. Earlier I was planning to make a historical film with Raj N Sippy. But the success of animated film Hanuman has given me second thoughts. I felt why not make an animated film on Shaktiman rather,” adds the eligible bachelor. Currently he is working with the story board, the economics and tie-ups.

The success of Sahara One Motion Pictures and Percept Picture Company animated film Hanuman had paved the way in the end of 2005. Not many might be aware that a low publicity film titled The Legend of Buddha produced by Percept was released selectively in some Indian metro theatres last September 2005. Incidentally this film was India’s entry to the Oscars in the animated film category this year.

Zee Telefilm’s Bhagmati – The Queen of Fortune released last year had 60 minutes of animation with a live action cast featuring Milind Soman, Tabu & Hema Malini. Like Hollywood films quite a lot of Hindi films have animated characters in some screen footage in the film. The most popular amongst them include the adorable cartoons of Hum Tum that flashed onscreen every now and then in the Hum Tum. Shaadi Ka Laddoo had an entire item song picturised with Negar Khan gyrating around funny caricatures ogling at her. Other films using the animation art include Raju Chacha, Abhay, Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon and Karam.

But unfortunately the release of an animated film Friends Forever which features India’s first 3D animated hero Zampano. This film is directed by Soumitra Ranade who earlier made Jajantaram Mamantaram, a film filled with special effects too. Hope this Hrishitaa Bhatt – Ashmit Patel starrer sees the light of day.

Few years back when the Hindi version of the animated film The Incredibles (Hum Hain Laajawab ) was released a lot of hype was created on the fact that it had Shah Rukh Khan dubbing for the role of Mr. Incredible as well as his son Aryan for the role of Dash. Still the film could not salvage a decent opening and managed close to Rs 25 million only in India.

In 1992, the Japanese filmmaker Yugo Sako came up with an animated version of the great Indian mythological epic Ramayana by the name Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama which received a lukewarm response in India.

Chennai based Pentafour Graphics has gone more for full-length features. It created India’s first computer animated feature film, Sindbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists, and one of the first 3D animation films in the world. They followed it up with Alibaba, and the recent Son of Alladin. The latter was directed by renowned South Indian director Srinivasa Rao Singeetham who has to his credit Kamal Hassan movies like Appu Raja, Pushpak and Mumbai Xpress that released earlier in 2005.

South superstar Rajnikanth’s daughter Soundarya is working to get an animation film on her father. “His style is very different. I have always been interesteed in anymation and one day i woke up and felt that if there was an animation film to be made, it should be on my father. I spoke to him and he was thrilled,” says Soundarya.

The film will be co-produced by Ocher studios, Chennai belonging to Soundarya and Anil Ambani’s Adlabs. Yet, the animation industry in India has never really taken off in the right sense. With a lot of talent and technological competence, success in this genre is yet to be seen. Let’s hope like Hanuman, Shaktiman too initialises the animation film industry in India.

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Johnny Vaz and Ashok Anchan

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