Max Howard, former President of Warner Brother’s Feature Animation Division and the man behind animated classics like Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron (2002) and Igor (2008), was in the city recently. He saw a rough cut of Toonpur Ka Superhero and was impressed with Ajay Devgn. He has started promoting the actor on Facebook and wants to meet him.
“Max understands how difficult it was for Ajay to stand alone on the sets for 45 days and react to a green screen. He’s been patient and done a brilliant job,” raves director Kireet Khurana. Khurana is a part of Howard’s International Animation Consulting Group of 15 animators, along with William Bill Denis and Frank Lunn, that is looking to tap talent in countries like China, Taiwan and India for international co-productions. He does not rule out the possibility of Devgn featuring in one such project: “The world’s shrinking and though Toonpur Ka Superhero at $8 million has one tenth the budget of a $100 million Pixar film, it’s a beginning for India in live action animation.”Khurana, who turned down a job offer in Canada to break ground in India with the ‘Eer beer patte...’ video, the Fido Dido ads and the ‘Chal hat..’ charbuster from Shaadi Ka Ladoo, remembers going to Devgn for a narration, complete with sketches. "At the end of 20 minutes, Ajay told us he was on," he says, admitting that he thought the actor was fibbing, but in less than a fortnight he had signed the contract.
The script demanded a movie star who’s roped in to go to Toonpur and battle some bad toons to turn himself into a hero in the eyes of his kids. “Ajay and Kajol were the natural choices to play themselves as a star couple,” says Khurana, adding that their daughter, Nyasa, is looking forward to going to Toonpur now. “When she visited on the sets, she was disappointed to see Ajay standing in front of a green screen with no toons around. But the promos have got her excited.”
Khurana admits that he’d toyed with the possibility of making the film in 3D after Avatar, leading to a delay in the release. “We used a new technology to pull out the 2D images and give them 3D depth. But after a couple of five-minute tests on screen, we decided to go with what we have,” he says.
The film releases on December 24, with Tees Maar Khan. Khurana is unfazed by the competition: “Our film is for a niche audience. Ajay was categorical about a Christmas release.”