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Animation gears for new age

business Updated: Mar 31, 2008 22:45 IST
Venkatesh Ganesh
Venkatesh Ganesh
Hindustan Times
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It is like a cartoon character coming to life. India's animation services industry is slowly moving away from merely performing basic tasks like giving touches for animated characters to even storytelling and conceptualisation.

Entertainment majors like Disney, Dreamworks or Pixar which used to look towards India to provide such basic tasks are now increasingly looking at Indian animators for concepts and ideation for the next Shrek.

Recently, for the first time, an Indian animation company, Compact Disc India, was asked to develop a 90-minute 3D animated movie titled “Goal” based on Brazilian football legend Ronaldo.

The company will co-produce this film with Canyon Films, a Hollywood production company and as a part of the deal will develop all animated characters, including that of Ronaldo, out of its offices from Thiruvananthapuram. Just a few days back, the company joined hands with White Light Entertainment makers to produce a movie titled ‘Playing with the Enemy’ and for which it will provide visual effects (VFX).

Similarly, Accel Animation Studios, another company based in KINFRA Film & Video Park in Kerala — the first SEZ (special economic zone) in the country for animation and gaming companies, is working on the release of ‘South India Fables’ for Los Angeles-based LongTale Inc.

South India Fables is an animation series based on the ancient Tamil work of couplets, Thirukkural, which is being taken all over the world.

Indian animation firms are increasingly in demand — both as an outsourcing destaination and for homegrown content. “India with its rich past and storytelling that can relate to the global audience is slowly beginning to make its mark in the West,” says Tapaas Chakravarti, CEO of DQ Entertainment.

“In a few years from now, we would like to be remembered as an Infosys in the animation sector,” says Suresh Kumar, chairman, Compact Disc India.

There is considerable interest in Indian mythology with it sheer variety, which companies in the west are looking to cash on, Chkravarti said. “Now we are getting work from Disney, Nickelodeon Group, Mattel USA, Electronic Arts WorldWide, BBC WorldWide.”

Despite the laurels, still a bulk of the work that comes to India is of basic ‘colour correction’ kind, that is equivalent to low-end coding work done by Indian software exporters. “If you were to look at Indian animation, it still has miles to go before a Nemo or Shrek is conceputalised by an Indian company,” says the CEO of a Hyderabad-based animation company.