When Yash Raj Films and Walt Disney struck a joint venture to dish out three fully 3-D animation movies, expectations were high. The first of the three movies,
released a few days back and although it is too early to comment on its status at the box office, the animation industry in India has acknowledged the effort that has gone into making the movie—thus taking the Indian animation industry a level closer to animation movies churned out by Hollywood.
“The idea was to set up a new reference point and create a new benchmark for Indian animation in terms of quality,” explained Pankaj Khandpur, creative director, Visual Computing Labs, the division of Tata Elxsi, which handled animation for the film.
“In comparison to earlier attempts at animation by other production houses, this has been a notch higher. Although the content has not been totally original and has the Bollywood flavour, it’s better than mythology genre which is already overcrowded,” said A K Madhavan, CEO of Crest Animation.
On an average, 100 to 120 animation artists worked over 21 months to develop animation and effects for the movie. “Special effects to depict how the fur on dogs’ skin would look when wet or in light required a lot of toiling by the animation team. Disney assisted in production management, reporting and developing merchandise,” said Khandpur.
Jayakumar, CEO of Toonz India, which produced Hanuman and co-produced Hanuman Returns with Percept Pictures said: “Roadside Romeo is definitely a bold take. After we started a wave with Hanuman, the time has come to take the local animation industry to the next level.” He also added that Roadside Romeo will be a good reference point and if it is successful with box-office collections, others will dare to take the plunge.
The Walt Disney-Yash Raj Films joint venture that dished out Roadside Romeo will be ready with the second animation movie by 2010. “It is in the pre-production stage”, said Khandpur.