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Mumbai cops at a theatre near you

Animated short films to spread awareness on traffic rules, public safety.

entertainment Updated: Feb 11, 2011 15:45 IST
Sneha Mahale

Get set to pick up safety tips from the Mumbai police at a local theatre. Graphiti School of Animation, in association with the Mumbai police, has created short animation films to spread awareness on issues such as traffic rules and public safety. The 30-second-long films feature two animated police officers, Abhay and Sneha, who dole out advise on good public behaviour. TV actors Sai Deodhar and Shakti Anand have lent their voices to the characters and the first film will be seen in theatres by this weekend.

How it started

The idea to create the films came when Kanakasabapathy Pandyan, director at Graphiti School of Animation, attended a get-together organised by the Bombay Technology Club. They were organising a programme for police officers and Sanjeev Dayal, commissioner of police, Mumbai, was present.

The two got talking about animation and Dayal was intrigued with the idea of using animation as a medium of communication. “He called me a few days later and asked if we could do something for them,” says Pandyan. Mr Dayal was pretty kicked by the idea of making these 30-second-long animation films.

The entire faculty at Graphiti and its graduates were involved in the actual design process. “We wanted to create iconic characters to
represent the Mumbai police and help convey their message to the public,” says Pandyan. Dayal and Deven Bharti, additional commissioner of police (Crime), too played an important role in these meetings, often giving suggestions to develop the characters. Dayal even asked Pandyan to develop two characters, one male and one female, instead of the earlier idea of going in with just one male character.

No heroes
To keep the characters relatable, Abhay and Sneha were made to look ordinary. Pandyan says, “The brief was to keep them simple. They are average people, not heroes.”

The filmmakers also decided to retain the same characters in all the films so that the audience could connect with them. “Also, the characters are in uniform and we didn’t want to make any mistakes. So Mr Dayal let us shoot pictures of cops in uniform to ensure authenticity.”

The three shorts created have Abhay and Sneha, educating Mumbaikars on appropriate citizen behaviour. Care has been taken to not show cops as people who pull up others just to fine them. Instead they just turn up at the end to appreciate and encourage correct public behaviour. The completed films were shown to Dayal, who gave it a thumbs up.

To derive maximum impact and to ensure that the message reached a wider audience, it was decided that the films be shown in theatres. Pandyan says, “The first film has been sent to the theatres. It will be aired this weekend.”

Take three

The first film deals with a traffic situation. The signal at a junction turns red, one vehicle stops at the zebra crossing and pedestrians cross the road. Another stops on the crossing and startles the people. Abhay tells the car driver to back off from the crossing and salutes the driver of the first car.

A mall has been chosen as the venue for this situation. Someone drops a bag, walks away. A small child runs to it, but the mother stops the child. She looks around and calls Sneha, alerting her to the unidentified bag. Sneha makes sure everyone moves away from the bag. She then thanks the mom for being alert. nThe third film deals with personal behaviour. Three youngsters come out of a bar after drinking. They are about to start the car when the girl reminds the boys that they are drunk and shouldn’t drive. She offers to drive instead. Abhay steps in and congratulates the girl for her good act.

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