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Mumbai studio creates Oscar magic

hollywood Updated: Feb 23, 2011 15:19 IST
Aalap Deboor
Aalap Deboor
Hindustan Times
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Aamir Khan Productions’ Peepli Live might not have earned itself a nomination at the Academy Awards this year, but that hasn’t dimmed India’s chances of winning an Oscar.

Alpha & Omega, a full-length 3D animation film produced by Ghatkopar-based Crest Animation studios, has made it to the Oscars shortlist in its category. Made in collaboration with US-based Lionsgate productions, the film hit screens worldwide in September last year and will see an India release on February 4, 2011.

Written by Steve Moore, Alpha & Omega is the first of three films that Crest studios will jointly produce with Lionsgate. While the pre- and post-production, storyboarding and set design of the film took place in Crest’s Los Angeles office, the production — model building and animation — happened in Mumbai over a period of three years.

Says AK Madhavan, CEO, Crest, “In India, we engage 250-260 people — animators modellers, texture artists, and compositors. We aim to make animated 3D stereoscopic content for the global market.”

The Indian animation industry, Madhavan reckons, hasn’t done well because of its affinity for mythology. Add to that the fact that the film industry prefers live action over animation. “Children today want contemporary action and drama. Couple that with the high cost of production, and you know why animation isn’t doing well,” he adds.

Madhavan isn’t pinning his hopes on this one since it’s only the first time that an Indian animation film has made it so far at the Oscars. “What’s important is that the closing credits are filled with names of Indians and that the film’s done well. We need to tell aspiring animators that India's showcasing something like this on a global level,” Madhavan says.

Up next is Norm of the North, a comedy about a polar bear who gets into New York City. Madhavan is also open to partnering with Bollywood production houses for animation movies in regional languages.