In recent years India has emerged as a major back office for Hollywood animation.
Now, with an original animated feature, The World of Goopi and Bagha, receiving a world premiere at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival or TIFF, the industry appears ready to shrug off that caricature of being simply an outsourcing destination.
The film is designed and directed by Mumbai-based animator Shilpa Ranade, who has a day job as a professor at IIT-Powai’s Industrial Design Centre.
The showing of this Hindi children’s film in Toronto marked the highest profile international debut at a major global festival for feature length Indian animation.
Last year, the 3D animated film, Delhi Safari, was showcased at the Annecy Film Festival in France.
The World of Goopi and Bagha was selected by TIFF Kids programmer Elizabeth Muskala as her Hidden Gem of the festival, as she explained, “It’s very unique, it’s very vibrant and because of Shilpa’s background as an illustrator and a professor of animation, she brings a really beautiful quality to the animation.”
The film is based on the children’s fantasy tale of Goopi and Bagha, a tuneless singer and a beatless drummer, and their adventures, written by Upendrakishore Roy Chowdhury in the early 20th century.
These characters became famous when his grandson, the legendary director Satyajit Ray, made two films, Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne and Hirak Rajar Deshe, featuring them.
Ranade’s film was conceived in 2010 when she was illustrating a Hindi version of the tale by Gulzar.