It was born out of experimentation, says director Mansi on her grad film being screened at Cannes - Hindustan Times

It was born out of experimentation, says director Mansi on her grad film being screened at Cannes

May 23, 2024 12:51 PM IST

25-year-old director and animator Mansi Maheshwari is on cloud nine as her grad film gets screened at Cannes 2024

Mansi Maheshwari got to be at the 77th Cannes Film Festival in France after her animated film Bunnyhood got selected for the La Cinéfondation category.

A still from Bunnyhood (left) and director-animator Mansi Maheshwari (right)
A still from Bunnyhood (left) and director-animator Mansi Maheshwari (right)

Maheshwari, who hails from Meerut (Uttar Pradesh) and has been studying in the UK, says, “The idea of the film came from the time when I was new to England and I observed the way people behaved and the white lies they shared with each other. One of the first times I heard a lie was when my mum hid the truth about me having a surgery. The film stems from that personal story.”

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The 25-year-old animator tells us that Bunnyhood was the perfect opportunity to blend the horror and comedy genres. “I love animating and I wanted to spend my year at college doing something that I loved,” she says, adding, “The film is a horror-comedy and since the story was sorted, it gave me a lot of freedom to experiment with not just the technique but also the frames, sound, etc. This film was born out of experimentation.”

The film was made as part of Maheshwari’s graduation project for National Film and Television School in England, and is set to be screened today. Ask the animator about her experience at Cannes and she says, “It’s my first time here and there’s so much happening around me! It’s just wonderful to be a part of something so big. I just met actor Rajpal Yadav. I’m also meeting other filmmakers and actors from across the globe.”

Maheshwari is glad that animation as a form and genre is growing in India. “More films are set to come out soon. India already has a base of animated films on OTT platforms and it is gradually growing. I do believe that we have the audience for it, too,” Maheshwari tells us.

Ask the young filmmaker where her inspiration for genres like horror-comedy comes from and she says, “I love the comedy genre and I like mixing it with thriller or horror. Some of my biggest inspirations from [comedy genre in] Indian cinema are films such as Welcome (2007) — or even director David Dhawan’s films. These are films with loads of characters and lots of jokes. It’s indicative of the flavour of our country, where so much is going on at any point in time.”

What is Maheshwari working on next? “I am planning a semi-live action film next. It will mostly be live action with some animation, too. It will be very experimental, not just for the animation but also in terms of visuals. It’ll be a fast-cutting film, and a comedy,” she ends.

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