It has been a few days since I saw Avengers Infinity War. Petty insane a movie isn’t it?
Anyways, walking out of the cinema hall, apart from being irked about the ending of the movie, one question kept buzzing in my head.
Can Indian Animation and VFX industry ever reach that standard of creative brilliance set by Marvel Studios & Other famous studios like Pixar and Disney?
What compounded the nagging persistence of the question is the book I’m currently reading. It is Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull (The President of Pixar Animation Studio).
Check it out: Creativity Inc on Goodreads
On one hand one might believe that it is definitely not fair to compare the creative process and products of both Bollywood & Hollywood because we all know how poles apart both these industries are in terms of cultures, content, budget, and cost, resources available etc.
But ever since the status of being a Global Citizen has risen, so has the need for comparison with peer companies on a domestic & international level along with the rigorous analysis in order to deliver products which are globally acceptable. Thus, making our first claim of “ Not fair to compare” a prevalent fallacy.
If I could put the current status of the Indian Animation industry in a few words I would say it is facing an existential crisis.
The last so-called commercially successful animated movie was Delhi Safari released in 2012. The most recent one being Mahayoddha Rama released in 2016, whose name even I did not know until I Googled it and surprisingly it won The National Award for the Best Animated Film in the year 2017.
The few reasons behind the Indian Animation Industry facing this sort of crisis are:
Lack of Original Stories and Independent Characters
If you Google the search term “Animated Indian Movies”, This is going to be the most likely outcome:The first obvious manifestation of the search helps us conclude that most of the animation in India is often equated with characters from Mahabharat and Ramayan which, on one hand, might indicate the culturally inclined industry but also is a clear-cut evidence of the fact that Independent Characters aren’t given much space and heed.
E.Suresh, the founder of Studio Eeksaurus that in 2015 won India’s first-ever Annecy International Animation Film Award in his interview with The Hindu explains,
“Animated stories can use crazy impossibilities as a premise, but our imagination right now seems limited to what we can see. Almost all films want to tell popular stories from the Ramayana or the Mahabharata. It’s like India has only two mangas that are really popular; Japan has a million mangas to choose from.”
The crisis demands meticulous brainstorming in order to come up with fresh characters and storylines from passionate Indian Animators in order to create a cohesive environment so that ideas can take shape of films successfully and compete in the international market.
Inadequate Financial Backing
Another aspect of this crisis is the fact that Indian Animation isn’t adequately funded. Delhi Safari had a budget of 15Cr, Roadside Romeo – 35Cr approximately whereas an average Bollywood movie budget in the present times is somewhere around 50cr.
Not only that but there is also a lack of willingness from the producers’ side to invest in these films, the history serving as the testimony to the consecutive failure of the Animated movies at the Box Office Collection.
The Indian Mindset
One of the primary reason the movies fail to mint money at Box Office is that Indian masses believe that animated movies are made for children and not for adults, though I strongly believe that the times are changing and so are these stereotypes.
Also, there is this preferential factor that comes into consideration which believes in the school of thought,
Why should I waste money in watching some animated movie when Salman Bhai’s or King Khan’s picture is around the corner?
Anyways, That’s all for the existential crises of the Indian Animation Industry.
Let’s hop over to the VFX (Visual Effects) Industry.
As per the KPMG India-FICCI, Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2017, the Indian Animation & VFX industry grew at 16.4 percent in 2016 to reach a size of INR 59.5 billion, driven majorly by a 31 percent growth in VFX, with animation remaining steady at a growth rate of 9 percent.
VFX Industry is fast emerging as an indispensable part of filmmaking. The post-production segment saw a robust growth of 13 percent in 2016 and continues to perform and reap the benefits of an established ecosystem around the segment, reports ET.
What’s fascinating is that VFX as an indispensable tool is getting more and more domestic acceptance all thanks to movies such as Bahubali Franchise, Fan, Mohenjo Daro, MS Dhoni, Shivaay etc.
But there limitations & Challenges faced here too.
VFX sector includes the bargaining power that international studios wield while hiring VFX vendors from India. In addition to that, the lack of subsidies from both Central and the state governments also leads to major Indian Production firm outsourcing this facility.
There is a lot of scope in the Indian Animation and VFX Industry to expand as a whole. People form the entertainment industry just need to give it a bit more time, importance, put it more effort & resources to constantly update themselves with the newest technologies. It can help them in cutting costs and reach the ultimate pinnacle of creative excellence.
After all, “Indians are creative”.
Furthermore, I’m eagerly waiting for the movie 2.0 to release. For I believe it has the power to unleash the untapped potential of the technical side of the entertainment industry and set a benchmark for other movies to compete with.
After all, the stakes are too high from 2.0.
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