August 2-2015
Friends of Friends from the industry open up on Friendship Day

Being part of a creative industry it is taken for granted that there would be interdependence on people within the community to help build a harmonious and prosperous ecosystem for everyone to sustain and grow.

On the occasion of Friendship Day, AnimationXpress.com spoke to a few folks from the Animation, Gaming and Comics industry to find out who is that one person that they count as a friend from the industry and why?

Kulkarni-Chilaka-Takia

Ashish Kulkarni, Rajiv Chilaka and Nishith Takia

Rajiv Chilaka (Founder, Green Gold Animation)

I have lots of friends in the industry, some are my friends and some also mentor me, but most recently I have been almost having daily interactions with Nishith Takia. He is a great guy and fun to be around. He is a clean hearted guy, and you can trust him with your secrets and he would never judge you. Also there is a kid in him always, and that’s why I think he will succeed in this industry. We also discuss on creative ideas and how to make Indian shows more successful internationally. I think what makes this bond even more special is that both of us don’t feel insecure about ourselves and thus it’s easy for us to keep a balance between work and personal life. On my recent trip (my first) to Annecy, Nish took time out from his busy schedule to show me and my family around Annecy. Also the way he played with my kids was a joy to watch.

I would also like to highlight another important person here, who is not just a friend to me but also to the entire Industry – Ashish Kulkarni. We all must applaud him for his single handed relentless efforts to promote our industry with various co-production agreements as well as his role in forming the Maharashtra Game/Animation Policy.

P Jayakumar and Steve Stabler

P Jayakumar and Steve Stabler

P Jayakumar (CEO, Toonz Media Group)

Though I have several friends from the industry, that special someone I choose would be Steve Stabler, CEO of Commotion Pictures, USA.  He is a very genuine human being who speaks his mind. He is very young at heart and has a wild sense of humour.

Last week on my birthday he sent me a message which goes like this ‘Happy B’day Jaya! I know you are getting old with each passing year. But I am in a reverse aging process. And now officially I am your younger brother!’

It is an absolute delight to be friends with Steve!

Most of the tete-a-tete happens during my trips to the US. We also meet up at social events, brainstorming sessions and various markets. But once you havea certain chemistry, even a text message is enough to understand what your friend thinks.  When we meet for business, it is strictly professional. And at other times, we discuss pretty much everything under the sun.

A few years ago during one of my Europe tours, an Icelandic volcanic eruption occurred and I was stranded in the middle of a chaos. Airports were shut down and the situation was terrible. I was totally cut off from my family.  I still vividly remember how Steve supported me by arranging flight tickets after flight tickets sitting day and night in front of his computer to make sure that I reached India safely.

It is during such distraught times that one realizes who one’s real friends are. And Steve has been and still is a strong presence of friendship in my life.

Abhijeet And Savio

Abhijeet Kini and Savio Mascarenhas

Abhijeet Kini (Independent Comic publisher and co-founder Kini Merch)

I am fortunate that I call one of my idols as my friend today. I’m talking about the one and only Mr. Savio Mascarenhas, illustrator par excellence with Tinkle and currently the Art Director there. I was in class 9 when I first met Savio at the Tinkle office, when my mom had taken me to meet Uncle Pai. So when I started drawing for Tinkle, Savio was always there to answer my questions and clear my doubts, and overall guided me with regards to how one goes about drawing comics for Tinkle. Those were some invaluable lessons!

And today, we share a very good friendship! Savio is extremely helpful. I know him for a while now, and whenever I have any sort of thoughts, ideas, etc, we exchange them. Plus, we both are fans of Sergio Aragones, so that is always a common topic for us. Being a veteran illustrator at Tinkle, Savio was always the person I report to. Sometimes he comes up with crazy ideas. And we usually exchange notes before starting off work on certain comics.

Finally, the Savio Mascarenhas is a very humble and honest man; I am glad to have a friend, mentor and guide in him.

Amit and Tine Ghadge

Amit and Tina Ghadge

Amit Ghadge (Founder, Crimzon Studio)

My truest friend would be none other than my better half and my studio partner Tina Ghadge. She is a very practical person when it comes to work. Equally dedicated to projects and very versatile i.e. she easily blends her work in diverse styles. Once in a month we retrospect the projects completed, what would have been improvised, we discuss which area of ours is a weak point, how do we need to work on the future projects. We together R&D on new styles, keep us updated with the latest industry news. Read a lot and visit cons.

When you have a passion for your work it’s really not that difficult to balance your professional and personal life. Most of our free time is spent reading comics and going through other artist’s works. And while working we utilize those free hours of research in our projects. Every project is a memory for us, the kind of efforts, discussions and quality that goes into the artwork is a memory and the outcome of each project is a happy ending for us.

Akshay and Aniruddho

Aniruddho Chakraborty and Akshay Dhar

Akshay Dhar (Founder, MetaDesi Comics)

My friend from the industry is Aniruddho Chakraborty (Founder, Chariot Comics). What I love about him is despite hardships faced by folks like us, he’s very motivated and persistent about making our comic projects work and is disciplined and sincere once the actual work begins – and doesn’t succumb to being “an artist” and works to get the job done first and foremost. Also, he’s helpful and is a great person to bounce ideas off.

We freely exchange ideas without fear of being ripped off by each other, we help out where we can to act as a kind of beta-reader for each others’ respective comic ideas while in production. It helps make the creation process more easy and productive. And thanks to our shared interests in writing, art, movies, geek-culture, etc, there’s no problem here. It all intertwines and thus far has not been a problem in any way. It also helps that we are shameless, make terrible jokes and have pretty much no filter when talking.

Hmm, a memory that I remember involving the two of us… I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you! 😉 This message will self-destruct in… Well, eventually, sometime when you’re not looking. Really!

Ankush Madad (Co-founder, Dropout Games)

Ankush and Chirag

Chirag Chopra and Ankush Madad

There are a lot of people in the industry that I can call friends but if I have to choose one, it’d be Chirag Chopra from Lucid Labs. Both of us have been gamers since childhood and have spent most of our life playing games instead of studying. We went to the same college and almost began our game development career at the same time. That makes our bond stronger. He’s an extrovert and it doesn’t take him a long time to become friends with a stranger. I admire that quality of his. In this industry friends are as much important as talent.

Coming from a game design college, we like to share progress of our projects and get each other’s point of view as it helps a lot in shaping the game. Some of his points helped in improving UNWYND‘s experience and now it’ll be our turn to provide all the feedback we can on his next title Stay, Mum. It’s hard to maintain the balance being friends and professionals, but for me we are always friends first and developers later and I prefer to keep it that way.

Chirag Chopra (Founder, Lucid Labs)

Although I have a lot of good friends in this industry who have supported me and have provided good company at various events but if I have to name 2 then they would be Sujeet and Ankush from Dropout Games. We were in college together and we kind of share the same vision towards our career. They are my favourite people from the industry.

Sujeet is a genius game designer and game developer and he always has a solution, no matter what problem you have. While, Ankush on the other hand is a brilliant game designer with good design skills and he’s also good at talking to people – a quality which most of us indies don’t have.

Sujeet and I talk almost 24×7, we are always exchanging new game reveals, and we analyze game design of current games, exchange useful tips and information regarding development of games. Whenever we have something to share or show regarding our games, I think Sujeet is the first person I talk to, whether it’s for feedback or general advice. We kinda have the same intellect, Yo!

Druhin Mukherjee (Development Director, GodSpeed Gaming Solutions)

Druhin MukherjeeWell there are many friends from this wonderful industry. But probably one of my closest friends from the industry is Nikhil Joseph. He currently works at GLU, Hyderabad.

As a friend, he is always there to help you out personally and professionally. As a programmer, he is humble and very eager to learn and has almost negligible ego. Without getting too much into details of each other’s work, we do share the current trends in the industry and voice opinion about the Indian game industry in particular.

One of most memorable memories from the past was in Pune about 4-5 years back when we were the only two programmers in the office and had a wonderful time learning from each other. Mostly I learnt from him.