10 enjoyable animated movies that impart knowledge about the Indian culture and mythology

The visual media is extremely powerful. We learn from what we see, so it’s important to ensure that the little ones watch meaningful content. And mythological dramas are a medium to throw light on the rich Indian culture and traditions. Animated films are doing an excellent job by offering such content in an entertaining way. 

Since Independence day is round the corner, we peeked into the beautiful world of animated short films and full-length movies, and discovered a whole new realm of Indian treasures. From mythological tales retold, to social messaging via animation – these 10 Indian animated films are a wide range of brilliant creations. 

Here’s a list of animated films that will creatively help children learn about Indian mythology and culture:

1) Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama

Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama is a 1992 Indo-Japanese traditional animation film directed and produced by Yugo Sako and based on the Indian epic Ramayana. The original English version with Sanskrit songs was screened and released on home video under various names including Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama and Warrior Prince. 

Ramayana is possibly the best epic to teach children about good and evil. The movie beautifully portrays the story of Lord Rama’s birth until his battle with the evil Ravana. 

It was considered a top-notch Japanese animation flick, considering the time during which it was released. Audiences could feel the character’s depth in the animation and the wide angles of the ancient cities made the visuals more astounding. The motion camera angling and precise direction are extraordinary and it will make you feel you’re inside the movie even though you’re not. The film won Best Animation Film of the Year at the 2000 Santa Clarita International Film Festival in the United States.

The film can be watched on various YouTube channels.

2) Mahabharat

Released in 2013, this epic drama is considered one of the most expensive animated films in Bollywood. The movie portrays the legendary battle story in an entertaining way. It’s interesting to hear voice-overs of popular stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Sunny Deol, Anil Kapoor, Ajay Devgn and Vidya Balan, among others. This movie is a must-watch for all because of its appealing content and exciting depiction of events.

The Hindi-language computer animated historical drama film is directed by Amaan Khan. Mahabharat is produced by Kushal Kantilal Gada and Dhaval Jayantilal Gada.

The entire movie is available to watch for free on Pen Movies’ YouTube channel.

3) Arjun: The Warrior Prince

A joint collaboration between Walt Disney Animation Studio and UTV Pictures, Arjun: The Warrior Prince, is an animated mythological film chronicling Arjun’s life from his childhood, right up to his heroic days. Directed by Arnab Chaudhuri, the action-packed film offers a complete experience, owing to brilliant aesthetics by Visual Computing Labs. It was a path breaking feature film, and was the first Indian animation movie to be long listed at the Academy Awards. It was also a nominee for the best feature in nearly every prestigious international animation festival – Annecy, Holland, Ottawa – again a first for Indian animation. 

And, although the 96-minute-long adventure strays from the Mahabharata’s narration of Arjun’s story, the writer’s artistic liberties make it a whole new experience guaranteed to keep you captivated. Arjun: The Warrior Prince released in 2012 and is one of the greatest achievements of the Indian animation industry. 

The film is available on Netflix.

4) Hanuman

Narrated by Mukesh Khanna (our beloved Shaktimaan), this movie depicts the life of Lord Hanuman since his birth. It’s fascinating for kids to watch Hanuman’s innocent mischief as he uses his divine powers to pester the saints. The movie also shows how the Monkey God used his intelligence and abilities to rescue Goddess Sita from Ravana’s confinement.

Hanuman was released in 2005 and is directed by V. G. Samant. The Indian animated feature film is produced by Percept Picture Company and Silvertoons. It is India’s first full length fully animated feature film released theatrically and was a box-office hit. 

The full movie is available on YouTube.

5) Krishna aur Kans

Hailed as India’s first stereoscopic animated film, Krishna aur Kans is an exciting narrative full of action and drama. The movie chronicles Krishna’s early years – from his birth as the nemesis of his tyrannical uncle Kans, to his combat against lethal demons till the age of 10. This riveting film brings to life Krishna’s various adventures and miracles, in an aim to fulfill his aim on earth – to put an end to evil.

The movie teaches a great lesson by showing the battle between Krishna and his evil uncle Kansa; and depicts that good always wins in the end. The Hindi flash-animated film released in 2012 and was produced and distributed by Reliance Entertainment. It was directed by Vikram Veturi.

You can watch the full movie on Amazon Prime Video.

6) Bal Ganesh

This animated musical film has many versions, all of which showcase the adventures of Lord Ganesha. The story puts together funny instances from Ganesha’s childhood, which makes it interesting for kids to watch. It also introduces viewers to Mooshak (the mouse) who is Ganesha’s companion in all his mischief. Despite being young, Ganesh battles evil forces and protects the world.

The animated characters of Bal Ganesh are emotive; excellent work done by the voice over artists. They are consistently endearing throughout the film as they go about their naughty antics. The movie is a great way to get kids closer to the real hero, the almighty! Bal Ganesh was released in 2007 and was directed by Pankaj Sharma.

You can watch the full movie on Amazon Prime Video.

7) Tales of Lord Shiva

Created by Chotoonz, an online channel by Toonz Entertainment Company, Tales of Lord Shiva was made in two parts that were released in 2009. The animated film features a grandmother narrating the many heroic stories of Lord Shiva to her grandchildren. This mythological film series is a beautiful testament to the art of storytelling.

The movie begins with the tale of the great grand wedding of Shiva and Parvati in the history of time. You also get to view stunning visuals depicting the story of Hanuman, his birth and his childhood incidents. The grandmother also shares the story of the famous fight between Lord Shiva and Brahma in the course of the creation of mankind and is a delight to watch.

Both the parts of the film are available on Dailymotion – Chotoonz’s channel.

8) Chaar Sahibzaade

The Indian-Punjabi 3D-animated historical drama film written and directed by Harry Baweja was released in 2014. It is based on the sacrifices of the sons of the tenth Sikh guru Guru Gobind Singh— Sahibzada Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh, and Fateh Singh. Om Puri provided the film’s narration and it was also the highest grossing Punjabi film at the time of release.

Chaar Sahibzaade is a motion capture animation film narrated in a non-linear fashion. The design and creation of the animation along with its 3D effects are spectacular and every frame of the inspiring movie is attractive and impressive. The music seamlessly integrates into the narrative and the background score elevates the viewing experience. 

A sequel titled Chaar Sahibzaade: Rise of Banda Singh Bahadur was released on 11 November 2016.

The full movie is available on YouTube.

9) Akbar Birbal

For all those who grew up reading the witty exchanges between the great emperor Akbar and his sharp-minded minister Birbal, this film treats you to a flashback into those fond childhood memories. Directed by Nitin Vijay Supekar, the iconic tales of Akbar and Birbal come alive on screen, although admittedly in amateur animation. And, the highlight of this movie is its beautifully crafted script, and the nostalgia associated with every scene.

You can watch the entire film on YouTube.

10) Pandavas: The Five Warriors

Pandavas: The Five Warriors is an excellent English-language movie, which narrates the classic Indian tale from one of India’s greatest epic The Mahabharata. The story depicts the eternal fight between good and evil. It is the story of the five ‘Pandava’ brothers and their war against their cousins ‘The Kauravas’. The epic conclusion on the battlefield of Kurukshetra is wonderfully filmed and the visuals will keep you glued to the screens. 

The 2000-released animated Hindu mythological film is directed by Usha Ganesh Raja and produced by Pentamedia Graphics. It is India’s first computer animated film and won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English. The movie stood third at the Vancouver Effects & Animation Film Festival (2001) held in Canada.

You can watch the full movie on JioCinema.

~ Happy 75th Indian Independence!