Aardman, the renowned British animation studio known for their innovative stop-motion techniques (Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, The Pirates, Arthur Christmas), is teaming up with acclaimed film director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham; Bride and Prejudice; Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging; Viceroy’s House; Blinded by the Light) on a high-concept feature film project.
Described by the company as an “exuberant, warm-hearted musical,” the currently untitled Bollywood-inspired feature will follow Bodhi, a young Indian elephant from Kerala who dreams of becoming a famous Bollywood dancer. “Bollywood,” of course, is a reductive term that refers only to the mainstream Hindi film industry, based in Maharashtra. Kerala, the state that Chadha’s elephant protagonist Bodhi comes from, has a thriving film industry of its own. In a way, Chadha’s film is bridging cultural gaps in India, too.
Chadha will be directing and is co-writing the script with Paul Mayeda Berges, under the banner of their production company Bend It Networks. “Aardman is a Great British national treasure. I am honoured and excited to bring my unique British Asian vision to their acclaimed animation studio. Their work has so much heart, humour and affection, and we share a love of authentic and joyful underdog stories about memorable characters – so it really is a perfect match,” said Chadha.
Aardman creative director Peter Lord added, “We are so excited to be collaborating with Gurinder, a truly great director whose beautiful, funny, and warm storytelling we have long admired. Her talent, when combined with the team here at Aardman, promises something new and extraordinary in the world of animation.”
Aardman and Bend It Networks will work with Indian voice talent, musicians, and designers on the project, which is in advanced development. The film is aimed at a global family audience.
Chadha most recently directed the 2019 TV series Beecham House and movie Blinded By The Light. In the same year Aardman released the sequel A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon.