“Working with Vishal Bharadwaj on ‘Mask Kho Gaya’ was surreal”: animators Bob and Bobby

Still from Mask Kho Gaya

Animation has stepped up like a saviour for music videos during the pandemic when live-action shootings were stalled. Vishal Bharadwaj’s Mask Kho Gaya is one such quirky, funny yet hitting music video created by twin animator, illustrator duo Saswata (Bobby) and Susruta (Bob) Mukherjee. The song is sung by noted singer/composer Vishal Dadlani.

Mask Kho Gaya is a lighthearted and satirical view on the pandemic. It is a take on how the crisis has affected individuals and depicts how the nations have tried to come to terms with it. It focuses on the common nightmare we all have of losing something precious – a mask in this case, and also looks forward to a vaccine arriving soon and relieving us from this dark time.

Bob and Bobby

We, at Animation Xpress had a little candid chat with the dynamic duo on the animated music video that went viral on social media, earned appreciation from who’s who and have 2,54,013 views on YouTube. Read on:

Firstly, congratulations. Collaborating with Vishal Bharadwaj is huge! How did you connect with him for the new music video?

Thanks, we were screaming! Vishal Sir’s team got in touch with us and told us that he loved our work and was looking forward to collaborate with us on a song he had composed. That’s how Mask Kho Gaya was born!

Did he share his ideas for it, or was it you who visualised the song and then pitched it?

He shared an image he had in mind of the leaders playing brass instruments when he wrote the song. We expanded and visualised the concept and pitched it to him.

What software did you use and how much time did it take you guys to complete it?

We animated on both Photoshop and After Effects while the editing was done in Premiere Pro. We were animating all day and night for two months straight.

Modi plays trumpet in the video

 

Can you take us through the process of animation in brief? 

We made a synopsis with images, breaking down the lyrics of the song and showed it to Vishal sir and his team. The initial synopsis was too dark and then we planned to make it a little more nuanced. After the second pitch was approved we created the storyboards and color palette options. Once these were approved we started animating straight away. There are a lot of sequences that were not originally there in the storyboards but improvised while animating. We were initially a little skeptical about it but Vishal Sir gave us full creative liberty to go wild and explore things our way.

Migrant family starts banging utensils in the video

 

How was the experience of working on Mask Kho Gaya?

The experience was very rewarding. Specially because Vishal Bhardwaj has been one of the filmmakers from Bollywood we have always looked up to. And to have him acknowledge and appreciate our work felt surreal at times. However since only the two of us did the entire video production together it was physically draining. 

Your comment on the trend of animated music videos?

It’s very satisfying to see animation being acknowledged lately in India for the powerful medium that it is. With so many jaw-dropping animated videos being produced, we believe that in the coming years more production houses will be investing in animation for its power to push certain boundaries which is otherwise impossible in live-action.

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