Charuvi Agarwal’s ‘Shri Hanuman Chalisa’ debuts at Anifest India’s 10th Anniversary

Anifest India’s second day ended with yet another standing ovation for Charuvi Agarwal for her short 13 minutes animated film Shri Hanuman Chalisa. Charuvi showcased her entire movie for the first time today at the fest.

“Our project and IP, Shri Hanuman Chalisa was an endeavor to bridge the gap between art and CG. People often ask me why mythology, to be honest when the project popped up, I had the same reaction. Then I was provided an audio track and I visualized it as an animated poetry and I was spellbound, that’s when I decided to go ahead with it. The main motive behind agreeing to do work on mythology was to challenge the preconceived imageries present in our minds,” said Charuvi.

She was facilitated in 2007 at IncredIBLE India@60’ Festival in New York by Coca-Cola as one of the “emerging 10 who would transform the global artistic landscape.”  Prior to founding CDL (Charuvi Design Lab) in 2009, she has worked in Canada on wide range of projects for NFB.

“I personally had zero knowledge base on texts and rituals, so enormous amount of time was spent in understanding the religious practices, architecture, costume etc. We went to various places like Varnasi and clicked photographs for reference, and these images became great foundation for the project. I still see flaws when I see this movie; I took semi nude pictures of my relatives to suit and match the Indian colour with the complexion of my characters. In total it took me two and a half years to complete this film,” revealed Charuvi.

The music for this movie was based on Tulsidas’s Hanuman Chalisa, sung by great artists like Amitabh Bachchan, Sonu Nigam, Hariharan and a few more. Autodesk Maya, Fusion, After Effects, Real Flow and Photoshop were some of the softwares which were used in the production of the film.

She added: “For making any movie you require a producer and I had one who initiated the project but then he disappeared suddenly and I didn’t want to give up so easily; so I brought in twenty artists to execute this project and most of them were inexperienced. But we decided to make things anyway, by growing and empowering ourselves to see beyond the monitor.”

Charuvi and her team have also launched the Shri Hanuman Chalisa App for iOS and merchandise is also available. “The app allows the user to recite prayers, experience the chalisa’s story and also allows to send prayers to their loved ones as well. We have also published a Hanuman Chalisa book, which demonstrates a series of visual metaphors that are a tribute to the 40 verses,” she revealed.

When we visit a temple, the first thing everyone does is that they ring the bell which generates positive vibrations. In order to capture Hanuman’s magnificence, valor and glistening persona as mentioned in the chalisa, Charuvi with help of her team created a 25 feet floating sculpture, which was composed of 26,500 bells. “When anyone touches the ‘Khadau’, kept on the pillar, this triggers the sensors and all the bells starts vibrating and ringing, creating an aura of a divine place,” she explained.

This September on occasion of Dussehera and Diwali CDL is exhibiting its work at Select City Walk mall, New Delhi. The exhibition will have thousands of calligraphic lamps, 3D printed figurines of characters from the film and many more. All the art lovers can experience the colossal and mystical artifacts at the exhibition called “Awakening”.

Day 2 certainly an exciting experience for all the attendees, as they got to witness the best of both Indian and international talent; stay tuned to as we bring you all the action from ground zero at Anifest India 2014.

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