‘Motu Patlu’ premiers today on Nickelodeon – In Conversation with Director of ‘Motu Patlu’ Suhas Kadav

  Nickelodeon brings today, a brand new witty comedy show that tops past all age groups – ‘Motu Patlu’. This peculiar 3D animated show by Maya Digital Studios is part of Nickelodeon’s constant unceasing attempt in offering differentiated Indian content to kids. The show brings alive the classic comic stars Motu-Patlu and has stories that are deeply rooted in India. The show is to be telecasted daily at 6:30pm. Inspired from the characters of Lot Pot Comics, Motu Patlu is a lively comic caper for the kids as well as the entire family. Set in the beautiful city of Furfuri Nagariya, the story is about Motu and Patlu , who are as similar as chalk and cheese… the Awesome Twosome are always on an adventurous expedition and have an uncanny ability to get into tricky situations – every single day! The title song is penned by Gulzar Saab and sung by renowned singer Sukhwinder Singh, which is another highlight of the show. Sandesh Shandilya has composed music for the title song as well as for the entire series. On the day of the premiere, Animationxpress’ Ishpreet Chandock caught up with Suhas Kadav, the director of ‘Motu Patlu’ sharing his thoughts and expectations from the show. Suhas Kadav, an alumni of the J.J School of Arts has an experience of over 15 years in the industry with over a number of short films for Disney (Singapore) directed to his credit. Excerpts from a t?te-?-t?te with Suhas Kadav, Head of the Animation Department – Maya Digital Studios, and the director of ‘Motu Patlu’. What is the main reason behind you directing Motu Patlu? As an animation professional & as a parent I’m tired of the fact that our children do not get good quality content that is specially made for them. I want to as a director make sure that I bring out the best possible Indian stories, with world class animation. My aim to make the content that first appeals to the Indian kids and then travels abroad as well. Tell us more about the show Motu Patlu. Motu Patlu is a fun story of two friends who are trouble magnets. No matter what the occasion, they are always caught in some problem and every day of their life is a living adventure. How in their own funny and inimitable style they emerge victorious from these circumstances and entertain the kids is what MOtu Patlu is all about. Why should kids watch Motu Patlu? Motu Patlu is a hilariously funny show about to friends who are always up to something. It has slapstick humor, excellent quality animation, a gripping storyline and a fantasy like world within the normal world, which is what sets it apart. Most of the other shows have child protagonists. Do you think children would want to watch middle-aged protagonists? Through our research and also through the constant insights that I get from my own kids, I’ve understood one thing that children seek entertainment. Age, beauty etc. are aspects that cater more to the adult audiences. MOtu Patlu has a fantastic storyline and constant action, with not a single dull moment. The plot is constantly filled with action, so I think that the kids will enjoy this show a lot. In fact, Motu Patlu is extremely endearing, which is also a unique advantage that our show has. I sincerely hope that the kids enjoy our show as much as we have enjoyed making it. Tell us about approach towards animation. The best part about animation and the main reason that I chose to be an animation professional is that as an artist I don’t have any restrictions. Any idea, any concept that I can think of can be executed. I approach my stories by first being the character, thinking how they would think, reacts and thus there cannot be a standard approach. Each story has its own directorial treatment. This is your first show as a director. So how do you feel? I’m thrilled that my first show as a director has names like Ketan Mehta, Gulzar, Sandesh Shandilya, Sukhwinder Singh, Nickelodeon, Maya & above all my team associated with it. I’m directing Maya’s first show for the Indian market, so obviously it is a feeling of pride, joy and honor. I’m just savoring the moment for now. So is it just Motu Patlu at the moment or are there any other shows as well? My hands are full with Motu Patlu right now. There are other concepts too, but for now it is just MOtu Patlu on my mind. I hope that this show will run for years and continue to entertain the kids for generations, just the way the Motu Patlu comics have entertained over three generations of kids. How much pressure do you feel, given that Motu Patlu is a brand in itself, and then there is Ketan Mehta, Gulzar involved with this project? Of course there is a sense of pressure that one needs to deliver within the time and of the quality that Maya has set for itself for years and only bettered it. Ketan Sir’s guidance and Gulzar Saab’s blessings are invaluable in this regard. But with the pressure, come a sense of responsibility, a sense of achievement and the fact that I am working on such a prestigious brand, with such great stalwarts. That in itself is a huge achievement. Tell us something about your background. How did you come into the animation industry? When I completed my Bachelors in Fine Arts (Applied Arts) from the prestigious J J School of Arts, Mumbai, animation was a fairly nascent industry in India. Drawing was a passion and ‘Illustration’ was one of my electives in college. 2D Animation thus became a natural progression. When I began working, I was amongst the lucky few who got the opportunity to train under legends like the father of Indian Animation Ram Mohan & Tino, the animator from Philippines. That is when I learnt the nuances of the craft. I firmly believe in progressing with the technology, so I decided to enhance my animation skills and embraced 3D Animation when the technology came to India. MIST is Maya’s latest venture for upcoming artists in this industry. It has already taken the industry by storm. What would your advice be for the upcoming professionals in this industry? Technology has opened up so many avenues for the young animators of today. When we’d started we didn’t have too many references to rely upon. We used to practice expressions in front of the mirrors & photocopy reference books which were seldom available. But today, an expression is a click away on one’s cell phone and websites like YouTube are replete with reference videos.  These technological advancements are both an opportunity & a threat for today’s animators; for they have an easier resource pool to rely open but they should make sure that they don’t become lazy and lose their individuality in the process. Technology must enhance one’s skills and shorten the learning window but not be treated like a tool to avoid hard work, for it is only the hard work & dedication that’ll sail you through in this highly competitive yet creative industry. Once I’d asked one of my team members to put life into one of the characters, and he ended up adding a heartbeat to it. He had technically done the right thing; the heartbeat did make the character look alive, but couldn’t add life to it! Feeling the emotions of your characters is a must and only then will one be able to create the right emotions and thereby also evoke the same in the audiences. I still regard myself as a student and each day is a new learning and hence every animator should always keep his mind open. In studio training is a rather new concept for the Indian animation industry, where you are focusing on mentoring rather than following a pedantic approach. So what will the mentoring process be like at Maya, what role does Maya play in their training? The beauty of Maya lies in the fact that the place provides immense creative freedom and yet has the discipline. Aimless freedom I believe causes more harm than benefit. While it is the freedom that fosters creativity, discipline ensures productivity. At Maya the focus is to balance both and ensure your growth along with the company’s growth. Mentoring at Maya won’t be restricted to mere domain knowledge, but the focus will be on honing the overall creative & production skills of every individual. Apart from the regular trainings we’ll also have dedicated art workshops on music, acting etc. to create a complete environment for the individuals to learn & grow and simultaneously deliver. Maya is the only studio in the industry has evolved with the times and delivered as per the market requirements. It has always been an artist’s dream studio and is continuously growing with the market.     connect@animationxpress.com