Animated short ‘After Amphan’ depicts the sheer helplessness of Bengal after the severe cyclone

It has been a week since severe cyclone Amphan wreaked havoc in Bengal, Odisha and Bangladesh. Especially Bengal looks war-ravaged and there are places like the Sundarbans and other coastal areas which are under more than knee-deep water; and many areas still without electricity. While Kolkata is battling COVID, Amphan and lockdown simultaneously, another Norwester hit yesterday at 96kmph which again has disrupted electricity, uprooted trees with never ending waterlogging.
Image Courtsey: Sharmila Ghosh’s Facebook
Thousands have lost their homes, some lost their lives, students have lost their books, examination admit cards and what not. India’s largest book market College Street, was under water with several books floating with the hopes and dreams of booksellers. All these have made animator, designer and illustrator twin brother duo Saswata and Susruta Mukherjee (Bob and Bobby as they’re better known) have created an animated short, After Amphan that rightly shows the plight of the poor and how priorities are different.
 
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After Amphan. Sound On ? Many of us are still dealing with a lot of difficulties after the cyclone, in our homes. So when you get back the electricity and cellular network please donate whatever amount you can afford, for the ones who have lost their shelters. Bengal needs a lot more than just prayers right now. Animated by : @bob_almost and @almost_bobby Fundraiser Link in Bio. . . . . . . . . #humansofkolkata #bengal #empathy #empathymatters #bengalistandsstrong #calcuttacacophony #humansofbengal #animation #animators #bobbobby #bobbobby #india #amphan #fundraiser #sundarbans #art #illustration #drawing #delta #relieffund #donate #donateforacause @calcuttacacophony #savesunderbans #thesundarbansareatreasure #humansofbengal #bengal #westbengal #bangladesh #india #humans #storm #amphan #cyclone #supercyclone #relief

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Speaking about it, the duo revealed to AnimationXpress, “It came as a result of the helplessness that we felt as we went through the devastating images of destruction the cyclone had caused. Amid the power outage and no connection with the world outside, we somehow managed to know that there wasn’t enough coverage on the national media about the issue. So we thought of making something that will stay, make people think and can get them to donate, as soon as our electricity is restored. We thought of a story that revolves around empathy, amid the class division.” The animated short aptly depicts the horrifying reality of the distressed class in just one minute. But making this wasn’t a cakewalk for them. It was a challenge to complete it as their systems crashed a month back and they couldn’t repair it due to lockdown, but was fortunately helped by one of their friends who lent his laptop to them which isn’t configured for this kind of work. But they managed to do it and the end result is wonderful.
Saswata and Susruta Mukherjee
Being without electricity for 50 hours, it hampered their work but they realised the extremities of the have-nots more so. Talking about the process they added, “We animated After Amphan in roughs to see if the movements were okay, and then we did the clean up and colouring. After the scenes were ready we put them in the timeline and edited. We recorded the sounds on our phones. Made storm sounds ourselves since there was no internet to download royalty-free sounds.  Fortunately while editing, the internet was back and we took some sounds from the audio library and used the rest of the sounds that we recorded ourselves.” Animated in Photoshop and edited in Premiere Pro, it took them about two days to complete After Amphan, roughly working around 16 to 20 hours.  Two years after their graduation, Saswata and Susruta made their first animated short film in digital. After that they’ve animated around six short films for different clients as well as personal projects. “We are kind of addicted to sketching and seeing our sketches move, our characters come alive, is a feeling that’s really hard to be described in words. And in almost every animation we made, we found enough mistakes to learn from, which helped us grow. And in case we can’t find any mistakes we always take our works to our mentor Kaustubh Ray, who pulls them out from places we least expect,” they shared. After Amphan rightly depicts the stark differences between luxury and necessity; the feeling of helplessness that people like me felt looking at those unthinkable images and our hearts bled; followed by extending help in any form to help Bengal rise and shine again.  “It’s impossible to feel exactly what they are feeling while we sit under a concrete roof, while we still have most of our belongings in places they were. However we must never stop trying to empathise. And empathy, we feel, should always be unconditional,” the brothers concluded.
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